On Wednesday evening, the Calgary Flames didn’t win the NHL’s draft lottery. However, neither did the three teams behind them, so they’re set to draft 12th overall in the first round of the upcoming NHL Draft on July 23 and 24.
Here are eight players that seem the most likely to be (a) available and (b) suitable to the Flames’ needs at 12th overall.
Corson Ceulemans, LD
An Alberta product who came up through the local Alberta Junior Hockey League with the Brooks Bandits, Ceulemans is a 6’2″, 200 pound right shot defenseman. A May birthday, he’s one of the younger players in this year’s draft class.
Sam McGilligan at Smaht Scouting explains why Ceulemans is such a fascinating prospect to many:
Corson Ceulemans both perplexes and fascinates me. My opinion on him has changed repeatedly with my viewings. There are a lot of tools that he possesses that an NHL development staff would work with. He’s going to be playing in Wisconsin next year who are more than capable of starting the refinement process his game desperately needs. He’s a great skater, exhibits great passing, can defend the transition using his length and skating ability, owns a strong first pass, possesses the ability to carry the puck up ice, can facilitate the puck throughout the offensive zone and has the capacity to quarterback a power-play. My biggest concern more than anything is the fact that, despite having these abilities, he shows such inconsistency in using them on a regular basis in the AJHL.
He was excellent for Canada at the recent World Under-18s, capturing gold, and he’s committed to the University of Wisconsin for the fall. (Go Badgers!)
Matthew Coronato, LW
A product of the New York area’s minor hockey programs, Coronato is a 5’10”, 185 pound right-shooting left winger who’s the most recent success story from a recent junior hockey powerhouse, the United States Hockey League’s Chicago Steel. (They’re basically an American version of the London Knights, and they keep producing great players.)
Paul Zuk at Smaht Scouting outlined why some scouts are so jazzed about Coronato’s potential:
Matthew Coronato is arguably the most offensively productive forward in the 2021 Draft Class. His natural ability to score, or find a teammate who scores is simply remarkable. While he won’t stand out in any specific way, he oozes consistency in every aspect of his offensive game. His ability to produce should only become better at the next level, as he’ll be lined up with some impressive talent at Harvard in the ECAC this coming fall.
He’s committed to Harvard University for the fall. (Go Crimson!)
Carson Lambos, D
A Manitoba kid, Lambos is a 6’1″, 200 pound left shot defenseman. He had a weird season, where he played with Finland’s JYP in the Under-18, junior and pro ranks and then returned home to play for the Winnipeg Ice of the WHL… where he promptly suffered a season-ending injury. But as one of the more highly-touted bantam prospects in several WHL crops, he’s been heavily scouted by NHL clubs already.
Steve Kournianos of the Draft Analyst describes Lambos’ offensive skill-set:
Lambos is a shoot-first defender who has set plays designed for him, and he can make a goalie earn his paycheck thanks to a heavy, accurate slapper (with little backswing) or an elite wrister that has beaten quality goalies across multiple leagues and levels. As good a shooter as he may be, Lambos is a highly unselfish player who is more than capable of quarterbacking the top power-play unit, which he did with distinction for both JyP U20 and Canada-White at the 2019 World under-17 Hockey Challenge.
Fabian Lysell, RW
A Swedish product, Lysell is a 5’10”, 175 pound right shot winger. Splitting the season between the junior league’s Frolunda HC and then the SHL’s Lulea HF, Lysell also had a superb World Under-18s and helped his team capture bronze in a very competitive tournament.
Smaht Hockey’s Alexander Appleyard describes Lysell’s potential, but notes later he needs to work on his consistency a bit:
Dynamic is an understatement when it comes to Lysell. His combination of hands and speed are breath-taking. It is rare for even an experienced, skilled, NHL player to have the puck control, poise and confidence to make the moves Lysell does with ease in full-stride. Puck-on-a-string comes to mind. His feel make it seems like he was born with a stick in his hands, or simply that it is an extension of his body itself. Even good defensemen at the u-18 international level get a deer-in-headlights look when Lysell picks their side of ice to attack. For good reason. He often makes them look like pee-wee players as they end up a foot-note in an ever expanding highlight reel.
Lysell is under contract to Lulea HF through the 2022-23 season.
Mason McTavish, C
The son of one-time Flames forward (and longtime pro) Dale McTavish, Mason is a 6’2″, 205 pound left shot centre. McTavish had an interesting year. With the Ontario Hockey League season up in the air for much of the season, he opted to head to Europe to get games in. He ended up playing in the Swiss League for EHC Olten by utilizing a weird loophole: he was born in Switzerland while his father was playing there, so he didn’t count as an import under Swiss domestic hockey rules.
Smaht Hockey’s Josh Tessler describes McTavish’s offensive game:
When you are watching McTavish, the zone that you most notice him in is the offensive zone. McTavish constantly is looking for the opposition to pull closer towards the perimeter. He looks for opportunities where his teammates are controlling the puck in low danger. McTavish wants the puck in low danger and the opposition playing tight at the perimeter. He wants that because the opposition is not paying close attention to the slot. So, he picks the moment when the opposition is coming closer to the point as the moment where he skates up to the high slot and gives his team an open man close to the net.
McTavish will be returning to the OHL’s Peterborough Petes for the 2021-22 season.
Oskar Olausson, LW/RW
A versatile forward from Stockholm, Sweden, Olausson is a 6’2″, 180 pound left shot forward who can play either wing well. He bounced around a bit in his draft year: originally he was splitting time between HV71’s pro and junior sides but after the Swedish junior league shut down mid-season, he ended up being loaned to the secondary pro league’s Sodertalje SK. He also played in the World Juniors. Despite all this jumping around from team to team, he had a productive draft year.
Smaht Hockey’s Alexander Appleyard desccribes Olausson’s potential:
Some have slotted Olausson in the “complimentary winger” category, or questioned his hockey IQ. While he can be guilty of holding onto a puck for too long, and he is certainly a shoot first player who needs a play-making center to be at his best, I think it is unfair to pigeon-hole him like that. His zone entry skill, ability on the cycle, and solid passing mean that he can create space for others. He also has the scorers knack of getting free in dangerous positions, and does it with regularity. That is hard to do that without thinking the game well.
He’s under contract to HV71 through 2021-22.
Aatu Räty, C
A product of Finland and younger brother of Arizona Coyotes prospect Aku Räty, this forward is a 6’1″, 180 pound left shot forward. The younger Räty has seen his stock slide a bit this season. Last year, he played in the World Juniors – the youngest player in that year’s tournament – and he seemed poise to make noise in Finland’s pro SM-Liiga after four points in 12 games as a 17-year-old. Instead, his production cut in half, he didn’t make this year’s World Juniors roster, and he’s gone from a likely top five pick into a potential value find later in the first round.
The Draft Analyst’s Steve Kournianos describes his offensive potential:
Raty has an excellent shot and release that must be respected, but refinement is needed. There were games when he clearly established a desire to shoot pucks from anywhere on the ice but with varying degrees of accuracy and sensibility. Although some feel like hitting the net is good enough for a teenager in a men’s league, the reality is that Raty — an inside player more than capable of creating his own shot from in between the hashes — tends hit the goalie’s crest or miss the net completely. He has the hands and agility to improve his angle and take it closer to the goal, but one of the bigger criticisms of Raty’s game has to be shot selection. On the positive side is his willingness to release from shooting areas and head straight to the net, where Raty will battle with defenders of any size for positioning.
Räty is signed to SM-Liiga’s Kärpät through 2021-22.
Cole Sillinger, C
Born in Columbus, Ohio – while his father Mike was briefly a Blue Jacket – but a product of the Regina area, Sillinger is a 6’0″, 200 pound left shot centre. Sillinger usually plays with the WHL’s Medicine Hat Tigers, but opted to join the USHL’s Sioux Falls Stampede for the year given the unclear status of the WHL’s season. He ended up emerging as one of the top players in that circuit.
Smaht Hockey’s Sam McGilligan describes Sillinger’s playing style:
Like most junior hockey superstars Cole Sillinger is a player who wants to score goals and see that lamp light up. He has the means to do so as well, as he boasts a quick release that generates a ton of velocity with very little sacrifice in accuracy. He exhibits great placement of the puck and can hit small gaps from nearly anywhere on the ice. His shooting arsenal isn’t limited by any means as he can easily beat goalies with a snap shot, a wrist shot or a one timer. He demonstrates deception by combining numerous body fakes, look offs and skill moves to create his ideal shooting lanes. In addition, he hides his shot well, masking his intentions until the very last moment where he can open/close the blade and change the angle with a subtle weight shift, all during his very brief shooting motion.
Sillinger is expected to be returning to the Tigers for the 2021-22 season.
Which of these eight players is your preferred pick at 12th overall? Sound off in the comments!