FlamesNation Roundtable: 2017 NHL Draft edition

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.

  • MarbledBlueCheese

    This may all be moot, after hearing Conroy on radio a few days ago talking about how they would move the pick for the right guy.

    Hopefully not. I need an awesome prospect to hoist my unrealistic expectations and hopes on.

  • Longshot1977

    I think the Flames either keep #16 “as is”, or trade it completely if that coveted 2nd pair d-man is available. Perhaps part of the deal for Hamonic?

    If #16 stays with the Flames, Nick Suzuki would be awesome. Timmy Liljegren is fascinating and could be the steal of the draft.

    If by some chance the Flames trade down to the bottom of round #1, Kailer Yamamoto is crazy talent that may be available in the #20-#30 range.

    This is a draft to swing for the fences, right? Why not narrow the focus purely to players with high risk/high reward?

  • The GREAT WW

    Unrelated; so we are in a division with 3 teams that are desperately trying to tank (Vancouver, Phoenix, Vegas) and the team that has set the all time tanking record (Oilers)….

    I don’t see what could possibly go wrong….


    • Skylardog

      So you have us 5th in the division I assume? Not too far off.
      I am concerned with how quiet the Flames have been while teams around us are making moves to get better. So far no top 6 forward coming our way, and we need 2 D-Men. I see Stone resigning, leaving one. That assumes Kulak or Andersson make the roster. Take out Andersson and Bartkowski is in the lineup every night, even if Stone is signed. Don’t even suggest what we do if Smith gets injured during the year. I am assuming that either Rittich or Gillies is ready to play 20-30 games.
      If you put Anaheim and Edmonton ahead for sure, that leaves us beating out SJ and LA for a spot guaranteed spot.
      Or, need to be a wildcard. With Chicago, Nashville, St Louis, and Minny in the central, that means we have to be ahead of two of LA and SJ and Winnipeg, with Dallas not being a factor again, hopefully.

      I am concerned.

      • flames2015

        I’m not concerned. Flames are well aware and have been in discussions with acquiring a 4th D, yet to be determined who of course and Stone will likely be signed. It’s early in the off season, and the draft hasn’t even happened yet or the window to talk to UFAs. Treliving always has surprises, just a matter of when it’s going to happen not if.

        • Skylardog

          I don’t disagree that he is working on it. What concerns me is that there seems to have been a window of opportunity, the lead up to the expansion draft and the day after the expansion draft, where deals should have, and have been done for a great price.
          Things are only going to get more costly now. A good example is NYI wanting 2 firsts for Hamonic.

          He did go out in the discount period and get Smith, but that is all he did. I am not a fan of the Smith move, as I feel a younger guy could have been had, but it was good value.
          With Marchessault going to Vegas with picks and a prospect, what could have been done to send something to TB for Marchessault? (I am not sure of what TB was up to sending all that when I am sure Vegas would have taken Marchessault without any consideration). Would TB have taken a second for him?
          The price now for a top 6 forward is going to be high. If BT is looking at a top 6 forward or a top 4 D-Man, then the price will be a contract with significant cost and even worse, a long term.

          • Flames07

            The Islanders can ask whatever price they want, I don’t think any GM would do that trade. I would have preferred taking a chance on Raanta or Grubauer, but one can assume the asking price was too high. Marchessault is from the Panthers, he went to Vegas on a side deal that Reilly Smith and his $5 million contract to year 2022 be taken as well. And Vegas sends back a 4th rounder in 2018.

  • Fan the Flames

    The blue chip prospect that could land us something is Fox . I hate the thought of trading him but I don’t think the Flames will be able to sign him .

        • piscera.infada

          How many legitimate (being the operative word here) NHL prospects out of college actually opt to become free agents instead of signing with the team that drafted them? It actually seems a lot more rare than people make it seem. It’s still something to factor into your assessment of course, but it hardly seems like a sweeping assumption to make “because he’s a college player”.

      • Fan the Flames

        College players can play the holdout game and pick where they want to go so what would make Fox any different ? If you wait to the last minute you get nothing .

        • piscera.infada

          I’m aware of what the rules are. You drafted him last summer. He would need to wait until August of 2020 for this to actually have bearing on the Flames organisation.

          This is what people said would happen with Gaudreau. It didn’t. This is what people say will happen with many legitimate, high-end NHL prospects in college. It generally doesn’t happen. Impact NHL prospects usually sign at the end of the second or third year, because it’s a good way for them to maximise their prime earning years as a professional athlete. More to this specific case, Fox has not (to my knowledge) given any indication that he has soured to the Flames. Moreover, if he did, is there a rush here? As I said, he’s more than three full years away from actually making this decision.

          Quite simply, fringe NHL prospects generally take this route because their chances at an NHL career hinge far more on opportunity. This is likely what we saw with Hickey (Corban Knight in Florida, and Kevin Hayes in Chicago). Is he better off trying to crack Arizona’s defense next season, or the one that already has 3 of it’s top 4 spoken for, and prospects like Kulak, Kylington, and Andersson which he will be directly competing with? Sure, we could argue the same for Fox, but the assumptive logic here is that Fox is a “blue-chip” prospect, and as such, his success as a professional hockey player is likely not hindered as much by the Flames current depth. I presume, he is entirely capable of beating-out all of those aforementioned prospects, making them expendable. Furthermore, the Flames blue-line depth could significantly change in the next 2 years as well–maybe Kulak is eventually traded, maybe neither Andersson nor Kylington become legit NHL defensemen, maybe Brodie gets traded, maybe Fox is legitimately good enough that the Flames are forced to open up a spot for him. Even if this were a situation that Fox would worry about, we don’t need to address it at this exact moment.

          Finally, if Fox really does want to “play the holdout game”, would that not, then, lower his value significantly. If the Flames know it, other teams will know it. Therefore, those other teams will see him as exactly what he is: a flight risk. His value will be adjusted accordingly.

          I’m not saying “don’t trade Fox”–just as I don’t say that about any prospect. The correct argument here though, is that ‘x’ player is good enough to warrant trading Fox. It’s not “Fox will likely choose not to sign with the Flames, because he’s a college player, and therefore should be jettisoned now”. There is no evidence that Fox will choose not to sign with the Flames.

          I guess the crux of the argument here is that I’m not sure how often this actually happens with high-end prospects? It’s quite possible I’m incorrect here, but it seems to me that we get maybe one legitimate prospect who actually goes this route every 3 or so years–Hayes, Schultz, Wheeler. Mostly though, they end up signing to my knowledge (like Gaudreau did–and there were many a restless conversation on this blog about that… I remember it not so fondly). Or, should we just start arguing that Arizona should trade Keller now, or Winnipeg should have traded Kyle Connor last offseason? Of course not, Connor ended up signing, Keller will sign, and in all likelihood so will Fox.

        • piscera.infada

          I mean, I guess if the argument is that “all college players will likely ‘play the holdout game'”, then you might as well make the argument that you “should not draft college players at all”, right?

        • Jumping Jack Flash

          The main advantage drafting teams hold over college prospects is that the drafting organization keeps in touch with the prospect on a semi-regular basis. They build relationships with the player and his family and that goes along way. There is still such thing as loyalty…..Johnny had it….Janko had it. A good example of this type of loyalty was demonstrated by soon- to- be top 5 draft Cale Makar who was first persued by UMass when he was playing for Brooks and turned down higher profile schools because he like the people associated with the program.

  • Skylardog

    Again – Off Topic.

    Could you imagine what would happen in Brooklyn if Tavares didn’t sign after everything that Snow has thrown at trying to win to keep Tavares in the past 2 days?

    And they say the reason Tavares got hurt this season was the bad ice in Brooklyn.

    Have to assume they announce an 8 year $10 mill per season deal for Tavares on July 1.

  • Parallex

    On the draft… the expansion draft dashed my hopes for Liljegren a bit. VGK now has three picks ahead of ours I gotta believe that VGK would role the dice on his upside if he’s kicking around the 13/15 spots.

  • BlueMoonNigel

    Off topic but with Tippy now a FA, should Tre try and hire him as the coach? He is a very good one and his release comes at an opportune time to hire a coach as he will have all summer to get ready for the new season.

    Put another way, given the choice would you rather have Gully or Tippy as the coach of the Flames?

    • Parallex

      Gully. I think Hockey Canada should hire Tippett… I mean if the NHL isn’t going to the next games Team Canada is going to need a coach that knows how to make the best out of a terrible roster.

    • Skylardog

      I think all here know where I stand on GG. BT does have ties to Arizona and is aware of what Tippett offers. Bring him in as an assistant, then fire GG in November when the Flames face a nightmare start to the season schedule wise.

      Ok go ahead – trash me to the end of the earth!

      • Skylardog

        Keep in mind as you read this, is that my view is that the Flames are going nowhere until GG is gone.

        The schedule for the first part of the season is my blessing! It would not be out of the realm of possibilities for the Flames to go 3 and 10 in the first 13 games if they are not up to speed and on top of their game to start the season.

        If they are better than 7 and 6 after 13 games I will admit I am wrong on GG.

        In that period they get The Cup Champions, the other 3 conference finalists, the Presidents trophy winners, St Louis, Minny, and Edmonton, who all finished ahead of the Flames last season. Add in Winnipeg and LA, and they are in tough in 10 of the first 13. They do get Vancouver, Carolina, and Dallas. Better hope they win those 3. Carolina looks better than last year and Dallas could rebound.

        If the Flames go 3 and 13, what do you all do with GG?
        If they go 6 and 7, what is your view of how the season is going?

    • WildfireOne

      Tippett is definitely an established coach with a decent track record. Also has a reputation for getting something from nothing to work with. And you’re not going to wonder if he’s getting outcoached, because it’s not likely he would be.

      Instant cap-free upgrade to the team?
      You do that in a heartbeat… The only question is if this is that much of an upgrade; it’s not Scotty Bowman. And the cost beyond spending dollars is the impact on a young team.
      But for me, I’d rather have Tippett than GG behind the bench.

  • Puckhead

    Let’s get back on topic: it looks like Suzuki is the most popular choice and it’s hard to argue as he’d be a great addition. Highly skilled with great hockey IQ.

    I think we keep the pick – can’t see Tre stranding his scouts without any picks in the first few rounds.

    • Lucky 13

      I agree Puckhead. I can’t see Treliving losing an opportunity to get one of 3 potentially good players if they are available at#16.

      I would be so happy if that turns out to be Suzuki.

      There’s lots of hype right now about Treliving making a splash for a #4 defence man. Hamonic seems to be targeted, however I can’t see Tre giving up 2 #1’s to get this deal done.

      Treliving is patient, that’s why we’re not seeing a lot of movement at this point. I am confident he’ll make a solid trade… what do we give up though?

  • Baalzamon

    So. Hjalmarsson traded for nothing.
    Seems like the trade was built on Connor Murphy’s reputation more than his actual ability. Still, that has to lower the ask for Hamonic, no?

    • Lets Get Something Clear

      The stop gap and taking a chance on one of our prospects looks pretty good now.

      That said McPhee not picking Raanta looks pretty bad now (his whole strategy is questionable, really).

    • everton fc

      Yep. Way too steep.

      Hamonic’s the target now. If that falls through, there will be another defender out there we’ll make a play for. I get this sense if we bring in a defender, it’ll be some big trade involving our first, a good prospect or two (most likely two) for a forward and a defender.

      And we still have to somehow move Brouwer and Bouma!! (Bouma for a 7th?)