Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Can the Flames get back into the first round?

The question above is the one many will be asking about Calgary as they head into the 2018 NHL Draft later this month. You can also ask the same question about the second round…and the third round. Yep, as it stands right now, the Flames don’t pick until the fourth round, 105th overall, and would love nothing more to change that. But how can they make that happen?


If Calgary is going to move back into the first three rounds of the draft, they’ll likely have to part with a roster player. For a move back into the first round specifically, we’re talking about a somewhat significant player, too.

Unfortunately, the trade bait names that come to mind immediately probably wouldn’t be netting the Flames a top 31 pick in return. Maybe I’m wrong, but I can’t see any one of Sam Bennett, Micheal Ferland, TJ Brodie, or Michael Stone commanding anything in the first round, so we’ll have to broaden our spectrum for the sake of this conversation.

It’s likely going to take a more significant name for Calgary to really have a shot at drafting on Friday night. While first rounders are tossed around a little more nonchalant with the season underway, they’re a whole lot more difficult to pry away around draft time. Take a look at what it’s taken in recent years.

Year Team Assets sent Team Assets sent
2017 Arizona Coyotes 1st round pick (7th overall)
D Anthony DeAngelo
New York Rangers C Derek Stepan
G Antti Raanta
2017 St. Louis Blues 1st round pick (27th overall)
Conditional 2018 1st round pick
C Jori Lehtera
Philadelphia Flyers C Brayden Schenn
2015 Los Angeles Kings 1st round pick (13th overall)
G Martin Jones
D Colin Miller
Boston Bruins LW Milan Lucic
2015 Calgary Flames 1st round pick (15th overall)
2nd round pick (45th overall)
2nd round pick (52nd overall)
Boston Bruins D Dougie Hamilton
2015 Edmonton Oilers 1st round pick (16th overall)
2nd round pick (33rd overall)
New York Islanders D Griffin Reinhart
2014 Anaheim Ducks 1st round pick (24th overall)
3rd round pick (85th overall)
C Nick Bonino
D Luca Sbisa
Vancouver Canucks C Ryan Kesler
2015 3rd round pick
2013 New Jersey Devils 1st round pick (9th overall) Vancouver Canucks G Cory Schneider

Above is a rundown of all the first round picks swapped to another team at the last five drafts, not including “move up/move down” deals. Aside from the obvious Griffin Reinhart outlier (puke emoji), we’re talking about extremely steep prices to acquire a top 31 pick flush without sending one the other way to swap spots. Even LA’s Lucic acquisition in 2015 wasn’t a huge reach; he was still an impact player and had 55 points in his one season after being acquired by the Kings.

Sure, if the Flames are able to swindle a team like how the Islanders duped the Oilers (let’s not forget that first round pick turned into Mathew Barzal), go right ahead! The chances of that happening are slim to none, though.

Realistically, the players that could net Calgary a Friday night pick (or more) have first names like Dougie, Sean, Johnny, or Matthew. Sure, first round picks are nice, but for the price of a core player? Maybe that makes sense on a resetting team, but it seems like a silly price for the Flames to pay just so they can draft in round number one.

Seeing Calgary get back into the second or third round seems a little more sensible, however. While I don’t think Brodie on his own could fetch a first round pick, it’s not totally crazy to think a second or third round pick is possible. Brodie for a third rounder and a decent forward? Brodie and Bennett for a second round selection and a good forward? These are the things that sound a whole lot more realistic.


Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s assume the Flames are hellbent on getting back into the first round for just a second and are willing to pay the high price to do so. The whole concept seems counterintuitive to me knowing the moves made by general manager Brad Treliving over the last few years.

Treliving depleted his stable of picks in deals for Hamilton, Stone, Mike Smith, and Travis Hamonic. These deals were made in an attempt to help Calgary win now with very little eye to the future, with the exception of the Hamilton trade. It would be strange to see them make a deal in an opposite vain after one disappointing season.

Even though I think it would be a massive mistake, the concept of moving Hamilton is not a new one. I’ll grant you this: he’d probably fetch the Flames significantly more than what they paid to get him. A couple picks, including a first, and a good, young forward in return sounds realistic, especially at the draft.

I wouldn’t do it for many reasons, but chiefly because there isn’t an abundance of elite right-shot defencemen in this world. Hamilton is just that and will be 25 next season; these are the types of players you win with longterm, not trade away after three seasons.

In saying that, at least a trade like the one speculated above would be a little less of a departure from the team’s current course. If Calgary were to make a trade that allows them to address an area of need, like a top six winger, AND nets them a 2018 draft pick in return, I guess you can see where it makes sense.

A trade involving an important roster player that only sees a pick, or picks, coming back the other way would be very strange, though. The Flames have made moves for two seasons in an attempt to win now. Why abandon that plan while the window looks to be just opening?


If Calgary really wants to get back into the first round of this month’s draft they can, if they’re willing to pay the historically steep price. But that’s what this conversation all comes down to. The Flames have to decide whether it makes sense to part ways with a meaningful asset to regain a pick inside the top 31.

For me, the decision would be an easy no, unless Treliving is able to negotiate a price much lower than what we’ve seen in recent years. Otherwise, the risk doesn’t seem to outweigh the reward.


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  • Garry T

    Tre, please call Denver to see what it would take to obtain Mikko Rantanen, Finn, right wing right shot, budding power forward who is going to score, score and score some more. If they are hesitant, ask whether they are going to sign Bernier. If not, say lets go back to talking about Rantanen and if a deal can get done, say we’ll give you Hathaway, a real good s. Disturber as a thank you for helping us out on Rantanen. He goes on first line with Monny and Johnny and then watch for the fireworks. Call em up Tre. We could use this guy. Get Grabner in free agency and play him with Frolik and Backlund and make them a scoring line. Line 3 is Tkachuk Jankowski and either Ferland or Mangiapane. Line 4 is Shore between Klimchuck and Foo.
    Call STL and see if they want Brower back with us looking after 40 percent of his salary over next 2 years. Get us Rantanen please .!

  • Vernon30

    I’m in the camp that a 1B goalie is a need. I got laughed off of social media for suggesting this (non-Flames site, misinformed non-Flames fans), but going into next year with a 37 year-old starter and an, although promising, very green backup, in Rittich, would be a huge risk. Would the Caps do Grubauer for Brodie, straight up? Is that an over pay? Under pay? Would they even need a top-4 D?

    • supra steve

      Smith won’t be 37 till March 2019, so you’d actually be “going into next year with a (36) year-old starter”.

      A younger 1B would be great, I’m just not sure it’s a luxury the club can afford at this point. I think the priority is for RH forward depth.

    • FL?MES

      This talk is getting crazy now. No way, no how.

      To trade Valimaki now is guaranteed to be a loss. We need to gradually move out the vets and improve our forward ranks that way. Ras, Valimaki, and maybe Fox and Kylington are the future.

        • The GREAT WW

          Yah; let’s trade for another shrimp on our team, for a future first pairing D!!!?
          Our top line will be could be:

          This is the worst trade proposal I have heard in forever….


          • TriPPiNvdUb

            Lol could you be anymore dramatic?

            Gallagher doesn’t play like a shrimp, more like a bull. He’s a 26 years old right hand shot just entering his prime who put up 35 goals last season. So if not Valimaki, what about Fox or Anderson in his place?

          • FL?MES

            It’s the weekend. Aren’t you supposed to be drinking and not thinking?

            I may disagree with you at times but I get you and see your angle. You can be frustratingly annoying at times but I can’t say you’re wrong. It’s time me for this team to stand up and assert themselves. This is getting tiring.

  • Franko J

    The Flames may have the assets to get back in the first round, however I cannot see a scenario where it actually benefits the Flames to make that kind of move. For one this team is the “now” mode. While there are some tantalizing prospects available in the first round, realistically how many are ready to step into the NHL next fall and contribute significantly to the Flames fortunes? For example, by trading a proven commodity such as a Brodie or Hamilton for an unknown prospect such as Tkachuk {just hypothetically speaking} really doesn’t make the team any stronger. After trading away first and second round picks for Hamonic, and the team not making the playoffs last season probably has made Treliving a little more cautious in trading away assets for unpredictable results.

  • Hotwing

    Bennett may never turn out to be the guy we hoped… BUT HE IS ONLY 21!!! No way in H-E-DOUBLE-HOCKEY-STICKS we should trade him for a 2nd rounder… no way for a mid 1st rounder. Flames need grit, talent, youth and speed… Sam has those assets. He is too young to throw in the trash… maybe he never is more than a 35 pt guy… but I think he still has loads of potential at 21. Not saying he is Mark Scheifele… but Schiiflele didn’t break 35 pts per year until he was 22 (when he went from 35 to 49). Trading Bennett now is crazy.

    Brodie is older.. but only a 27 year old D. Selling low at this point in time makes no sense. Move him back to the LD.

    Hamilton should fetch a very good return > Hamilton and Fox for > Nylander, the Leafs 1st and Kapanen > Then Buy-out Troy > and THEN sign free agent D-man John Carlson for 8M. To get JC… more cap space may need to happen… Frolic is expendable (for a 2nd rd pick) with Kapanen in the fold.

    Johnny, Mon, Nylander
    Tkachuk, Mark J, Kapanen
    Bennett, Backland, Ferland
    (Lazar, Hath, Dube), Shore, Foo

    Kulak, Carlson
    Gio, Hamonic
    Anderson, Brodie


    • freethe flames

      Using age to justify not trading someone is just silly IMO; I have no idea what Same will be maybe he finds his game maybe he is a bust like Yakipov. Maybe we get another 21 year back who is better maybe a proven 25 year old that meets our needs. One never knows. I agree that you can’t give him away but if he is part of a deal that makes us better for a number of years you have to consider. By the way Brodie is already playing LD and what you want is him to do is play RD.

  • McRib

    “Sure, if the Flames are able to swindle a team like how the Islanders duped the Oilers”

    The Islanders duped not only the Oilers…. but they did it again with the Flames!! Take off the rose coloured glasses for a moment. Travis Hamonic scored ONE GOAL last year on a team desperately starved for offence, if you can’t score more than one goal you are not a Top. 4 defender in today’s NHL where offense from the blue line is essential.

    The reason why the Flames can’t get back a first rounder is you DON’T trade first rounders in today’s game they’re much to valuable, especially Top. 12 Picks. If the Islanders draft someone like Ty Smith with that pick he legitimate could be three times the defenseman as Hamonic in two or three years max. The thing that gases me is we also gave away two second rounders on top of it, I could almost live with just giving away a first or two second, not both. In two years time we very likely will be saying the same thing with Ty Smith or Joel Farabee when they’re dominating for NYI. Just look at Valimaki he’ll be light years ahead of Hamonic in two years tops, likely by the end of next season. No more trading Top. 20 picks pleases

    • TurkeyLips

      Hamonic was an overpay. Yet he provided the team with something it desperately needed – size and grit on the back end. We have skillful defense, but they can be pushovers at times, whereas Hamonic at least has some snarl around the net. He is a stay at home defenseman and should be treated as such. They still have use in today’s game.

      Having a surplus of defense is also going to make trading a whole lot easier for Tre this summer. We can trade literally anybody from our top four and still be fine, that is some extremely useful leverage – arguably more than a first round pick would allow for. If Treliving finds a trading partner willing to dance then we can potentially acquire some critical help in our forward top six. We need a centreman or right winger that can score and we need him now.

      • freethe flames

        I agree with you that we should be able to trade one of our top 4 D to get that needed top 6 RHS forward but who do you see as a legit trading partner?