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The draft domino effect of the Flames missing the playoffs

It’s no secret that the Calgary Flames moved a lot of draft picks last summer in an effort to better the hockey club. It’s been tough to get a clear picture of exactly how things look over the next few drafts because so many of the picks were tied up with trade conditions that could go one way or the other.

With the Flames definitively not advancing to the 2018 Stanley Cup playoffs, the drafting picture over the next three summers suddenly looks a lot clearer. Three trades involving conditional draft picks are now finalized.

The chain of trades

The Calgary Flames announced today that they have acquired defenceman Michael Stone from the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for Calgary’s third round pick in 2017 and a conditional fifth round pick in ’18. (Flames media release.)

Made on Feb. 20, this was the first conditional pick involved and easily the simplest. The 2018 fifth round selection was contingent on Stone re-signing with the Flames, which happened on June 30.

The Calgary Flames announced today that they have acquired goaltender Mike Smith from the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for UFA Chad Johnson, unsigned prospect Brandon Hickey and a conditional 3rd round draft pick. (Flames media release.)

This swap was made on June 17, just before the submission of expansion draft protected lists to the NHL office. We’ve confirmed with team sources that the vaguely-defined conditional third round draft pick was a 2018 pick, which would have converted to a 2019 second round pick if the Flames qualified for the 2018 playoffs. The Flames were eliminated from playoff condition on March 26, which sent this pick to Arizona.

The Calgary Flames have acquired defenseman Travis Hamonic from the New York Islanders along with a fourth round pick in either the 2019 or 2020 NHL Draft in exchange for Calgary’s first and second round picks in the 2018 NHL Draft and a second round pick in either the 2019 or 2020 NHL Draft. (Flames media release.)

This swap was made on June 24, on the second day of the 2017 NHL Draft. Which year the second-for-fourth draft pick swap occurs was dependent on the availability of the Flames’ 2019 second round pick. Because the Flames missed the playoffs their 2018 third rounder went to Arizona, so their 2019 second round pick goes to the Islanders (and they get the Isles’ 2019 fourth rounder in return).

Their available picks

Here are the picks the Flames have over the next three drafts. It’s lean for this June’s draft with just four selections, but they have six next year (including four in the first four rounds).

  • 2018: 4th rounder (own), 4th rounder (Florida’s, from Jiri Hudler trade), 6th rounder (own), 7th rounder (own)
  • 2019: 1st rounder (own), 3rd rounder (own), 4th rounder (own), 4th rounder (Islanders’, from Hamonic trade), 5th rounder (own), 7th rounder (Carolina’s, from Eddie Lack trade)
  • 2020: The Flames have all of their own picks


  • Flaming Glory

    Having no draft picks in this draft is NOT the end of the world. Also these pickups were good bets. Goalie? Well lookie here we got ourselves a legit one. Need a bottom pairing D man so that Ras can develop? OMGoodness, we found one! Not only that he can slide up if need be! Need a second pairing that isn’t total trash? Well Hamonic was a decent bet and honestly it may be TJ causing complications.
    So let’s all remember these things before we blowup with regret. At the time they made sense and honestly still do.

    • Flaming Glory

      Just in response to the unprotected pick part: unprotected picks are more valuable. I’d be willing to make a bet that Brad didn’t just forget to protect a first.

        • kirby

          People can poo-poo the value of 1st rd picks all they want, it’s just a delusional coping mechanism to fool yourself into believing we made good deals. We didn’t. Lazar for a 2nd. Hamonic for unprotected top 10 + more. Mike Smith and Mike Stone, underachievers from a loser team who did nothing to make us better. How people can look at all this and say “ahh whatever, picks aren’t valuable and we got NHL players” is just beyond me. We gave up major assets for guys who did nothing to make us better in the short or long term. That is a massive failure no matter how you try to justify it.

          • Hockey for life

            Too bad our gm is the only GM to make bad moves ever. Funny how you don’t mention the frolik signing the Hamilton trade( we fleeced Boston) signing gio Johnny and monny on awesome contracts. The hudler, glencross and Russell trades. Much more good then bad.

      • kirby

        Yeah but he should have pushed for it. He got out-negotiated by freakin Garth Snow. The Isles didn’t have great leverage, Hamonic wanted out and everyone knew it for a long time. So for him to be unable to work some kind of doomsday protection, kind of like what we’re seeing now with it being near or possibly inside the top 10, is just inexcusable especially considering there were other assets included on top of that. Bad foresight and a bit of arrogance that is coming back to bite us.

        • The Beej

          He only got “out negotiated” in hindsight.

          Kirby, its easy to make these kinds of judgements in hindsight. Anyone can say a move that didnt work out is a bad move.

          You are dead wrong about Hamonic. Across the board except in points he is our third best D. Brodie’s giveaways made him look bad all year and the numbers confirm that. Its obvious. Unless you dont know your hockey. Which you dont.

          Did the team crater. Yes. League lowest shooting% and a coach that has given up will do that to you.

          So easy to make such judgements in hindsight. Its just a little intellectually weak is all.

        • Jumping Jack Flash

          Would you rather go to the plate without taking any hacks or go down swinging. BT took his hacks which I will take every time over a GM that sits on his hands. If BT could not get the pick draft protected then it wasn’t an option. I don’t like BT’s talent assessment when it comes to PTOs and some veterans but I believe his deal negotiating is a strength.

        • Brian Burkee

          Chiarelli said the same offer was on the table for them… he said he didn’t think the time was now to over pay for another Smid-Staois d man. Smart GM that chiarelli. Treliving buckled. Flames needed scorers not dmen.

          • Kevin R

            Yup that Chia is one smart hombre. Lets trade a franchise player for a 2nd pairing Hamonic type of player straight across. Probably why he got the GM of the year award. Oilers are set for years to come with him at the helm.

          • Brian Burkee

            Franchise players get their teams to the playoffs consistently. Almost 10 years in hall hasn’t accomplished it until now. Franchise players are respected by teammates and coaches. Hall was never in juniors or as a pro. He is a terrible teammate Period. Not to mention his partying in the bars being known publicly for some time now.

      • T&A4Flames

        Exactly. I’m sure after BT told Snow “no” when he wanted last years first prior to us drafting Valimaki, Snow said “no” when Tre wanted to protect the 1st.

  • JoelOttosJock

    I am not overly concerned about not having any picks in the first 3 rounds this year. For one, the Flames track record of drafting is not great, although it has improved over the last few drafts. Also, this is not a great year for the draft, outside maybe the top 6 guys, it is an utter crap shoot. Hamonic, Stone, and Smith (even though I do not like the second two mentioned) are legitimate, everyday NHL’ers. The only pick that could be a kick in the pants is the first for Hamonic, but that only happens if by chance and a far outside chance the Flames win the lottery. Still a gamble I believe was a good move. This just puts BT and company to work harder scouring the NCAA free agents, major junior free agents, and europe. This may be a blessing in disguise, go find some late bloomers.

    • kirby

      Stone is a borderline #7 D who held Rasmus Andersson off the roster, probably would have been better off without him. Smith is an old slow declining goalie with poor sloppy technique and he has no business coming back as our #1. Hamonic cost us what could end up being an unprotected top 10 pick, contributed nothing offensively and as a defensive shut down guy consistently let his guys get open looks in front of the net. He was damn near useless at both ends of the ice.

      And drafting is not great? This isn’t the Kris Chucko – Greg Nemisz – Matt Pelech – Tim Erixon days of picking brutally useless players late in 1st rds. Jankowski, Monahan, Bennett, Rasmus Andersson. These are valuable players. Tkachuk is a franchise cornerstone, and the rest of the 2016 class is loaded with promising looking prospects. Parsons, Dube, Fox, Lindstrom etc. Jusso Valimaki last year should be a solid player. So don’t give me this “oh our draft picks don’t help us anyway, might as well give them away for average-at-best NHLers”. You don’t build contenders with washed up middle-of-the-pack veteran cast offs from other teams, you build them with your own draft picks.

      So yeah, we would absolutely be better off with the picks, which even if they aren’t used to directly draft young players into the organization could have been used as currency to obtain better and more useful players than the ones we got.

      Also, the whole “oh there’s only like 6 good players to draft anyways” thing is bogus. Look at some of the mid-1st rd picks from recent years. Brock Boeser, Mathew Barzal, Kyle Connor, Charlie McAvoy, Jacob Chychrun, how many of them were touted as high end can’t miss prospects? Or guys who went just inside the top 10 like Sergachev or Mittelstadt or Clayton Keller, could have won a lottery to move up a few spots and nab a guy like that or package something to trade up for Brady Tkachuk or something, i don’t buy your “oh well the picks would have been useless anyway” cop out. There are a number of guys we could have ended up with who would contribute more to this franchise for a longer time than what Hamonic is giving us.

      It was an understandable move to bring in a guy like Hamonic, but leaving that pick competely unprotected and leaving us exposed to the possibility of forfeiting a top 10 pick + more for him is just inexcusable in my mind. It’s not a good look when Garth Snow comes out looking like the negotiating winner in a deal, and BT has to wear that. It was a mistake, it was WAY too costly at the end of the day. Simple as that.

      Nothing about this is a “blessing”.

      • withachance

        Personally disagree. No matter which way you slice it, first rounders are never a slam dunk to be everyday NHLers, and have quite a low percentage of being an impact player. For every Boeser and McAvoy there is a Nemeisz, Yakupov, and Griffin Reinhart. You can’t guarantee that the Flames would’ve drafted a stud, in fact it’s a total crapshoot. The Flames did get a reliable top 4 defenceman with a reasonable contract in Hamonic.

        We’d all be singing a different tune if the Flames made the playoffs right now. So yes, it’s not the most ideal that the 1st for Hamonic wasn’t protected, but it’s not the end of the world that you’re making it out to be. It is NOT inexcusable, it was a trade. We would be better off with picks, but how? Maybe in 5 years, MAYBE, but you don’t know that. What we do know is that we have an above average top 4 for the forseeable future and I can stomach that. Of course that would change if we move up in the lottery but that’s another if. Just breathe and don’t panic….

        • Kevin R

          Interesting to read, I forget where, maybe on Elliott’s 31 thoughts, but Ottawa see a huge drop off after the 7th player taken. So they did lottery protect their 1st & word is if they wind up with any pick after #7 they will just let it go to Colorado. I found that interesting & praying our pick will be like 11th or 12th overall. Look at some of the 1st rounders we have Shinkaruk, Klimchuk, Poirier & one can argue Lazar. All have struggled to make an impact & every team has these 1st rounders. In this cap era, 1st rounders currency value has shot up significantly but people need perspective. Big changes are needed, Tre has a long painful summer ahead of him.

          • cberg

            BT misjudged the team in the offseason but I give him full marks for being bold and trying. His biggest mistake was keeping GG when it was painfully obvious after the first 2 months there were big problems.

        • kirby

          That’s the thing though, Hamonic WAS NOT RELIABLE! Not at all! Not at either end of the ice!

          And yeah 1st rounders aren’t slam dunks. Obviously. I’m saying they are far more valuable than people who write them off as “oh well it’s probably just a useless crap shoot anyways” try to make them out to be. Either as currency for bigger moves or for drafting young cheaper team controlled building blocks. That is how winning teams are built, not by scavenging the league for other teams middle aged cast offs.

          We went all in for some kind of “win now” mode with a team that obviously wasn’t ready for it. Now we’re left dumping a few vets who contributed nothing and not having any valuable draft capital to bolster our roster. That’s not a “maybe” situation, that is an already guaranteed reality. Stone isn’t valuable. Smith isn’t valuable. Lack wasn’t valuable. Lazar isn’t valuable. Hamonic made us WORSE, not better. And now while half those guys won’t even be back next year, we’re still paying the price for having them. If you can’t see how that hurts this franchise in the immediate future, not “maybe 5 years from now”, then i don’t have any clue what you’re looking at.

          • withachance

            Hamonic was probably one of our better defencemen in the last half of the season. I never said Lazar was ever going to be worth a second, he was acquired for potential. That’s the thing, BT did use the 1st rounder as currency. He used it to get Hamonic who has now settled in with the team and is on a good contract. Stone was acquired for a 3rd…. thats plenty value for an NHL defencemen. Lack was acquired for basically nothing. I dont know how much value you want out of those guys….

          • cberg

            Not sure why you’re being such a drama queen, but really? Hamonic has actually been fairly good, even better away from Brodie. With better coaching and player utilization results would likely have been way different. But they weren’t, we have to move on. So I guess your prescription for moving forward is draft and wait till things develop? Could be a few years…

          • Derzie

            And, our amateur scouts are one of our strengths (better than average) so picks have a higher value. Poster above comparing us to Edm (who have among the worst amateur scouts) is inappropriate. Today’s NHL is won through internal construction. Brad blew it this year.

      • Hockey for life

        Basically hindsight is 20/20. What they gave up is the price for hamonic. If Calgary could of had even an average shooting percentage we would of been in playoffs and it wouldn’t of mattered as much. Unfortunately things just don’t always work out.

      • canadian1967

        “Look at some of the mid-1st rd picks from recent years. Brock Boeser, Mathew Barzal, Kyle Connor, Charlie McAvoy, Jacob Chychrun, how many of them were touted as high end can’t miss prospects?”
        Chychrun was actually the pre-season top ranked prospect.

      • JoelOttosJock

        So you would trade those picks for better players, i am in agreeance. Stone and Smith are Arizona garbage to me. I would have loved to have seen that 1st rounder in the Hamonic deal go to the Penguins for M.A. Fleury. Either way you are being a hypocrite by saying dont trade for this group of established players but not those. The difference is preference. You are right there are a few solid draft picks doing well, but you also mwntioned prospects such as Doobie, Valimaki, Parsons etc, they are still crap shoots. So is Janko and Bennett. They have not proving it yet. Don’t put that horse behind the cart…

      • Jumping Jack Flash

        I think the analytics that teams use have helped the overall success rate. We are not seeing the same level of first round busts like we have in the past. From a Flames standpoint, we have drafted NHL quality players which has not always been the case. Bennett may be a disappointing top line player but he is still very capable. Thankfully ther are very few Fatas and Tzachuksand more Tkachuks.

      • T&A4Flames

        Your 2nd paragraph is exactly why taking the calculated risk they did makes sense. The cupboards are stocked. At some point we need to leverage those assets (draft picks and/or prospects) to fill in the holes. Otherwise you become the Edmonton Oilers and your 1st round of top picks are coming out of their prime before the rest of the kids are ready.

    • kirby

      Also, “This just puts BT and company to work harder scouring the NCAA free agents, major junior free agents, and europe”

      Yeah, go look for another Roman Cervenka from a Euro/Russia league? That Kenney Morrison guy sure helped us as a NCAA free agent eh? These are just not good methods for doing what we need to do.

      • withachance

        Forgot to mention Spencer Foo from NCAA and Rittich from Europe… You can’t just only mention failures of past regimes and not mention the successes of the current front office. And you can’t seriously expect 100% of player acquisitions to be impact players….

        It’s called bias and risks you should look them up.

        • Hockey for life

          Hahaha yea I love it when people just mention a few failures of a gm and say he is bad leaving out all the good they do. It’s like other gms have never made a bad trade or signing.

        • kirby

          Thanks for the tip.

          The point is, this is not a sustainable method of operation for building a contender. To plug a tiny hole here and there, yeah. You can hit on those long shot kind of moves once in awhile. But expecting to use it exclusively as the means for building the future of your roster because you traded away all your valuable picks for guys who did nothing? THAT IS NOT SUSTAINABLE or intelligent to realistically expect for propelling your team into perpetual contention which is, you know, kind of what we’re supposed to be doing here…..

          • withachance

            The method to building a sustainable contender is to draft your own superstars, and SUPPLEMENT them. Pittsburgh wouldn’t have gone back to back without Kessel and Hagelin adding onto Sid and Malkin. Chicago had to get Hossa and Oduya to go with Toews Kane and Keith. BT had a solid core of drafted stars and he went out trying to put them over the top. He paid the market price for what he went and got. As mentioned above if they made playoffs everyone would not be even having this discussion and wouldnt need a 1st rounder. But because the team had the worst shooting luck in the league they all of a sudden NEED a 1st rounder? I dont buy it sorry.

          • cberg

            You seem to be going overboard about 3-5 traded picks for guys you are willing to slag, while conveniently ignoring drafting and developing top players is exactly what the Flames have been doing the past several years. How about some consistency in your comments?

  • TheWheeze

    I still am willing to give Treliving some rope. He has made good moves and not so good moves. What GM hasn’t? And, to sound like a broken record, he has been hamstrung in his coaching options due to upper management not willing to shell out. I am stating the obvious here but, man, this team just doesn’t seem to making any progress. Besides the fables 04 Cup run and the Hartley Hudler Gaudreau magic year there has been crap all to cheer about….

  • Off the wall

    This season was a major disappointment. We’re all frustrated and looking for scapegoats and finger pointing.
    It’s easy to be caught up in this.

    What’s done is done. Treliving made choices that he regrets, however he was trying to make the team better. I don’t fault him for that. Instead of blaming Treliving, let’s give him an opportunity to see what he can do over the offseason – he hasn’t handicapped this team as bad as we believe he has, nor is he ignoring his own misgivings in all of these decisions. I respect that he questioned his own role in this. I’d rather have a GM that cares, then one who doesn’t take responsibility.

    Look at what Chia has done to Edmonton and perhaps we can count what little blessings we have?!

    I’m extremely impatient with our players, season, performance and I admit it. But I still don’t have the right to say Treliving failed.

    Our coaching failed. That’s on Treliving and although he’s not going to say it, you know he has to address it AFTER the season has ended. If he doesn’t then I believe we have legitimate reasons to question his tenure as GM. But I’d give it a little time first. Nothing happens as quickly as we want it to, and Treliving still has to find a suitable replacement.

    I get the outrage- I am too. We went from 94 points and 7th place last year to 82 points and 11th place this year. It’s ugly, no doubt about it.

    Blaming Treliving at this point is useless, counterproductive and isn’t going to fix our problems.

  • freethe flames

    Let’s take a moment and think about the accident involving that team from Humbolt; 14 dead another 14 in hospital. Those of us who pray should take a minute to pray for them and their families and that community as well as all the emergency services people who have been impacted by this. Those who don’t pray take some time and reflect upon the event. There will lots of time to discuss what is wrong with the Flames organization over the next few months.