Strong drafting has allowed the Calgary Flames to load up for this run
Photo credit:Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
By Ryan Pike10 months ago
On Wednesday night, the Calgary Flames acquired Calle Jarnkrok from the Seattle Kraken in exchange for three draft choices. On Thursday morning, our colleagues at Daily Faceoff discussed the trade on the Daily Faceoff Show.
Mike McKenna noted that he liked the acquisition, but thought the price was a bit high. I don’t entirely agree with him (and I’ll explain why).
McKenna liked the acquisition, but had this criticism:
I didn’t like the acquisition cost, though. Calgary is really running thin on their prospect pool, in terms of draft picks. They traded away a second and a third for this move, essentially, to bring in Jarnkrok. I thought that was a little bit steep, just from the future aspect kinda tough to take for the Flames.
He closed out noting, though, that teams either chase prospects or chase Cups… and the Flames think they can make a push now. And honestly, that more or less captures the Flames’ current management mindset.
If you want to say “Man, I’m nervous about the Flames moving out so many picks,” that’s a fair criticism. As of this writing, the Flames have three picks at the 2022 draft (2nd, 5th and 7th-rounders) and five picks in 2023 (1st, 2nd, 4th, 6th and 7th-rounders). Three picks in 2022 is admittedly not very many.
But the fact is that the Flames have made a lot of picks in the past few drafts and have been pretty productive with them. Here’s a snapshot of the “age group assets” the Flames have that were born in 2001, 2002 and 2003 – basically spanning the last two and a half draft classes. (We’ve noted which players have already signed their entry-level deals with the team, too.)
|2001||Connor Zary [signed]|
Dustin Wolf [signed]
Jakob Pelletier [signed]
Jeremie Poirier [signed]
Rory Kerins [signed]
Yan Kuznetsov [signed]
The 2001 age group features three very good prospects in Pelletier, Wolf and Zary, though Zary’s had an uneven transition to pro hockey due to injuries. Francis will probably be signed this spring. Chechelev seems like a good bet to sign an NHL entry-level deal as well (after being on an AHL pact this year). It seems likely that Boltmann eventually signs as a shutdown defender, while the injury is out on Nodler and Nikolaev – they’re both pretty good, but neither drives the bus for their respective teams.
The 2002 age group features one very good prospect in Coronato, and four pretty good prospects in Sergeev, Kuznetsov, Kerins and Poirier. (Coronato is in college and Sergeev is headed there, so they might be a couple years out still.) Jordan has a ton of promise but had a tough go with injuries this year.
From the 2003 group, Beck is tracking really well, while Ciona and Stromgren show a ton of potential.
The point of this prospect census is this: the Flames have made enough hay over the past few drafts that they feel comfortable perhaps making fewer picks in the 2022 draft because of the depth that they’ve accumulated in their reserve list. They also have a lot of confidence in their ability to back-fill organizational depth with college and European signings.
Using draft capital to load up for a playoff push this season is not a plan without its risks. But the Flames have enough interesting and talented players in their prospect pool from their past few drafts that they seem to be comfortable taking that risk.
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