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The Flames are looking for bargains at the 2018 NHL Draft

The 2018 National Hockey League entry draft will not be business as usual for the Calgary Flames. Because of some wheeling and dealing at last year’s draft in Chicago (which included acquiring Travis Hamonic), the Flames head to Dallas for this year’s event in a position they’ve been in only three times: they don’t have a first round pick.

The probable philosophy

The Flames selected five times last year. At the time, amateur scouting guru Tod Button explained the thought process behind their 2017 picks:

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.

The Flames don’t have a pick until the fourth round of this year’s draft, so given those circumstances and the success of their philosophy last year – they landed Adam Ruzicka in the fourth round and D’Artagnan Joly in the sixth round – it seems likely that they’ll repeat that approach. The theme of the 2018 Draft will probably be “untapped offensive potential.”

The Flames 2018 picks

Here are the Flames’ four selections in this year’s draft:

  • 105th overall in the fourth round
  • 108th overall in the fourth round (acquired from Florida in the Jiri Hudler trade)
  • 167th overall in the sixth round
  • 198th overall in the seventh round

For the curious, their first and second round picks went to the New York Islanders in the Hamonic trade, their third round pick went to Arizona as a condition of the Mike Smith trade, and their fifth round pick went to Arizona as a condition of the Michael Stone trade.

Treliving’s draft tendencies

Over four drafts, the Flames have made 25 selections since Brad Treliving became general manager. The positional breakdown is two goaltenders, eight defensemen and 15 forwards – they’ve taken a goaltender every second year (2014 and 2016) but otherwise stick to a mix.

In terms of feeder leagues, it’s probably not shocking that they’ve stuck primarily to the Canadian Hockey League – 17 of their 25 picks have been domestic. But you can kinda tell which scouts have gotten results for the organization by which leagues have been most commonly chosen from: the Ontario Hockey League (9), the Western Hockey League (6) and Sweden (4). For what it’s worth WHL scout Rob Sumner and OHL scout Fred Parker were promoted to assistant directors of amateur scouting last summer, likely as a result of the club’s success in drafting from those two regions (and probably a sign that the organization wants to keep doing so).

A look ahead

Given the Flames’ selections, history and anticipated drafting philosophy, we’ll be taking a look at some projected fourth and fifth round selections in the coming weeks.

    • deantheraven

      I agree. We have a few good core players but the general feeling is that a ‘culture change’ or ‘chemistry experiments’ are on tap for 2018-19. Some players will be moved for draft picks, making space for up ‘n’ comers and an upgrade or two at FWD.

  • SgtRoadBlock

    two things may happen 1. The Roster will get a free pass to see what Peters can do with it.
    2. one or Two players r moved for picks and Peters type Role players.

    • FL?MES

      If the roster stays the same I will fill my shorts. That said, I don’t see how it can stay the same because Ras is too good for the AHL and he can’t sit in the press box as a #7. A D man has to be moved. Now we just need to wait and see if this trade involves picks and/or players.

  • rusty_shakleforde

    What’s the conversation look like regarding the tension between trading for picks vs. trading for players (i.e. a top 6 forward), assuming that to go for both would stretch our resources a lot?

    • freethe flames

      After last years disappointment if BT does not add to the top 6th and the over talent level of the forwards either via trade(long term solutions) or FA’s (short term solutions) I will be highly surprised and deeply disappointed. Last year he was deeply disappointed by the progress made by the prospects and there is little indication that any of them can fill the needs in the top 6; hope maybe but I am a skeptic that Foo is the answer and believe the big 3 prospects will need time..

      • oilcanboyd

        Problem with the prospect call-ups last season is that GG in his wisdom did not give them a fair chance to succeed. Peters had a different approach in Carolina and here is hoping he carries on with putting call-ups in a position to succeed. Hardly a vote of confidence for prospects if they st in the pressbox for most of their time with the Flames.

    • deantheraven

      I think BT has to do both. There’s money coming off the books already, and a little more addition by subtraction has got to happen if they want to take on a top 6 salary AND play some prospects..

  • freethe flames

    If the Flames only have these 4 picks; this has to be the even year they pass on a goalie? I looked at a mock draft for this year and I wonder what the Flames plan will be ; best available player and then trade for need. This is something we have heard for years and yet we have not been able to add a top 6 forward.

    Looking at trying to upgrade this team is a huge task and I don’t envy BT and BP their jobs. But as a fan I have three ideas as plans. Plan 1 is the UFA market; this is based upon the idea that no wants to give me fair value for my assets and besides that I like my core and think I can add enough parts to be competitive. The second plan revolves around what I call the Brodie+ plan and that means I an add a key player to our core by moving Brodie+ some other assets for a top 6 forward; these would include guys like RoR, Gallagher, Stone, Wilson, K Hayes, Bjugstad, or Kapanen and then add the other pieces via FA. The third plan is the blow it up plan and change the locker room completely by moving the Killer B’s, Brodie/Backs/Bennett for some kind of drastic change ie to Buffalo for RoR/Sam R/and a prospect or pick. Things cannot remain the same.

    • JMK

      Great post. Although, they didn’t draft a goalie last year so we could see another this year; if not maybe we see a pick up like Schneider perhaps. Especially now with McDonald and Schneider looking like busts. And a down year for Parsons. BT might want to add a junior goalie to the depth chart.

      • freethe flames

        The thing about taking goalies is that there are always FA’s available to fill the farm needs; what there seldom is are guys who are really NHL ready.

    • Korcan

      I see Brodie being moved, but trading Backs and Benny, IMO, would be an act of desperation. Still, moving Ferland won’t surprise me, and possibly even Frolik, though i think Peters really likes him. Both players could get a healthy return. ‘If’ Tre sees Calgary’s window of opportunity being immediate, he may try to land Tavares (unlikely) or trade for O’Rielly (more likely) to solidify Calgary’s depth at the center position, which would mean Janks could be moved. If Tre sees the window still being a couple of years away, however, then keeping Jankowski and letting him develop into the number 2 center makes more sense. Regardless, they need to upgrade RW, hopefully with a younger, rather than older, player. The core is young, so add someone of similar age (I.e. Kapanen or Reinhardt).

      • freethe flames

        Why would you trade Janko even if you land RoR? This team does not have any depth at center. Even if BT thinks the Flames time is now the depth at center is very concerning. My plan is indeed drastic and maybe even desperate but it may need to be what has to be done. Peters has stressed how importance winning face offs is. Again look at tonight and Washington’s 4th goal any kind of tie up in the face off circle and they don’t score. The more forwards that are former centers the better.

        • Korcan

          My “desperate” comment was merely in reference to trading both Backlund and Bennett (both centers I might add) along with Brodie. The loss of Backlund in particular is much more detrimental to their center depth than the loss of Jankowski would be.

          As much as i would love to see a center depth chart of Monahan, O’Rielly, Backlund, Jankowski, I don’t see them getting the upgrade at BOTH center and RW without having to give up one of their young up and comers with Jankowski likely being the piece 1) other teams will demand and 2) the piece Calgary will be able to part with because he may be more valuable in a trade scenario than stuck as a 4th line center — Shore can play that role but could never get the return in a trade that Jankowski can.

          If I’m wrong and Tre can pull it off, awesome, but it will be tough. But like I said, if he sees Calgary’s window for contending for a cup still being a couple years off, they might as well hold on to Janks and let him develop into that #2C and concentrate on upgrading the wing.

  • buts

    When the flames move a veteran whether it be Hamilton or Brodie or whomever would it be safe to say that the player sent away was a detriment or let’s say bad apple to the culture of the dressing room?

      • freethe flames

        This is one of the big topics here and many people go ape $hit when this is mentioned. I see both sides of this argument as valid; he would get us the biggest piece and it would send the loudest message in the dressing room. However I am doubtful it will happen and suspect the guy who will be moved is TJ. Time will tell. I know why TJ did not go to the worlds as he was coming off of a neck injury/concussion but I have no idea if Hamilton was injured.

  • freethe flames

    Speaking of the Cap’s they will find themselves in a really tight cap situation next year with @$8.6 m in cap space and two significant players needing raises Wilson and Carlson. Even if the cap goes up to $80m as I have heard being speculated it puts them in tight as they have 3 other forwards needing contracts and 3 defenders. Another team on my watch list of guys who could be leaving to improve the Flames depth.

    • Korcan

      If he can keep it within the lines, I still really like what Wilson can provide and he’s still young. Grubauer is another RFA who may be available due to cap constraints — could be a good 1b to go with an aging Smith.

  • Franko J

    For all the Flames nation bloggers who are clamouring to trade for Ryan O’Reilly, I say why don’t we just draft our own ROR instead. The guy plays for Madison Capitols in the USHL. RW with a decent shot. Presently with very few selections the Flames have to make sure one of their picks count. Drafting in the later rounds is something this team is pretty good at.

  • rusty_shakleforde

    Looking at the playoffs right now like yo, we need another superstar type. LONGSHOT I know, but look at the bolts (stamkos and kucherov), caps (kuznestsoff and ovi/backstrom and ovi), Winnipeg (Wheeler and Schieffle).

    That one-two punch!

    And so if we think we got that with Johnny and Mony (some debate here I imagine?) then okay, we need the Brayden Point, the Laine, the Boeser (is chucky a player like this? Ferland? Mony if he’s not the other superstar? Do we need more of these guys or just more development, or both?), and at the VERY least we need bottom six guys that can contribute. I think low-key the story of all the great bottom sixes is THE story of the playoffs here/the Vegas golden knights.

    • Korcan

      Maybe not with Johnny and Mony, but quite possibly with Johnny and Matty Tkachuk. Then Mony, and if Bennett can finally get it to all come together (after all, he’s still only 21), along with continued development of Janks and up and comers Mangiapane, Foo, and Dube (maybe even Gawdin?), the offense could be pretty deep/exciting in a couple of years. The question in my mind is if the brass will be patient enough to wait a couple more years or if they will cave to the temptation to buy a winner at the expense of selling away their future.

      • rusty_shakleforde

        Good thoughts, Korcan. It will be a tough line to walk–one can never be sure of their prospects, but the future does look exciting. In an ideal world, we would have a healthy culture and hockey dynasty in calgary, rather than the bloodsucking, money hungry, manchild club that currently festers here. That way we can give our players a boost in morale/the intangibles. It was because more than GG that we sucked at home I reckon.

        But in any case, I’m hoping that we can both get another quality top 6 (even one whom we could rely on as a bottom 6 in the future when some of our prospects start taking off), and then also leave room for growth and development of what we got. Andersson, along with everyone else, will be shocked if he doesn’t make the team, but what about some other nice surprises? Valamaki? Foo? Mange? The future could be bring, y’all.

  • freethe flames

    Going forward BT has to walk the line of being competitive now and not stifling the opportunity of the kids. UFA’s can fill the needs of the team but if they are older guys they must be short term deals only. If he can trade for guys who are between 22-27 with some term left that would of course be better; but those will be the most expensive to acquire. The other option is wait and hope that Bennett, Janko, Lazar, Mangiapane, and Foo take that next step forward (he expected that last year and we ended up signing Jagr after camp so I don’t see that happening again) Then you also need to be hopeful that Dube, Phillips and Gawdin are NHL ready. Sometimes deep in my heart that is what I hope he does; fill the holes from within and live with the consequences but I just don’t see it being his play this off season. I fully expect 1 significant trade to add a top 6 type of forward, I fully expect 2 signings to add talent to the bottom 6 and him adding a 2nd/3rd round draft pick. I don’t see us having the assets to get into the first round.

  • Hockeyfan

    wow, Ryan got the scoop there. A team looking for bargain deals. way to go above and beyond pumping this mediocre team and mngt. They need much more than a deal, they need a cleansing of mediocrity and an infusion of win at all costs. But they give sweet gentle sugarplums raises and term for playing worse, so it’s all good.

  • Garry T

    Rather than trade away Brodie, I would rather move Stone and Anderson in two different deals. Stone to Toronto for a young right winger named Johnsson plus say a 3rd. This year. Then, someone mentioned A Pittsburg AHL player named Sprong. I have done some checking on him and he could be a doozy for us. They are looking for a good D man. The answer is Anderson. Anderson is ready, Sprong may need another year in the AHL. As a result I would be asking for a 2 pick for this of next year. Finally a top six guy. Let’s talk about our Harvard man Fox. Teams are apparently calling on him a tonne. Perhaps on a what are you going to give us basis we could get as much as a top six guy plus at least a pair of picks, ie. A 2 and a 3 this year. I would move him if it meant we did not have to give up a core player for him.

    • BlueMoonNigel

      Stone gets you a 3rd or 4th. That’s it. It’s the same price the Flames will pay if they want to get a veteran blueliner on TDL for the playoff push and beyond.

      Despite his obvious high-end talent, Daniel Sprong is a head case. That explains why his stock plummeted on draft day. If the Flames fancy themselves as a rehab centre for wayward young players, then why not go big and trade for Ho-Sang and sign UFA Vandy Kane?

      • McRib

        Yeah, Daniel Sprong’s father is straight up connected to the Montreal mafia, no NHL team is going to invest anything additional in a trade to get him no matter how much Corey Pronman hypes him up, especially the Flames ownership who puts “character” first and foremost. Not that I totally agree with making a country club out of a Hockey team like we have the last two decades plus, as “nice guys” (see Lazar, Brouwer, Stajan, Hamonic, etc) don’t make winning a priority, hungry players with type a mentalities do.


    As tough as this draft might seem for you guys, it could’ve been worse. I am told that if you’d lost the last game vs Vegas, the 1st rounder you gave for Hammer would’ve become the 2nd overall pick.