In recent years, the Calgary Flames have had better luck with their drafting in the first two rounds of the NHL Draft than they had in the decade prior. That’s great news, but their drafting in the third round has been rather hit and miss over the past couple decades.
As with our prior analyses of Flames drafting, we’re focusing on picks made during the tenure of head amateur scout Tod Button (beginning with 2002).
Traded picks away
The Flames didn’t have a third round pick in 2011 because they traded it to Edmonton in the Steve Staios trade. They bundled a pair of third rounders together in a trade with Arizona in 2015 to trade up to draft Oliver Kylington. Their 2017 third rounder went to Arizona in the Michael Stone trade, while their 2018 third rounder went to Arizona in the Mike Smith trade.
Aside from Staios, you can make a good argument that the Flames got some decent value out of trading away these picks.
The Flames went on a minor heater regarding third round picks early in Button’s tenure. Matthew Lombardi (90th overall in 2002) was a solid pick-up and he played 347 games for the Flames before he was flipped for Olli Jokinen at the 2009 trade deadline. Brandon Prust (70th overall in 2004) was pushing for full-time duty with the Flames when he was also included in the aforementioned Jokinen deal – he was eventually re-acquired and then traded again prior to the 2010 trade deadline, becoming the only player in franchise history to be traded away twice in a single year. Dustin Boyd (98th overall in 2004) didn’t have nearly as dramatic a tenure as Lombardi or Prust, but he still played nearly 200 games in red before being traded to Nashville.
The “hits” thin out from here. John Negrin (70th overall in 2007) was pushing for an NHL job when he was lumped into the Dion Phaneuf trade to Toronto and so he was at least a useful asset. Lance Bouma (78th overall in 2008) was a pretty functional depth player and played over 300 games with the franchise, but he plateaued pretty quickly and was eventually bought out.
Recently, goaltender Jon Gillies (78th overall in 2012) has played NHL games and could still push for full-time work, while Brandon Hickey (64th overall in 2014) and Adam Fox (66th overall in 2016) became valuable enough assets that they were able to be put into trades that landed the Flames Mike Smith, Elias Lindholm and Noah Hanifin.
The Flames have made a few picks in the third round that didn’t turn out (and didn’t allow the players the team selected to develop into useful trade chips, either).
- Ryan Donally (97th overall in 2003) – Signed his entry-level deal but spent the first year as an overager in junior (not a good sign) and then most of the remaining two seasons in the ECHL, leading to him not being given a qualifying offer.
- Gord Baldwin (69th overall in 2005) – Signed his entry-level deal and then given another year after that, but never progressed beyond useful AHL depth.
- Dan Ryder (74th overall in 2005) – Ryder had some unfortunate personal problems – including mental illness – that limited him to just 29 pro games under his entry-level deal before his contract was terminated by the Flames.
- John Armstrong (87th overall in 2006) – Like Baldwin, Armstrong was signed and played pro but never progressed beyond the level of being useful AHL depth.
- Aaron Marvin (89th overall in 2006) – Never signed.
- Ryan Howse (74th overall in 2009) – Signed an entry-level deal but struggled with fitness and consistency. Eventually left the AHL team and had his contract terminated.
- Max Reinhart (64th overall in 2010) – Signed an entry-level deal but never progressed beyond being useful AHL depth. Was traded to Nashville for a conditional seventh round pick, but the conditions weren’t met so the Predators effectively got him for free.
- Joey Leach (73rd overall in 2010) – Never signed.
- Keegan Kanzig (67th overall in 2013) – Signed an entry-level deal but spent first year in WHL as an overager and most of second year in ECHL. Ended up being traded to Carolina as part of deal that landed Flames Eddie Lack. You could say Kanzig became an asset in a technical sense, but the whole trade was a dog’s breakfast.
Based on the results the Flames have had in the third round, even with the players that became assets or pro players from that round, you can kind of understand why they’ve been eager to trade them over the past few seasons.
The Flames are slated to select 88th overall in the upcoming 2019 NHL Draft and will hope to buck the trend of disappointing selections in the third round.