74Dustin Wolf
Photo Credit: Chris Mast/Everett Silvertips

Flames goalie draft picks: a retrospective (of misery)

Since 2013, the Calgary Flames have used 12 different goaltenders that they’ve acquired from outside of their developmental system. The big reason for that is, to be blunt, they’ve been really horrible at drafting and developing goaltenders since basically forever.

Dustin Wolf is absolutely killing it in the Western Hockey League. He may finally break a decades-long dry spell for drafted netminders. Here’s a brief snapshot – broken down by general manager – of the Flames’ struggles finding puck-stoppers in the NHL Draft.

The Cliff Fletcher years (in Atlanta)

Draft Goalie Round Pick Flames GP NHL GP
1972 Frank Blum 6 82 0 0
1974 Bill Moen 6 100 0 0
1975 Nick Sanza 9 150 0 0
1975 Brian O’Connell 10 167 0 0
1976 Mark Earp 5 82 0 0
1977 Jim Craig 4 72 4 30
1978 Tim Bernhardt 3 47 6 67
1978 Bernhard Englbrecht 12 196 0 0
1979 Pat Riggin 2 33 119 350

The Atlanta years featured a skew towards late picks and very few successes – except for the fabulously-named Bernhard Englbrecht. They went for a few early picks and managed to get Miracle on Ice netminder Jim Craig and the pretty decent Pat Riggin, but there are no home runs here.

The Cliff Fletcher years (in Calgary)

Draft Goalie Round Pick Flames GP NHL GP
1981 Mike Vernon 3 56 527 782
1982 Dave Meszaros 4 65 0 0
1983 Grant Blair 6 111 0 0
1983 Jeff Hogg 7 131 0 0
1986 Scott Sharples 9 184 1 1
1988 Jason Muzzatti 1 21 2 62
1990 Trevor Kidd 1 11 178 387
1990 Shawn Murray 8 167 0 0

The good news: they got Vernon and Kidd! The bad news: that’s it. Jason Muzzatti represents one of the franchise’s big drafting whiffs of the Fletcher era.

The Doug Risebrough years

Draft Goalie Round Pick Flames GP NHL GP
1991 Jerome Butler 5 107 0 0
1991 Andrei Trefilov 12 261 22 54
1994 Patrik Haltia 6 149 0 0

Risebrough only took three goalies and one of which was Trefilov, one of the most underrated depth players in franchise history. Was he good? Uh, no. But man he was always the first guy called up when weird stuff went down.

The Al Coates Years

Draft Goalie Round Pick Flames GP NHL GP
1997 Evan Lindsay 2 32 0 0
1998 Dany Sabourin 4 108 4 57
1999 Craig Anderson 3 77 0 636
1999 Matt Underhill 6 170 0 0

Lindsay and Anderson both didn’t sign and re-entered the draft. Lindsay didn’t amount to anything, but Anderson is still in the NHL. Whoops.

The Craig Button years

Draft Goalie Round Pick Flames GP NHL GP
2000 Brent Krahn 1 9 0 1
2000 Levente Szuper 4 116 0 0
2001 Andrei Medvedev 2 56 0 0
2019 Curtis McElhinney 6 176 29 232

Krahn was drafted ninth overall and played nine goddamn minutes in the NHL. When Ryan Pinder freaks out on Sportsnet 960 The Fan about the horrors of drafting goalies early, this is what he’s having nightmares about. Medvedev was also a historic whiff.

The Darryl Sutter years

Draft Goalie Round Pick Flames GP NHL GP
2004 James Spratt 7 213 0 0
2005 Kevin Lalande 5 128 0 0
2005 Matt Keetley 5 158 1 1
2006 Leland Irving 1 26 13 13
2009 Joni Ortio 6 171 37 37

Ortio was the most successful pick from a group that included a first rounder.

The Jay Feaster years

Draft Goalie Round Pick Flames GP NHL GP
2011 Laurent Brossoit 6 164 0 64
2012 Jon Gillies 3 75 12 12

The bar was set low by his predecessors and Feaster cleared it, with both of his drafted goalies playing NHL games.

The Brad Treliving years

Draft Goalie Round Pick Flames GP NHL GP
2014 Mason McDonald 2 34 0 0
2016 Tyler Parsons 2 54 0 0
2019 Dustin Wolf 7 214 0 0

If Wolf beats Parsons to the NHL, the Flames should just stop drafting goaltenders before the fifth round. Forever.