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Craig Conroy speaks following NHL Draft Lottery awards Flames the ninth overall pick

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Jeff Middleton
1 month ago
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The order for the 2024 NHL Entry Draft is set with the conclusion of the draft lottery. The Calgary Flames were projected to pick ninth overall, and they will be. In fact, for the first time in almost a decade and a half, there was no movement in the lottery order.
So, now it’s time for Flames management to start making decisions, compiling lists of names, continuing to watch films, and having lots of discussions.
After the lottery was finished and everything became set in stone, general manager Craig Conroy spoke to Flames TV about all different aspects of the upcoming draft, but much of his rhetoric was focused on how optimistic everyone in the room is that they will be able to bring a talented player into the Flames organization.
“The one good thing is now we know where we are,” Conroy said. “We’re going to make a good pick at number nine. Now that we know, it’s going to be an interesting draft. Usually, you foresee how it’s going to go, but there could be a lot of defencemen that go early; there are forwards there, but we’ll see what teams think, and I think we’re going to get a good player.”
As far as what the pipeline needs, there wasn’t much of a commitment from Conroy on whether or not the staff would be looking at defencemen or forwards. As of now, though, after the Elias Lindholm and Chris Tanev trades brought in two strong defence prospects (and more already with the AHL’s Calgary Wranglers), it will be interesting to see if the Flames decide to go for what the pipeline needs or just bolstering the defence with the “best player available.”
“It looks like it’s going to be a little more heavy on defence early on in the draft,” Conroy said. “But, again, that could be just me thinking that. Everyone is going to do their draft list, but there are a lot of good players. If you’re in the position we are, we’re going to have the opportunity for a very good player. So, just looking forward to seeing, getting the list in order, and in a couple of weeks, we’ll have the whole amateur staff here, so it’s going to be fun to get this thing started.”
The Flames have a large number of picks for this upcoming draft: nine, to be exact. And every time the scouts and staff are on the clock, it gives them a chance to add a player that could be of the utmost importance down the line for one reason or another.
The one area where Conroy and his staff believe they need to lock in the most is the later rounds. Of course, it’s nice to have two picks in the first round and one in the top 10, but teams succeed because of the gems they can find outside of the first round. Being effective with the picks you have later in the draft is as important as selecting a strong talent in the top 10.
“With the nine picks we have this year, every pick is important,” Conroy said. “We’re really going to dial in, especially when we get to the second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth round. Do we want to move down? Do we want to move up? Is there a player we really like? So we have to make sure our list is in order, and if there’s an opportunity to move up and get a player we think is ahead, we can use those picks. If not, maybe we can move back. ”
Overall, it’s an exciting time not only for the fans hoping to see the franchise’s fortunes turn around starting this season but also for those in the room making the decisions. Tons of effort from the amateur scouts goes unseen over the course of the regular season, and all of it pays dividends about a month before the draft is within shouting distance when the entire staff comes together to create a list of names in a specific order. The number of picks the Flames have makes scouting as important as ever, and it gives the Flames more chances to make a young player’s dream come true.
“To have that top 10 pick, to have two [picks] in the first round, two in the second, two in the third, those are exciting,” Conroy said. “All of our picks are [exciting], but to actually have nine picks, I mean, we’ve gone in years where we haven’t picked until the fourth round, so it’s not that exciting to be at those drafts, but this one we have lots of picks and a lot of different things we can work with.”
The overall rhetoric and demeanour from Conroy was optimistic, and why wouldn’t he be? Not only do the Flames have a chance to pick a fantastic talent in the top 10, but they also have the chance to change the tides of the franchise in one draft class with all the picks they’ve compiled. If they use all their picks to draft players instead of trading up or down is still up in the air and will be for a while, but it’s going to be a fun summer full of exciting possibilities.

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