The 5 most disappointing draft selections in Calgary Flames history

Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
1 month ago
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National Hockey League clubs select players with every pick at the entry draft with an optimistic viewpoint, hoping that the player can reach their potential and help contribute to a championship team. However, that’s not always the case and some players – even players drafted early in the proceedings – just don’t pan out.
Here are five players that, based on where they were selected, are the most disappointing selections in Calgary Flames drafting history.

A quick preamble

Before we get into the “formal” list, let’s spare a thought for 1986 first-round pick George Pelawa. Pelawa was a gigantic hockey player (listed at 6’3″ and 245 pounds), a teddy bear off the ice and a grizzly bear on it, who the Flames selected at 16th overall. While he needed a bit of work, particularly with his fitness level, his size and skill made scouts optimistic that he could use a couple seasons at the University of North Dakota to become a really impressive pro.
Tragically, Pelawa passed away after a car accident the summer after being drafted, and never got a chance to achieve his potential.

Chris Biotti

Biotti was selected 17th overall in 1985’s draft. He was selected out of Massachusetts prep school as a freshman bound for Harvard University. He had some really rough post-draft injury luck, though, suffering two significant knee injuries the year after his selection and then dealing with a recurring shoulder injury. He spent three seasons with the Flames’ International Hockey League affiliate in Salt Lake City, but failed to progress offensively. He headed to Europe following the expiry of his entry-level deal.

Bryan Deasley

Drafted at 19th overall in 1987 after his freshman year at Michigan, Deasley broke his ankle running down some stairs after he returned to school. He spent a season with the Canadian national team and played three seasons in the Flames’ minor league system, but he failed to progress offensively. The Flames ended up trading him to Quebec… twice. The first time the trade was scuttled because the player the Flames were to receive had been placed on waivers (and wasn’t eligible to be traded). He was traded, for real, the following year for future considerations.

Brent Krahn

Selected at ninth overall in 2000 from the Calgary Hitmen, in the draft that Calgary hosted, Krahn was a really well-regarded netminder in his draft year. Unfortunately, he had the misfortune of both horrible offensive luck (primarily knee problems) and entering the Flames’ farm system while they were splitting an affiliate with the Carolina Hurricanes, resulting him bouncing around teams for a couple seasons and not getting a lot of games until he played 57 with the Omaha Ak-Sar-Ben Knights in 2005-06 – in his third pro season. He failed to really progress and, with 2006 first-rounder Leland Irving slated to go pro the following season, Krahn wasn’t tendered a qualifying offer after 2007-08. He ended up playing just a single period in the NHL with Dallas.

Jesper Mattsson

Selected out of Sweden, Mattsson was selected 18th overall in 1993 – he had already played two full seasons in the Swedish elite league, the Elitserien, when he was selected. Unfortunately, he didn’t really progress offensively in Sweden or in parts of three seasons with the AHL’s Saint John Flames. He headed back to Sweden midway through the third and final season of his entry-level deal.

Niklas Sundblad

Another selection out of Sweden, Sundblad was selected 19th overall in 1991 after playing a season in the Elitserien. Like Mattsson, he didn’t really progress very much offensively in Sweden or in three seasons with Saint John. He had a cup of coffee in the NHL in November 1995, playing a pair of games for Calgary as an injury recall, but he went back to Sweden after his entry-level deal ended.

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