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Sunday’s Game 7 between Vegas and Dallas holds significant draft ramifications for the Flames

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Photo credit:Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Mike Gould
1 month ago
There’s nothing quite like a Game 7.
Tonight, the Dallas Stars and Vegas Golden Knights will face off in the deciding seventh game of their Western Conference quarterfinal playoff series. It’s been a back-and-forth affair in which Vegas initially took a 2-0 series lead before losing three straight and eventually having to force a Game 7 just to stay alive.
The Calgary Flames made trades with both Vegas and Dallas during the 2023–24 regular season, and both those trades included draft picks conditional on those teams having success in this year’s playoffs. As such, the Flames stand to benefit in different ways regardless of which team comes out ahead in tonight’s winner-take-all match-up.
That’s not to say the two possible outcomes are equivalent. In one of them, the Flames are guaranteed a pick upgrade; in the other, the Flames’ chances at receiving an additional draft pick increase. Only one result tonight offers a sure thing.
With that in mind, let’s take a look from a Flames point-of-view at the two ways things can play out in Dallas tonight.

If Vegas wins

This is by far the simpler of the two outcomes. If Vegas wins tonight’s Game 7 against Dallas in any fashion, the Flames will give back the 2024 third-round pick they received from the Golden Knights in the Noah Hanifin trade and instead receive Vegas’ 2025 second-round selection.
This is the more favourable condition for a number of reasons. First off, it doesn’t require anything else to happen. Even if Vegas gets swept in Round 2, the Flames still get the better pick. The Knights only need to win one game, tonight’s, for the Flames to be paid out in full.
It’s also a pretty good idea to stagger picks in sequential years. As it stands, the Flames only have three picks in the first three rounds of the 2025 NHL Draft. They’ve got twice that many in 2024, with the potential to add another if the Canucks win their upcoming series against the Edmonton Oilers. It’d be great if the Flames could start adding to their 2025 stockpile more than a year in advance.
The Hanifin trade return was widely seen as being pretty underwhelming when it was first announced back on March 7, but it’d start to look a whole lot better with that second-round pick in the fold. The Flames now have Vegas’ unprotected 2026 first-rounder, as well as a guy in Daniil Miromanov who opened a lot of eyes in Calgary with his play down the stretch. Adding a second-round pick onto that pile would be gravy.

If Dallas wins

This is where things get a bit more complex. As part of the Chris Tanev trade, the Flames can receive Dallas’ 2026 third-round pick … so long as the Stars make it all the way to the 2024 Stanley Cup Final.
If the Stars win tonight, they’ll ensure the Flames do not receive the Golden Knights’ 2025 second-round pick. But it also won’t guarantee that the Flames get anything more out of their trade with Dallas. Even if the Stars make it to the next round, they’ll still have to win eight more games to activate that condition.
Sure, there’s a fair point to be made that the Flames don’t have to give anything back if the Dallas condition hits. Instead of trading in a third-round pick for a second-round pick, they’ll just get an extra third-round pick on top of the 2024 second-round pick they already got in the Tanev deal. They’d also still have the third-round pick from Vegas.
In essence, if Vegas wins tonight, the Flames get a second-round pick from the Hanifin condition and nothing from the Tanev condition. If the Stars win, the Flames get a third-round pick from the Hanifin condition and a chance at a third-round pick from the Tanev condition.
But … even then, the Flames would probably rather have a second-rounder than two thirds, even if that additional third-round pick was guaranteed — and it’s not. And that’s not to mention that the third-round pick in the Tanev trade wouldn’t be until 2026 … and the Flames already have two of them that year. At this point, they have a far greater need for a 2025 pick.
A lot of hockey fans in Calgary dislike the Golden Knights for entirely understandable reasons. Many Flames faithful would undoubtedly love to see Tanev win the Stanley Cup. Even if the Stars win tonight, there’s a chance the Flames could benefit down the line.
But from the standpoint of wanting to see the Flames amass as many high draft picks as possible over the next few years, it makes more sense to root for Vegas in tonight’s Game 7.
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