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Tod Button runs down the 2017 NHL Draft

Following the conclusion of the 2017 NHL Draft, Calgary Flames head scout Tod Button chatted with media about the club’s draft picks.

Here are some selected quotes from that chat with his thoughts on the Flames’ new additions.

On the team’s emphasis in their 2017 Draft selections:

We wanted to add skill and ceiling. With five picks, knowing that it would be hard to get any more, we wanted to get as much talent as we could. Sometimes, when you get to the fourth, fifth, sixth round, that means untapped talent. That means projecting players, guys that you think still have untapped offensive potential.

Juuso Valimaki (16th overall):

We think he’s got explosive game. We think he’s got great will to win, we think he’s got a great will to make things happen in the game. If there’s a knock on him, he needs to develop more patience defensively because he wants to grab the puck and he wants to go. Up the ice, he’s got really good offensive ability, he can pass the puck and he can shoot the puck – you don’t score 19 goals in the Western Hockey League without offensive ability.

Adam Ruzicka (109th overall):

Up and down this year, but great skill package. Big man. We think the experience of playing over in the OHL overwhelmed him at times, but when we watched him at the national teams, World Juniors and Under-18s, he was really solid. We think, again, all our scouts were really high on him in the fourth round as far as untapped potential.

Zach Fischer (140th overall):

Zach, he’s an interesting kid, because I didn’t know him. And I know our scouts watch him all the time, he’s a ’97, he’s been through two drafts, and I went in to watch the prospects on Medicine Hat and Moose Jaw and I noticed this guy all night. He was involved, he scored goals, I think he got in a fight – he might not have, but there were guys trying to fight him. He was driving them crazy.

The Flames scouting staff started tracking Fischer more closely after that Oct. 5 game. (He did not get into a fight.)

This guy’s really developed a more patient game. The guys who knew him from before, he’s not just running around hitting guys, he scored 34 goals, he was a real good piece to a top line in the Western Hockey League, creating space. He scores goals the hard way, there’s not a lot of fancy skill there, but there’s hard skill there.

Since Fischer’s a 1997-born player, he’s able to play in the AHL or as an overager in the WHL next season. Button noted that Fischer’s performance at training camp would determine what happens.

D’Artagnan Joly (171st overall):

People thought he might put up some points this year and he struggled through the first and we just kept watching him. Our Quebec guys, they were a little bit iffy on him, but as the second half of the year went on his name kept on coming up on our calls, and keep watching him. We sent more guys in to see him and at the end, they were convinced that this kid, another guy that has more offensive potential than he showed this year.

Filip Sveningsson (202nd overall):

A guy our Swedish guy really liked. He’s a talented kid, he’s got some swagger and Bobbie Hagelin likes that, but he needs to play more consistently. These guys have to get their skill in the game more consistently because they’re skill guys, and skill guys that aren’t involved consistently, they can drive coaches and scouts crazy. But again, they think there’s potential there.

  • KenBone18

    “He was involved, he scored goals, I think he got in a fight – he might not have, but there were guys trying to fight him. He was driving them crazy.

    The Flames scouting staff started tracking Fischer more closely after that Oct. 5 game. (He did not get into a fight.)”

    Lol great scouting there boys.

  • Just.Visiting

    What appears to be another good draft. Valimaki looks like the downside is a solid player and the sky is the limit on the upside-can’t say that about many first round picks once you’re outside the top 10. Really like the Ruzika and Sven picks and, of course, D’Artagnan’s name.

  • McRib

    Great: Välimäki, Joly
    Average with Upside: Ruzicka, Sveningsson
    Below Average: Fischer
    Bad: None

    Class Grade: B

    The only major complaint that can be made of this draft is with the lack of picks in the Top.100. Outside of that, all of the players selected offered average to great value, a common theme now with Brad Treliving drafts the last three years. Välimäki is as certain as middle first rounders come (*knocks on wood*), so in theory as long as one of Joly, Ruzicka, Sveningsson and Fischer pan out and reach potential it will be a good draft. If two of these secondary prospects pan out it will be a great draft, which is plausible.