The Calgary Flames 2024 rebuild is already ahead of where they were in 2013

Photo credit:© Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Robert Munnich
4 months ago
The Calgary Flames are embarking on their first reconstruction/rebuild/re-tool/reconstruct/overhaul, however you want to describe it, since the early 2010s.
Back then Darryl Sutter and eventually Jay Feaster were the architects of helping the Flames reconstruct their roster though the trades of their core group of players.
I thought it would be fun to look back at where the Flames were in 2013 after they had traded the likes of Jarome Iginla and Jay Bouwmeester and compare it to where they are today with the trade of multiple pending UFAs and upcoming trade of at least Noah Hanifin and Chris Tanev.

The trades

Between 2010 and 2013, the Calgary Flames traded Jarome Iginla, Jay Bouwmeester, Robyn Regehr, Dion Phaneuf and Alex Tanguay. They also lost Miikka Kiprusoff to retirement and Mike Cammalleri to Brian Burke sending a message to the rest of the league.
Sutter and Feaster did not bring back much in the form of young players who became part of the next generation of Calgary Flames. Here is the haul of players they acquired for their aging core players.
The Flames are off to a great start when it comes to cashing in on their 2024 pending UFAs. And within the next two weeks we are going to see Craig Conroy cash in on the likes of Chris Tanev, Noah Hanifin, and likely others.

The draft

Here is a list of prospects the Flames had drafted between 2007 and 2012 who were in theory supposed to be part of the next core group of players. (I am not including the 2013 draft class because the 2024 draft is the equivalent for this iteration of the Flames rebuild.)
The Flames were only able to draft four impact makers who played meaningful roles on team for multiple seasons; Mikael Backlund, Johnny Gaudreau, TJ Brodie, and Michael Ferland.
If you take a look at the draft history of the Flames from 2018-2023, the Flames already have three impact makers: Connor Zary, Martin Pospisil and Jakob Pelletier (green). There are another nine who I think have the potential to be true difference makers for the Flames within the next 5-10 years (yellow).
The Flames will add another few potential impact makers over the next few drafts as they continue to accumulate first, second, and third round picks in trade for Noah Hanifin, Chris Tanev, and others.
The great thing for the Flames and their fans is that they’re not starting their rebuild with nothing, say like a Chicago Blackhawks have. The Flames have a lot of strong pieces to build their next foundation with both on and off the ice.
Off the ice, the Flames are more well equipped to guide this team into a better future. They have a larger and more sophisticated management team, analytics staff, scouting staff, and development team than they did in 2013. That alone should give Flames fans more confidence in what this front office can do compared to their counterparts in 2013.
On the ice, the Flames have built up a large number of potential NHLers in their current prospect group. But they are still missing elite talent. The type of  forward or defenceman who can become a top 25 player in the NHL. Someone who can take over games. Someone who can lead you to a Stanley Cup.
Guys like Sam Honzek, Connor Zary, Hunter Brzustewicz, or Dustin Wolf could end up becoming star players in the NHL. But are they top 25 players in the NHL good? I’m not going to cap the potential of any of these players, who knows what they can become. But as of right now, it’s not looking like it.
That’s why it is imperative for the Flames to pick in the top 10 in multiple NHL drafts over the next 3-4 seasons. In order to become a true Stanley Cup contender, you need to draft elite players in the top ten. There is no other way to do it.
The Flames are off to a great start when it comes to their rebuild. They are way ahead of where they were in 2013. But they need to continue down this path and not stray from it.
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