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Photo Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Historically, Flames do pretty well in the fourth round

The Calgary Flames are heading into Vancouver next weekend for the 2019 NHL Draft with five picks at their disposal. The good news is that they still have a selection in the fourth round because, during Tod Button’s tenure, they’ve been pretty effective at finding NHLers in that round.

The lean years

Things started out rough for Button’s scouting staff regarding their fourths:

  • in 2002 the Flames drafted Yuri Artemenkov (112th overall), who never left Russia.
  • In 2003 they selected Jamie Tardif at 112th; he never signed, but he ended up playing pro for awhile and played two NHL games with Boston one season.
  • In 2004 they had two picks: Aki Seitsonen (118th) and Kris Hogg (121st). Seitsonen played pro in the Flames organization but never progressed past the ECHL level. Hogg never signed, went to Canadian university and then bounced around minor pro.
  • 2005 pick J.D. Watt (111th) signed and was decent enough AHL depth, but disagreements with Flames management led to his contract being terminated and him bouncing around minor pro.
  • 2006 pick Hugo Carpentier (118th) played his entry-level deal with the Flames to little fanfare, then went back to Quebec to play in the semi-pro LNAH league. (He’s still playing there.)

These guys combined for two NHL games.

Then they found some NHLers

The Flames had a two season hot streak in 2007 and 2008, grabbing two pretty good assets.

2007 saw the Flames take Keith Aulie at 116th overall. He developed into a strong AHL defender, then was traded to Toronto in the Dion Phaneuf trade. He bounced between the NHL and AHL with Toronto, Tampa and Edmonton, and he’s still playing in Europe. 2008 saw the Flames take Nick Larson at 108th. He never signed. But at 114th they found TJ Brodie, who did sign and has played over 500 games for the franchise.

The 2009 and 2010 drafts weren’t amazing. Henrik Bjorklund, their 111th pick in 2009, never signed but has been a consistently productive Swedish player – and his name is amazing. 2010 picks John Ramage (103th) and Bill Arnold (108th) both signed and played NHL games right out of college, but neither amounted to much and weren’t kept on once they finished their ELCs.

Johnny Gaudreau, taken 104th in 2011, is up there with Theoren Fleury as one of the best value picks the franchise has ever made. Selected as a small person who scored a lot in the USHL, he’s matured into… a small person who scores a lot in the NHL. He’s producing at just shy of a point-per-game clip after nearly 400 games. 2012 pick Brett Kulak wasn’t nearly as successful as Gaudreau, but he played NHL games and was able to step in and contribute during a period where the Flames needed to let Rasmus Andersson and Oliver Kylington mature in the minors. Kulak’s play allowed them that time to not rush their top prospects.

The wait and see picks

Linus Lindstrom (96th overall in 2016) remains in Sweden under contract with IK Oskarshamn for the 2019-20 season, at which point he seems like a good contender to migrate to North America.

Adam Ruzicka (109th in 2017) and Martin Pospisil (105th in 2018) have signed their ELCs and will debut with the Stockton Heat (most likely) in 2019-20.

Demetrious Koumontzis (108th in 2018) is returning to Arizona State University for his sophomore season after helping his team make the NCAA’s championship tournament for the first time in their history. Milos Roman (122nd in 2018) is likely returning to the Vancouver Giants for his overage year after helping his team make it to the WHL’s championship series – though they lost in seven games to the powerhouse Prince Albert Raiders.

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  • Franko J

    Gaudreau in the fourth round was a great pick for the Flames organization.
    Just proves how unpredictable the draft is. All in all the Flames draft class of 2011 is probably one their better ones with three players playing over 250 games and one their picks which is a goaltender just starting get in some playing time.
    I know it is 20/20 hindsight, image if the Flames decided on Kucherov instead of Wotherspoon?

  • Skylardog

    Anyone up for beers on Friday during the draft. Not much Flames going on in round 1…then again there could be whole Flames happening. It could make for a good night out.

    Free suggested the idea last week and it got me thinking.

  • freethe flames

    Just so people know that between 2010 and 2016 that @7% of 4th rounders have made for themselves a professional career. Note I do not include the 17 or 18 draft numbers because the time period is to short to access, also it is likely that the 2016 class will have some guys who become late bloomers. I’v explained my methodology before; games played in the NHL and I started with 300 for the guys drafted in 2010 as a starting point for being NHLers and reduced the numbers by 30 a year to roughly gauge success. 2010 44 players, 2011 42, 2012 47, 2013 30, 2014 29, 2015 25, 2016 15. Again the last couple of years will likely go up because of late bloomers.

    • BendingCorners

      Looks like it is based on expected future performance. Less than his last contract and actual dollars decrease year by year.
      Might not mean much though; Hagelin likely wanted to stay and might also have become one of those UFA that sit unsigned till October. The ones in higher demand will still command a premium and be overpaid.

  • rakilla

    Is anyone else mildly concerned after watching the playoffs… that the Flames don’t have enough players with the right combination of speed/skill/TOUGHNESS that the players on the bruins or the blues had? Watching the board battles, all I kept thinking was…wow our top 6 guys have no business being in this. I’m not a troll, just genuinely concerned that perhaps we don’t have the right type of players in our top 6 to win a Stanely Cup. We’d do well in the regular season and maybe 1st round, but I don’t see the Flames (as is) winning a championship with the make-up of the roster, particularly the top 6.

    • freethe flames

      This has been much of the conversation on this site since the first round loss. Teams need a balance between skill and grit. Adding the right pieces would help. The question is how to do so at this time of the year. Many of us have suggested some deals that might address the issue and I am pretty confident that BT and his staff have also discussed this very issue.

  • freethe flames

    So in reading on a different site; sounds like Ottawa would like to move Boedeker 1x$4 and his 35 points. Would people think Neal and #26 for Boedeker and #44 would be a deal that gets it done?