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Five things you need to know from Vancouver

The 2019 NHL Draft is upon us and the Calgary Flames have a reputation that precedes them. General manager Brad Treliving has a history of making big splashes at draft weekend, but is that on tap in Vancouver? Calgary selects 26th overall Friday night but some wonder whether that pick is in play. Here’s all you need to know about what’s happening on the west coast.

1. Don’t expect Calgary to move up from 26

“It seems like that would be hard for us,” Craig Conroy told me. “Talking to teams right now, everybody’s excited, they have their picks, and they kind of want to stand pat.”

It seems like moving up is harder to do every year for any team, but it looks particularly difficult from a Calgary perspective. Typically a team needs an abundance of top 60 picks to move higher up in the first round and that’s something the Flames just don’t have. After their first rounder, Calgary has picks in the third, fourth, fifth, and seventh rounds.

2. Is the first round pick in play elsewhere?

The Flames are in “win now” mode, which would suggest their first round pick would very much be a trade asset. And while it wouldn’t surprise anyone if Calgary were to move their 26th overall selection, it doesn’t sound like that is chiefly on the radar.

“Brad’s got a history,” Conroy said. “When he gets a call and walks out of the meeting, I think…all of the scouts look around. That’s one thing; the scouts always say if you can make our team better, that what we want to do. If there’s a player that it’s going to take a first round pick for to make the team better, then everybody’s on board with it. Brad’s looking at all options, he’s a wheeler (and) dealer, especially at this time of year.”

The Flames haven’t picked in the first round two of the last four years and have sent away numerous second rounders during that span, too. Conroy is certainly aware adding another first round talent to the organization is a tough opportunity to pass up.

“We need to make some picks too. We need to restock the cupboards and move forward, so unless something was to kind of wow you, I assume we’re going to make the first pick.”

3. The trade market is quiet…for now

Treliving has made significant trades his last four trips to the draft. That’s why so many are convinced he’s poised to make another splash in Vancouver, specifically after Calgary’s disappointing first round exit against Colorado. As of Thursday night, though, the trade market doesn’t sound so hot.

“Brad’s making calls and we’re doing it, but for some reason it just seems a little quieter this year,” Conroy said. “Not that it’s not going to heat up and maybe it heats up in ten minutes, but for the most part, Brad’s just working the phones but nothing real concrete coming from them. It’s a little low key usually for what we’re used to with Brad being at the helm.”

Even hearing that from Conroy, though, I don’t think anyone will be stunned if the Flames are the talk of the town at the end of the weekend.

4. Could Calgary pick a goalie in the first round?

U.S. National Development Team product Spencer Knight is the hot goaltending commodity right now and sounds like he’s on Calgary’s radar. Whether or not he’s available at 26 is another story. If he is, though, you can expect a very interesting discussion at the Flames’ draft table.

“We’ve got a list, we’ve got it in order,” said director of amateur scouting Tod Button. “I think we’ve finished one to 62 and the only thing that would come into play would be the goaltender. If there’s a goaltender at 26 who we think is available that we think is worth picking. We’ve talked it out and we think there is one. So then it’s just a philosophical decision on whether you take a goalie at that spot or not.”

In the end, that philosophical conversation is spearheaded by Treliving. If Knight is still on the board when it’s Calgary’s turn, it’ll be the GM making the final call.

“We have a separate list for goalies, but we have them slotted in where we would take them,” Button said. “Without taking the scouts off the hook, it would be Tree’s decision to take the goalie here or not take the goalie here.”

5. It’s a wide open field in the first round

If the Flames don’t go the goaltending route, they have a wide open field to choose from. According to Button, the field is essentially wide open for Calgary at 26th overall, which has made for some interesting debates around the table.

“Usually it’s an hour on who you think you’re going to pick, because you kind of got it done (earlier),” Conroy told me. “This year it was about three hours. It’s a grind and maybe, you know, which guys fits best for the team, what we’re trying to, do we take the best player…we’re going through a lot of scenarios.”

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  • Jobu

    No can do for tomorrow’s draft brews btw. Jobu has been assigned grocery duty.

    You’d think that being a demigod would remove you from such responsibilities, but alas… Jobu’s offerings aren’t as bountiful as they used to be.

    Have fun Nationers! Jobu will be with you in spirit. And will do his best to join up with you next time.

      • Em Durp Em Hrudey

        Nothing on Kreider….but I am still hopeful. He is what they need. He plays LW but if you watch him he scores alot from the right side. My wishlist lineup:

        • Rockmorton65

          The only adjustment I agree with is Lehner. Any other roster changes/additions make this team worse. I counted at least eight. I don’t think this configuration gets anything but a wild card spot.

          • BendingCorners

            Gio-Hanifin is an interesting idea. Perry I would stay away from – 34 and injury prone with a lot of hard miles on him.
            You seem to like putting players on their off-side; is there a reason for that?

          • Em Durp Em Hrudey

            I personally prefer playing on the off wing, being right handed I found myself more inclined to enter the offensive zone on the left side…..also found one timers easier on the off wing….and yes I was dyslexic when I typed this lineup. Concentrate on the players….more grit, more toughness, more skill, and more dirty grinder goals. We all know BP will shuffle them around anyways.

          • FlamesFan27

            Explanation of Trash – You think Bennett is a better centre than Backlund??? Where is Neal??? I would stay far, far away from Perry – he may make Neal look good.

          • Em Durp Em Hrudey

            Unfortunately the only way Neal goes is by way of buy out….and the defensive pairings can be swapped around. Those are just my personal top six choices if Brodie is moved.

          • KootenayFlamesFan

            Lindolm has a wicked one timer, and Johnny was lethal on the right side on the PP under Hartley.

            I would do Lindholm, Monahan, JH just to try it and see if it improves anything. If nothing else it may put johnny against defenders who aren’t so used to him and may give him some space – at least for a bit…

      • Em Durp Em Hrudey

        I would pay our first because …it’s the 26th which is no where near a guaranteed NHL player, Brodie and a fifth rounder for Kreider and the Rangers 2nd rounder (58th overall).

      • Getpucksdeep

        Unless they move a D defenseman thay have 4 guys averaging 5.5 now and Fox may play this season. I really can’t see it as a Brodie destination. Frolik won’t do it unless he’s bundled with a good young forward prospect like Mangapane or Dube. Even if you add a Jankowski it’s hard to say. New York could shed a defender by trade and open a door for Brodie.

    • Herringchoker1971

      I’m with you Everton, bring Ferly back to help finish this. Move Benny back to second line Center and run a line of Chuck, Benny and Ferly. Move Backlund to 3rd line center with Janko Backlund and Neal. There is our size issue solved.

  • freethe flames

    So basically anything can happen. Still hoping that he gets some of his business done so that he adds both picks, cap space and a RW; but the truth is there needs to be a partner to get things done.

  • Flamesforever

    Listening to Tod Button today makes me think the Flames are all in on Knight if he is still there at 26. I like it. Take a big swing and see what happens.

  • everton fc

    I just read the Leafs are taking offers on Kapanen and Kadri. They want a defenceman and a centre coming their way.

    Brodie/Jankowski – Kapanen/Kadri. ???

    I could see the Leafs wanting Brodie/Bennett for Kapanen/Kadri.

    There was also a write up about Kapanen and Connor Brown for Brett Pesce in Carolina. That’s a lot, for Pesce. Whether these rumours are true – who knows? But the name “Kapanen” also interest me.

  • everton fc

    On Kreider;

    Why do they want to move Kreider? This is the key, to what they’ll ask for. But they have some cap space. Kreider’s only 27, and their second leading scorer – and East Coast guy, who would probably prefer to stay close to home. I don’t see the Rangers moving him. They need more scoring, having lost Zuccarello and Hayes.

    One thing the Rangers don’t need are defencemen.

    Vessey and Buchnevich will be moved, first. I think Frolik’s more valuable, than both, in terms of our team. Vessey’s probably reached his ceiling. Buchnevich scores 21 goals, playing a lot of minutes on the 4th line, at times. He’s a 24 years old RW, who put on 20 pounds since the beginning of last season. He interests me.

    • Em Durp Em Hrudey

      Kreider is a UFA after this season and his cap friendly contract will go bye bye. I think he is the type of player this team needs to win now. TSN has reported he is possibly available which warms the cockles of my heart.

      • Albertabeef

        Kreider would be a third line guy on the Flames and would turn into another Brouwer-Neal Dodo bird. He is 28 now and will be 29 as a UFA next July who would probably not be re-signed and would therefore be a waste of assets. No thanks.

        • Kevin R

          I would be fine with Kreider if one of our 1 year to UFA’s go back with maybe a minor tweak. Rangers have been gifted enough, I am not feeling too generous toward them.

      • freethe flames

        The thing with Kreider is that while he would be a very good add b/c he is a UFA at the end of the year he is not the ideal add. The good thing is that if he does not work out and helps take us to the promised land he could be a valuable asset at the TDL. That goes for whoever gets TJ or Frolik. Their value at the TDL might get the team more than they payed to get them at this point.

      • The GREAT WW

        Let’s hope so; let’s hope another team makes this mistake.

        I don’t think BT is interested in Knight; he wouldn’t have Connie or Button talking about it.
        He is way too smart for that….


        • BigChefJeff

          Hate to break it to you, but the 25 teams picking before Calgary do not care who Calgary wants to take. Sending Conroy and Button out on a misinformation campaign achieves absolutely nothing. I don’t think he lasts until 26, and he certainly won’t be around until those teams get to pick again. No one is thinking “Oh shoot Calgary is gonna take Knight, we should take him instead of this other guy we have higher on our list.” Come on now.

          You’re probably not going to find more upside at 26 than with Knight. Consensus top goalie prospect, and best goalie prospect in years. There is a reason he is projected to go so high. There is more risk with goalies because they take longer to develop and thus there is a greater chance they hit a road block in that development. But the potential is undeniable. If none of the big guys slide, I think you have to take Knight. Flames have no grade A prospects, and those are hard to get at the end of the 1st round. In my opinion, take a swing at the guy with the highest upside. A potential franchise goalie, even if riskier, is a better bet than taking a forward who will probably at best end up as bottom 6 but is a safe bet to actually play.