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Can the Calgary Flames strike gold in the fourth round of the 2024 NHL Draft?

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Photo credit:James Doyle/WHL
Ryan Pike
8 days ago
We’ve discussed the Calgary Flames’ history of, well, striking out in some rounds of the NHL Draft. Sometimes, they just can’t seem to catch a break. (Fifth round, we’re looking at you.)
And then there’s the fourth round, where the Flames have found many, many strong future NHLers during their history.
The Flames have a pair of fourth-round picks in the 2024 NHL Draft: their own pick and New Jersey’s (which they acquired from Vancouver as part of the Elias Lindholm trade). Based on how the draft order has been set, these picks will be back-to-back.

Their last five picks

Here are the last five fourth-round selections for the Flames:
YearPickPlayerTeam
2023112F Jaden LipinskiVancouver (WHL)
202096G Daniil ChechelevRusskie Vityaz Chekhov (MHL)
2019116F Lucas FeukSodertalje SK (J20 Nationell)
2018122F Milos RomanVancouver (WHL)
2018108F Demetrios KoumontzisEdina (USHS)
(The Flames had three fourth-round picks in the 2018 NHL Draft. Martin Pospisil was selected at 105th overall in that year, just missing the cut-off for this snazzy summary table.)
The Flames’ 2022 fourth-rounder was traded to Seattle following the 2021 expansion draft in exchange for Tyler Pitlick. As a trivia note, this was the first trade the Kraken ever made.
The Flames’ 2021 fourth-rounder was traded to Los Angeles in exchange for Derek Forbort prior to the 2020 trade deadline.

Some historical hits

The Flames have found quite a few really impressive players in the fourth round.
The general threshold for being considered a successful draft pick is playing 200 NHL games. 13 different Flames’ fourth-rounders have hit that mark. The lucky 13 are: Dean Talafous (1973), Pat Ribble (1974), Kent Nilsson (1976), Jim Peplinski (1979), Mark Lamb (1982), Robert Reichel (1989), Paul Kruse (1990), Robert Svehla (1992), Marty Murray (1993), Toni Lydman (1996), TJ Brodie (2008), Johnny Gaudreau (2011) and Brett Kulak (2012).
As you may recall, I wrote a book – On The Clock: Behind the Scenes with the Calgary Flames at the NHL Draft – with some detailed deep dives into some of the wackiest draft stories in franchise history. A good chunk of the stories were about fourth-rounders: the circumstances around the Flames getting the pick they used to select Pat Ribble, their decade-long pursuit of Nilsson, and the relative subterfuge they engaged in to land Gaudreau. Some of the weirdest stories emerged from fourth-rounders.
And even some of the fourth-rounders that didn’t hit 200 games were pretty fun. Remember the Miracle on Ice, the United States’ big international breakthrough win over the Soviet Union at the 1980 Olympics? Jim Craig, the American goalie in that game, was a Flames’ fourth-rounder from 1977.

Some historical misses

Historically, the Flames have been pretty productive in the fourth round, but there have been stretches where it’s been feast or famine for them. After Toni Lydman’s selection in 1996, the Flames’ next 14 fourth-rounders combined for 67 NHL games played. 57 of those games belonged to goaltender Dany Sabourin.
1986 fourth-rounder Tom Quinlan was a talented high-schooler committed to the University of Minnesota as a two-sport athlete. The Flames selected him, hoping they could lure him to focus on hockey and away from baseball. Instead, he signed with the Toronto Blue Jays (who selected him in Major League Baseball’s marathon draft), and the pick never amounted to anything.

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