It’s draft day! Hockey’s version of Christmas takes place over two days, featuring 217 youngsters having their dreams come true – at least temporarily. The Calgary Flames are hoping to add to their prospect base over the weekend, holding the 16th overall selection in their mitts as the weekend begins.
What will the Flames do? We convened the FlamesNation roundtable to find out! Ari Yanover! Christian Tiberi! Christian Roatis! Kent Wilson! Mike Fail! And also me…
Do the Flames stay at 16, trade up or trade down?
Ari: I think they stay – but it’s entirely possible they move down. (How’s that for a non-answer, eh?) Specifically, as their pick approaches, if there are multiple guys they’re interested in still available, I think they may trade down to recoup, like, maybe a third rounder or something. But ultimately I really do think they stay.
Christian T: I can’t imagine how the Flames could leverage a higher pick given their assets, and the only way I can feasibly see them moving down is if absolutely none of the preferred prospects are there, so I think they’ll stay put.
Christian R: I think they stay, unless they covet a lower ranked player then I could see a move down scenario in which they add a second or third. Robert Thomas, Jason Robertson, Cal Foote and Erik Brannstrom are guys I could see them moving down for. Otherwise, they’ll stay put.
Kent: They either stay or they move down. It will depend on who is left at 16 and if they are confident they can get a similar guy on their list further down. For now I lean towards picking at 16.
Mike: If they stay, it depends on who is available. I’m more interested in seeing whether or not they turn the pick into multiple picks, be it later in the first, or acquiring multiple seconds.
Ryan: I think they trade down, if only because I cannot fathom a general manager like Brad Treliving (who’s trumpeted drafting and development on and on) not taking the opportunity to give his scouts a second kick at the can.
Who do the Flames select in the first round?
Ari: I feel like we’ve all been aboard the Nick Suzuki train for months. If he (and Liljegren) are unavailable, I think they go with one of the European forwards, with preference to Andersson or Vesalainen.
Christian T: Nick Suzuki has to be number one. Otherwise, Lias Andersson, Eeli Tolvanen, or Kristian Vesalainen are the next three up.
Christian R: As I mocked yesterday, Kristian Vesalainen. My preference of “likeliest” guys is as follows, from most desirable to least (though I still like them): Suzuki, Andersson, Liljegren, Tolvanen, Vesalainen. Vesalainen is last on that list because a sketchy season has me wary, but at 6’3″ and after that U-18 tournament, he could very well end up as the best of the five.
Kent: Nick Suzuki or Lias Andersson are probably at the top of the list.
Mike: Suzuki is a talent worth going after (if available), Andersson looks interesting, too. Tolvanen or Vesalainen are worthy choices, too.
Ryan: I think they end up with somebody like Kristian Vesalainen or Cal Foote.