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If used properly, late-round draft selections can become valuable

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Photo credit:© Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
2 months ago
On Tuesday night, the Calgary Flames did something they haven’t done in awhile: they dressed a ton of late-round picks. While we’ve been talking (and writing) about the Flames’ draft prowess quite a bit in the abstract, you can get a sense of the Flames’ success in that realm by looking at Tuesday’s lineup.
The NHL Draft was modified and shortened to seven rounds after the 2004-05 lockout. Since the 2005 draft, the Flames have made 17 sixth-round picks and 20 seventh-round picks. That’s 37 “late-round” selections.
Of those 37 late picks, six ended up playing regular season games for the Flames:
  • 2005 sixth-rounder Brett Sutter
  • 2009 sixth-rounder Joni Ortio
  • 2015 sixth-rounder Andrew Mangiapane
  • 2016 sixth-rounder Matthew Phillips
  • 2019 seventh-rounder Dustin Wolf
  • 2020 seventh-rounder Ilya Solovyov
For the first time during the Lockout Era, the Flames dressed three late-round picks and multiple seventh-rounders on Tuesday night against the Minnesota Wild. While Mangiapane has cemented himself as an NHL regular, Wolf and Solovyov are working on it. Wolf performed well in relief of Dan Vladar, while Solovyov registered his first NHL point – albeit in a game where he had some defensive challenges throughout.
We’ll see if either Wolf or Solovyov become regulars, though Wolf’s excellence in the AHL gives him a good shot. But regardless, the Flames have turned some fairly late – often throwaway – draft selections into useful players and bankable assets. (And they have a few other recent late-round picks like Rory Kerins, Lucas Ciona and Arsenii Sergeev that could turn into players in the coming seasons.)
We’ve heard folks like Tod Button and Craig Conroy mention in recent years how every draft selection is important. This is why they say that; because late-round picks can become valuable if they’re used effectively.
So far, so good.

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