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The Flames have gambled (and occasionally won) in the seventh round of the draft

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Photo credit:Provided by the Stockton Heat
Ryan Pike
4 months ago
The seventh round of the NHL Draft is, by its nature, a bit of a craps shoot. Every team has selected several times, and what’s left over is often the product of various teams’ collective draft biases. But late in the draft, the Flames have made several recent gambles that seemed like calculated bets.
Some have been good gambles. Some have been iffy gambles. Some have been Dustin Wolf, who could be the best late pick in recent draft history. Let’s dive into the seventh-rounders under Brad Treliving’s watch.

2014: Austin Carroll (right wing, 184th overall, Victoria – WHL)

Carroll was an overager in his third year of draft eligibility, and likely selected because of his size and physical maturity. He wasn’t ranked by Central Scouting or FC Hockey, which isn’t unusual for a player of his age and modest offensive production. He signed an entry-level deal with the Flames, played three seasons in the AHL, and wasn’t qualified afterwards.

2015: Riley Bruce (defence, 196th overall, North Bay – OHL)

Bruce was very, very tall, and his tallness led him to be ranked 210th among North American skaters by Central Scouting (but he wasn’t ranked by FC Hockey). His big-ness didn’t really translate into progression, offensive or otherwise, and he and the Flames didn’t come to terms on an entry-level deal.

2016: Stepan Falkovsky (defence, 186th overall, Ottawa – OHL)

After taking an overager and then a big guy, the Flames doubled-up in 2016 and took a big overager. Falkovsky was drafted in his second year of eligibility and was the 91st-ranked North American skater (and unranked by FC Hockey). He was signed to an AHL deal, played one season (entirely in the ECHL), but wasn’t offered an NHL deal and ended up signing with the Los Angeles Kings instead.

2017: Filip Sveningsson (left wing, 202nd overall, HV71 U20 – J20 SuperElit)

The Flames opted for a two-way Swede late in 2017, electing to grab Sveningsson – the 65th-ranked International skater (and unranked by FC Hockey). Four years later, he hadn’t really progressed a ton in Sweden and the Flames and his camp didn’t come to terms on an entry-level deal.

2018: Dmitry Zavgorodniy (left wing, 198th overall, Rimouski – QMJHL)

Zavgorodniy was selected after a single (productive) season as an import in the QMJHL. He was ranked 69th among North American skaters and 86th overall by FC Hockey, but he fell likely because of the small sample size in high-end hockey and his size. He signed an entry-level deal with the Flames and spent a couple seasons in the Flames system before working out a mutual termination this spring so he could go back to Russia.

2019: Dustin Wolf (goaltender, 214th overall, Everett – WHL)

The Flames traded their own seventh-rounder in 2019 to Ottawa for Nick Shore. But they gained Carolina’s in the Eddie Lack trade.
The Flames opted to grab a goaltender late in 2019, nabbing Wolf, one of the top WHL netminders in his age group. He was the 12th-ranked North American goalie and was ranked 82nd overall by FC Hockey. He slipped to the tail-end of the draft due to his lack of size for a goalie, but that’s about it. He signed with the Flames and was the top goaltender in the AHL in his first year of pro hockey.

2020: Ilya Solovyov (defence, 205th overall, Saginaw – OHL)

Selected in his third year of eligibility, Solovyov had moved to North America from Belarus and had size and good success in the OHL. His sample size in high-end hockey was fairly low and he was a double-overager, so he wasn’t ranked by any of the major agencies. The Flames grabbed him and after a year spent in the KHL, he signed an entry-level deal and headed to the AHL. He’s shown decent progress, so we’ll see what happens.

2021: Arsenii Sergeev (goaltender, 205th overall, Shreveport – NAHL)

In 2021 the Flames went for another late goalie, grabbing Sergeev. Sergeev had bounced between the USHL and North American Hockey League in his draft year, showing a lot of potential in the NAHL – a league that hasn’t really produced a lot of strong prospects yet. He was the 8th-ranked North American goalie in his draft class, but unranked by FC Hockey. The Flames bet on his potential and he was the top USHL goalie in his first post-draft season, so it’s a good start. He’s off to college next season, so his development will take awhile.
The Flames have seemingly continued their sixth-round philosophy into the seventh round lately, balancing organization needs for leftover players with size or offensive skill. And grabbing goaltenders in the seventh round seems quite smart given the variability in development seen in that position over time – goalies are voodoo. Just finding useful AHL players in the seventh round is a bit of an achievement.

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