Photo Credit: courtesy Calgary Flames/NHL Media

Flames recent third round picks have been very hit or miss

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 hits

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 misses

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.

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  • Budgie

    To heck with third round picks Philedelphia would love to have Johnny Hockey, get Philly’s no. 11 pick, give them the 26th. pick, take Coutier and one of their top prospects-Lindblom, Frost, or Ratcliffe. Then see if anyone will give you a first round pick for Brodie-maybe Brodie to Philly for another piece(s)

    • Garry T

      Johnny is better moved for either of the New Jersey or Rangers picks this year. You keep your 26 and get either teams first or second. You also get 2 2nd rounders for Johnny from either NJ or NYR. Sorry to disagree but you are under valuing Johnny.

      • Budgie

        With Coutier salary 4.3 million 3yrs left-76 points-40 hits
        Gadreau salary 6.75 million 3yrs 99 points 12 hits
        free up some money to pay a prospect-Coutier is solid both 26 yrs. old

        • Getpucksdeep

          40 hits is nothing. Good physical style players average 150 hits per season. 40 hits IS no better than Gaudreau’s 12. Except you’d want more from Coutier and never expect more from a player as small as Guadreau.

          • Budgie

            Colorado’s top line beat Calgary, the difference was the size of their top line and speed. They over-powered Gadreau, Monahan, and Lindholm. Rantanen, Landeskog, and MacKinnon completely dominated even when Tkachuk was put on Calgary’s top line. Calgary’s top line had 4 goals, Colorado’s-9 goals. Watching the games I thought that Calgary faced a hot goalie and a bigger and faster Colorado top line.

        • Tkachuk'sLisp

          Adding hits to a comparison with Johnny makes no sense. Couturier is 6 inches taller, almost 50 lbs heavier and just recently scored 76 points in back-to-back seasons. Prior to that, his career high was 39. Johnny hasn’t scored less than 60 in his five seasons in the league.

          • Budgie

            The need is for size in the playoffs, Colorado showed Calgary the importance of size. If Philadelphia included a prospect like Frost I’d do it. Move to no. 11-possibilities of moving higher with another deal

          • Tkachuk'sLisp


            Unfortunately I guess the reply chain is too long for me to directly reply to your message but look at a team like the Bruins. They aren’t big. They’re team average is the exact same as the Flames. You don’t need big bruisers to be successful, you just need guys that are willing to play the body. Johnny is what he is and if we as fans are relying on him to hit people and not guys like Monahan, Lindholm, Tkachuk, Neal, and I’ll even throw in Frolik then we’re never going to be satisfied with him.

            I’m far more concerned that the guys I mentioned did absolutely nothing to answer the bell. Would be interested to see how much of a game changer Monahan could be if he threw his body around at all.

          • Baalzamon

            Colorado showed Calgary the importance of size.

            Actually no, they didn’t. Calgary has a taller roster than Colorado does, and the Flames also SIGNIFICANTLY out-hit them in that series. The Flames lost because they were out-skated and out-coached. Size and physical play had nothing to do with anything, and I have no idea where that narrative came from.

  • freethe flames

    Continuing on with my silly numbers; what has been the Flames success rate between 2010 and 2016. First round 7 picks for meet the threshold of success and 1 is trending that way; two fails. 2nd round 9 picks 1 success, two trending, 2 too early to decide and 4 failures. Round 3 5 picks; 0 success, 1 trending the right direction 4 failures. Round 4 5 picks, 1 success, 1 trending that way, 2 failures 1 question mark. Round 5; 5 picks 1 success, 3 failure 1?, Round 6 5 picks 0 success. 1 trending 4 failures. Round 7 6 picks 6 failures. So comparing to league averages and including the trending forward as positives here is the breakdown:
    Round NHL% Flames average
    1 63 71
    2 17 33
    3 9 20
    4 7 40
    5 7 20
    6 3 20
    7 2 0

    What does any of these mean. That generally the Flames are slightly better at getting it right than the average in most rounds but one thing I will say is that when they get in wrong they really get it wrong. 2013 and 2014 drafts out of 15 picks only the 2 first rounders have become NHL players. 2016 only 1 has arrived and the rest are still question marks.

    • freethe flames

      Drafting at the 26 spot from 2010-2016 5/7 have been NHL success stories for games played. At the 88 spot none of them have made the mark but 2 have some sort of NHL presence most notably Binnington from 2011 draft; 8 years from his draft before he became an NHL goalie and people want to give up on our guys.

      • deantheraven

        Draft rankings, no matter how many speculators agree, while based on stats/results is still totally subjective. Tre has made it policy to look at hockey sense and competitiveness before all other criteria. History will prove him right. Look at the two rosters in the finals right now and compare.

        • freethe flames

          deantheraven; absolutely drafting is subjective; choosing the best available player is very subjective when players all fit on the same shelf. My purpose for all the stats was 1. I was bored and nothing was being written so I filled some space. 2. It gives a general idea that the draft past the 1st round is pretty much a crap shoot. At 26 the Flames most likely draft a real NHL prospect and in the 3rd round at 88 most unlikely.

  • BendingCorners

    Tyler Myers is a UFA, RHD D. Trade Brodie for picks, buy out Stone, sign Myers? Most of the D depth is on the left so this might help. Should also leave an extra 1MM in available cap space, or more, when it is done.

  • freethe flames

    Here are some more results:
    Year 1st round 2nd Round
    2010 24 15
    2011 23 18
    2012 25 9
    2013 24 12
    2014 22 4

    All numbers are based upon 95 or more games played. Statistically about 2/3 of first rounders make the NHL as regulars, @1/2 of second rounders adn @1/3 of third rounders. Some years are little stronger than others.

  • freethe flames

    MOre numbers:
    2015 21 first rounder 5 second rounder(3 more with 80 or more) 1 third r
    2016 11 first rounder 2 seconders 0 third rounders
    2017 2 first rounders 7 seconders with 50 plus games.

  • freethe flames

    With only 5 picks BT and his staff need to get a lot of things right. They can’t afford to draft guys they don’t sign. Less than 2 weeks to get things done if they want more picks.

  • Baalzamon

    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.

    That was Keith Aulie.

  • freethe flames

    Since 2010 here are stats on the third round: from the 2010 draft 7 players have played over 100 games, 2011 10 players, 2012 12 players, 2013 8(9 1 is at 97 games), 2013 9, 2014 1 with 3 around 80 games. What that tells you is that less than 1/3 of third rounders have a significant chance of having a significant NHL career.

  • freethe flames

    Flames draft record between 2010 and 2016, first rounders 5/7 over 100 games 1 traded away, 2nd rounders 2/9 1 traded away, 3rd rounders 0/4. In the later rounds we seem to better.

  • freethe flames

    The draft is a crap shoot. I just did some more numbers. I looked at the drafts from 2010-2016. I started with the assumption that to be considered an NHL player you to average 30 games a year. So a player drafted in 2010 needed to have @300 games in to be considered a successful draft pick to this point. I took a few liberties on some players who may be a little lower but their recent trend has been over 30 games a season. Here’s my raw results: @67% of first rounder turn out to NHLers. 2nd round 17%. 3rd round 9%. 4th and 5th 7%, 6th round 3%. 7th round 2%.
    After the first round drafting 17 years olds and protecting who will make a successful NHL player is indeed a crap shoot.

  • deantheraven

    Not sure who that is in the photo. Either a) shame on me for not recognizing a famous face or b) shame on Pike for not giving credit. But damn, if the mystery man doesn’t look a lot like a young Joel Otto. Wonder if we’ll see BT draft another one like that.