Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Flames draft could have lowest, fewest picks in franchise history

Assuming the Flames do not acquire any additional draft picks before the 2018 NHL Draft, they will not have any picks until the fourth round. This has never happened before.

In fact, the Flames have only had one season in which they had no draft picks in the first or second rounds: 2010, when they selected their first pick in the third round. Otherwise, every single year, they have had at least a first or a second rounder.

Their most recent draft without a first round pick came in 2015, when the Flames ended up with two second round picks to open up with. Prior to 2015 and 2010, you have to go as far back as 1989 to find a draft in which the Flames didn’t have a first round pick. Before then, 1982. Before then, well, you have to go back to when the Flames were in Atlanta.

The Flames have four picks in the 2018 draft. In both 1982 and 1989 they had 13 picks, so – in addition to being decades ago – they hold little relevance. In 2007, 2011, 2015, and 2017, the Flames have had only five picks: the fewest in their history, until potentially this season, if they choose to remain at four.

In other words, this isn’t totally new territory for a Flames draft, but it’s still pretty unique circumstances.

Of course, it’s not as though a first round pick guarantees a good player – the Flames have drafted their fair share of busts – nor does a lot of picks guarantee a lot of NHLers. But ultimately, the higher your pick the more likely they will turn out successful; and the more picks you have, the higher the likelihood you’ll get a player out of them.

2010 draft

In 2010, the Flames had six picks, starting in the third round:

  • Round 3, 64th overall: Max Reinhart
  • Round 3, 73rd overall: Joey Leach
  • Round 4, 103rd overall: John Ramage
  • Round 4, 108th overall: Bill Arnold
  • Round 5, 133rd overall: Micheal Ferland
  • Round 7, 193rd overall: Patrick Holland

Despite not selecting until 64th overall, the Flames did manage to find one NHLer in the late rounds: Ferland who, to date, has played 250 NHL games, scoring 42 goals and 89 points along the way. He’s proven himself at worst a reliable, physical depth player, and at best someone who can play on the top line – although maybe not as a full-time first liner.

It took Ferland five seasons to reach the NHL – six to become a full-timer – but in the end, the Flames got someone good out of a draft in which they had little chance.

2015 draft

In 2015, the Flames had five picks, starting in the second round:

  • Round 2, 53rd overall: Rasmus Andersson
  • Round 2, 60th overall: Oliver Kylington
  • Round 5, 136th overall: Pavel Karnaukhov
  • Round 6, 166th overall: Andrew Mangiapane
  • Round 7, 196th overall: Riley Bruce

With so few picks, the Flames had to make their selections count. It’s still too early to call, but between Andersson (11 NHL games played already, sure looks like he should be a full-timer much sooner rather than later), Kylington (one NHL game played, reportedly starting to knock on the door), and Mangiapane (10 NHL games played, also likely to be ready sooner rather than later as he’s lit up the AHL), this could turn out to be a very impressive draft for the Flames: even without a first rounder or many picks at all.

2007 draft

In 2007, the Flames only had five picks, and it was their first rounder that saved the year for them:

  • Round 1, 24th overall: Mikael Backlund
  • Round 3, 70th overall: John Negrin
  • Round 4, 116th overall: Keith Aulie
  • Round 5, 143rd overall: Mickey Renaud
  • Round 7, 186th overall: CJ Severyn

Backlund has established himself as one of the NHL’s premier shutdown centres, regularly taking on top competition and preventing them from getting much done, all the while scoring at least half a point per game over the past five years. Renaud, sadly, never had the chance to prove he could be more – but that caveat aside, the Flames were only able to make use of their best chance with few picks in 2007.

2011 draft

The Flames had just five picks in 2011, but they seemed to make them all count, to a degree:

  • Round 1, 13th overall: Sven Baertschi
  • Round 2, 45th overall: Markus Granlund
  • Round 2, 57th overall: Tyler Wotherspoon
  • Round 4, 104th overall: Johnny Gaudreau
  • Round 6, 164th overall: Laurent Brossoit

Everyone the Flames selected in this draft has played at least 28 games in the NHL, with Brossoit and Wotherspoon being on the lower end of things. No matter what else, though, Calgary got Gaudreau: an undeniable triumph, as a late round pick with few options available to them ended up turning into a first liner and team-leading scorer, and someone who is undeniably one of the most productive players of the entire draft class.

2017 draft

We’ve already covered 2015 up above. The Flames’ most recent draft, however, saw them have a scant few five picks:

  • Round 1, 16th overall: Juuso Valimaki
  • Round 4, 109th overall: Adam Ruzicka
  • Round 5, 140th overall: Zach Fischer
  • Round 6, 171st overall: D’Artagnan Joly
  • Round 7, 202nd overall: Filip Sveningsson

Having a first round pick aside, the 2017 draft bears a lot of similarities to what’s looking like will be the case in 2018: only four picks, and almost exclusively in the later rounds. While it’s still way too early to make any real call on any of these players, the best of the bunch – unsurprisingly – looks like it’ll be Valimaki, which, perhaps, bodes a little less well for the Flames’ 2018 draft.


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  • freethe flames

    If the Flames are going to build a winning organization we can’t have many more years like last year where we trade away draft picks and don’t make the playoffs. Some draft years are full of surprises both good and bad. Between now and the draft I for one don’t want us trading known assets for draft picks. Last year BT made a commitment for winning now and any trades he makes had better be made to make this team competitive now. So far the off season has been poor as he has not signed any NCAA, Euro, CHL FA who could fill the gap in not having draft picks.

  • freethe flames

    On a completely different topic. Are any of the writers going to do an article on what we learned form watching the playoffs?

    Here are a couple of my takes; Our top duo of Johnny/Monny are not as good as Washingtons but better than Vegas top duo.
    What we called our second line is no where close to either teams 2nd line. However if they are our 3rd line then we are fine.
    Our 3rd line is no where close and our 4th line is not even remotely in the same league. It’s clear we need some more higher end forwards and that would push some guys down to the correct usage. We could also use better depth at the bottom; especially at center. If it wasn’t apparent before the playoffs the importance of winning face offs if you want to be competitive it sure is now. Of course the other thing that stands out is the need to have quality goaltending; Smith is fine when he is healthy and on but I am not sold on either Rittich or Gilles; I don’t hate either but I would feel better with a more proven back up.

    • Rudy27

      One thing to keep in mind when judging what you see in the playoffs, later rounds in particular, is that everybody is giving 100% every shift. Guys who normally don’t block shots are sacrificing their bodies, and everyone has an extra gear. Even the two finalist don’t play at that level throughout the season. Otherwise they’d be burnt out by round one.

    • The Fall

      Dropping most players down a notch would be very beneficial. It requires trading for are signing a top line centre. Lets say Tavares for sake of argument.

      Tkachuck – John T – (scoring prospect: Mangie, Foo)
      Johnny – Sean – Ferl
      Sam – Backs – Frolic

      Honestly, this is the type of top 9 any team will need to compete with WSH, PIT, TBL, WNG, NSH, BOS

      • Kevin R

        Been preaching this for awhile. Our ticket to the playoffs is the ability to push Backlund/Frolik down to 3rd line. That is done by acquiring a high end centre for Tkachuk. If all Tre does is acquire RoR or Zibby this summer, I think it would be a successful summer. Anaheim maybe a target as well. They have always liked Bennett & they have Beauchimin & Bieska falling off the roster. Brodie & Bennett for Rakell & Silfverberg?

        How about Brouwer & Brodie for Cory Perry with Anaheim absorbing 2.0 mill of his salary. Lol he’s a dirty player but we sure need to add some nasty to the lineup.

  • Oil Spilly

    Lowest draft picks in franchise history!!!! Well at least the trades tre made giving away all those picks made you guys a Stanley cup contender ?? Or surely the flames must have acquired a stud d man or an offensive scoring fwd giving away all those picks.

  • Trevy

    Another learning experience for Treliving. It is what it is and you move on. They still might recoup a pick or two this year and if they don’t, we still managed to get Gawain and Foo for nothing. It was a gamble that didn’t pay off, losing those other picks. Every GM will make risky move hoping it’ll pay off. We’re still in good shape

    • freethe flames

      It’s this idea that “we’re in good shape” that frustrates me. We are a team that missed the playoffs 2 out 3 years and the year we made the playoffs we were a bubble team and got swept. If we don’t add some significant pieces we will remain a bubble team.While both Foo and Gawdin were free assets(we need a few more this off season) neither have significantly moved the needle; both may be important going forward but they both could be career AHLer’s. If you want this team to compete for the division title and the Stanley cup you have to realize that they are not good enough. Comparing them to teams that finished below us in the standings is hardly the standard I want to follow.

      • Trevy

        Adding significant pieces is easier said than done, takes two to dance and you know Treliving is always looking at deals, yet we scrutinize every deal he makes, criticizing that it wasn’t a slam dunk. As for the draft picks, they also may end up career AHLers, there’s no guarantees

    • Rudy27

      Considering some of the good picks we’ve had in the past couple of years, and having a young core, not having a top 2 round pick isn’t the end of the world. As it is, there are several young guys in the system that we are trying to find room for on the roster.

    • MDG1600

      Not sure about the rest of you fans but I want to see Calgary win a Stanley Cup. Stanley Cup contenders are built through the draft (unless your Vegas!) and I don’t think we can afford any more “learning experiences” by BT. You can’t have too many prospects because so few turn in to bona fide NHL’ers

      • freethe flames

        I too want to see our team win the Cup but to suggest the only way to build a champion is through drafting and development is not true. It is the cornerstone for building the core absolutely. But you need to make prudent trades that improve your teams area of weakness and to occassionally enter FA to meet other needs.

        • Justeen Trudope

          How can you say Calgary didn’t need Hamonic? There was a big hole in the top 4 going into last off-season and BT tried to address that. It also gave him more flexibility to make a trade this year. Could he got away without signing Stone sure, but giving Anderson another year in the AHL was not a bad thing. You cannot rush player development or you end up being like Edmonton. And your comment about championship teams being built through the draft if you look at Calgary’s roster it looks like they have done just fine building through the draft

  • Bigphatn-ts

    Even though they don’t have draft picks this year theyll have lots of rookies coming up this year (mange,RA, foo) and year after ( dube, valimaki) and the year after with fox if he signs here possibly phillips in there somewhere too and others im missing to supplement the lose of draft picks this year kylington should be coming up soon. ahl team probably gunna take the majority of the blow back from this, most likely for one season that can be supplemented by european and ncaa signings or couple veteran ahl guys. It’s just one draft.

    • Kevin R

      Dont count out Valamaki & Dube from making this team in the fall. Also having to have a team in China & one here in Calgary during training camp/exhibition games means some of these guys are going to get a lot more TOI & opportunity to make their case to staying.

      • freethe flames

        But don’t count on them making the team either. Trying to find the balance between hope and truth on our expectations is the key. Last year BT hoped the young forwards were going to step up and unfortunately they did not. The result was a lack of secondary scoring and misusing the Backs line. Should we see some progress from Bennett and Janko; I hope so. Will it be enough to make us contenders; maybe. Will one of the better forward prospects make a push; hopefully one of Mangiapane or Foo (I’m more hopeful around Mangiapane than Foo despite their results last year). That still leaves us with some huge gaps in our line up. Realistically I don’t find much hope in Lazar, Brouwer, or Hathaway having another level and I am worried that Frolik may be trending downward(I actually like Frolik’s overall game and I’m fine with Lazar as a 13th forward/4th liner b/c of his speed). I would love to see our own home grown guys make the difference but to think we do not need to add at least a couple of pieces is simply fooling ones’ self. This is what I believe BT did last year.

        • Jumping Jack Flash

          They need to ban PTOs… offers little value and muddies the waters. I think the organization needs to create a culture of “ win and your in” so the prospects feel that the have a genuine chance to win a spot. The situation with Jankowski last year sent the wrong message to all prospects.

          • freethe flames

            Yet the Washington Capitals had two PTO’s make their team and contribute to their playoff run and eventual Stanley Cup. Both Chiasson and Pelly I believ were PTO’s. A lot depends on who you invite and what role you expect them to play. As your 4th line RW and 13th forward they were well worth the risk. IMO PTO younger guys not guys past their prime like we have done the last few years.

  • Cheeky

    It’s time to take a chance with those in the organization (Ras, Kylington, Mange, Foo, Val, Dube, etc). Not all are going to make the team this year but give faith and patience with mistakes at first, that will make these guys worth it. No free agents, trade Stone and Brodie (recoup a pick and top 6 rw) and we will be in good shape with better coaching. Youth and speed is where it’s at these days….

    • BringtheFire 2.0

      Well, in this scenario we’ll have to count on two defensive prospects not only stepping up, but being really responsible and dependable right of the bat, and I’m not sure how likely that is. And without free agents, we have to rely on maturation of prospects in the forward ranks to go from -30 goals to +50, because one top 6 RW isn’t going to cut it. That’s a lot of prospects that have to pan out. Not only that, players are once again entering a new season with a new coach that coach has to earn their respect, teach new systems, and gain trust-all in camp-because a good start is so pivotal. Will this happen?

      We need to add, methinks, or this team’s chances are in peril.

      • Cheeky

        We do add, youth that is. We need to stay far away from the Brouwer’s, Bartowski’s and Glass’…honestly BTF who would you trust more, the prospects or these types I just mentioned (I know which way I’m choosing)? If we added say a Hoffman type (for Brodie), added 1 or 2 young forward propects who deserved to be here, Ras and either Val or Oliver (and if neither proves it after a few games, you can always sign (or trade for) one of many out of work Dman…and if Peters and co can get more out of Benny, Janko and Ferly, well then…

  • calgaryfan

    not a fan of trading draft picks, Hamonic was not worth all the picks, Treliving keeps saying he does not like trading picks but continues to do it. He needs to stop and build with the draft.

    • freethe flames

      There is a point where this is true; personally I think BT went all in for a lack of a better term two years to early. We needed one of Stone/Hammonic and needed to give Ras a chance. Once your team gets to be a true playoff team and have filled the cupboards then you can add via trades but we have yet to get there. Look at the weakness at RW and the lack of organizational depth at center. An alternative way of solving short term problems is short term FA deals but these need to be rather selective. This year IMO it’s obvious to me we need to add a RHC who can win face offs and can play 4th line minutes and it would be okay to sign either Beagle or Ryan to a 1 or 2 year deal but no longer; if they want more term than that you need to walk away and look elsewhere. I don’t want him to trade next years draft picks for old assets an organization cannot have two bad draft years in row or it gets stuck at the bottom for a long period of time.

      We need a top 6 RHS at forward and there are none available in FA; the top FA’s likely want term and money so no thank you. That leaves trying to trade our assets to fill that gap; we have discussed to death what we could afford to move and what we need; is there a match out there that is win/win as that is the only way a trade gets done. Time will tell.

  • Mickey O

    Seeing lots of talk about the team isn’t good enough the way it currently stands. That may well be, and some changes need to be made. But if you ask me, simply swapping the GG’s coaching Vegas and Calgary last year flips which teams make the playoffs.

    There is no way that Gulutzan and co. would have gotten Vegas into the playoffs. I’d also like to think that Gallant could have had last year’s Flames team still playing in May. Let’s give a brand new coaching staff a chance with the players and prospects that are coming before potentially blowing up the team.

  • Off the wall

    During my meandering on the internet yesterday, I came across articles that were interesting.

    Several of note, included Burke’s thoughts when he was a GM.
    He made the comments that many GM’s in the league (during his tenure) seldom protected their 1st overall picks when involved in trades.
    They lived and died by the sword, so to speak.

    He also remarked on Snow as a GM who would hang up on him, never to return his call if he didn’t like the offer. Of course that was when Burke was trying to land Tavares for Toronto.

    I’m purely speculating here, however might it be that Treliving not protecting our 1st for Hamonic was a combination of Burke and his involvement with Snow? To say they didn’t like each other is a understatement.

    Treliving has been great at finding diamonds late in the draft and I’m more confident in him as a GM now that Burke has moved on.

    We may not have a lot of picks this season, however what Treliving manages to find more often than not looks promising.

    We are fortunate ( in my opinion) to have Treliving. We could have a GM like Edmonton!!!!

    • freethe flames

      Very easy to ignore this view, but 2nd or third overall could help to fill a need; the question is how NHL ready are those picks. Personally I would prefer an NHL forward between the age 25-27. The reality of course is I don’t think either team needs what you are trying to sell.

        • freethe flames

          Carolina would not make this deal if for no other reason than cap issues; the new owner wants a budget team. Montreal is looking for centers at least that is what the rumors are; so again highly unlikely. I am not nearly as interested in the younger Tkachuk as many here are. BT has basically said he is not trading significant roster players for draft picks.