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The Calgary Flames don’t have a fifth-rounder this year (and given their history, that’s a good thing)

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Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
18 days ago
In the history of the Calgary Flames at the NHL Draft, there are some rounds where they’ve found strong players throughout their drafting history. There are some rounds where they’ve had appreciably more difficulty finding players.
The Flames have had success in a lot of rounds, particularly in recent years. But for whatever reason, they just haven’t been able to find success in the fifth round.
For better or for worse, the Flames have no fifth-round pick in the 2024 NHL Draft. Their own pick was traded to Chicago in exchange for Ryan Carpenter prior to the 2022 trade deadline. They acquired Chicago’s fifth-rounder from Vancouver in the Nikita Zadorov trade – Vancouver previously acquired it for Anthony Beauvillier – but traded that pick to San Jose for Nikita Okhotiuk prior to the 2024 trade deadline.

Their last five picks

Here are the last five fifth-round selections for the Flames:
YearPickPlayerTeam
2022155F Parker BellTri-City (WHL)
2021141D Cole JordanMoose Jaw (WHL)
2020143F Ryan FrancisCape Breton (QMJHL)
2019150F Josh NodlerFargo (USHL)
2017140F Zach FischerMedicine Hat (WHL)
The Flames’ 2023 fifth-rounder was traded to Montreal as part of the Tyler Toffoli trade: the swap sent their 2022 first-rounder, 2023 fifth-rounder, Tyler Pitlick and the rights to Emil Heineman to the Habs in exchange for Toffoli.
The Flames’ 2018 fifth-rounder was traded to Phoenix as part of the Michael Stone trade: that move sent their 2017 third-round pick to the Coyotes, as well as their 2018 fifth-rounder in the event Stone re-signed with the Flames (he did).
Of the Flames’ last five fifth-rounders, Parker Bell is the only player to (a) sign an entry-level deal with the club or (b) play AHL games while under an NHL deal. Jordan, Francis, Nodler and Fischer didn’t sign entry-level deals, though Francis and Fischer briefly played AHL games on minor-league try-out deals.

Some historical hits

Folks, it’s gonna get grim here, so apologies in advance.
Per Hockey-Reference, the Flames have made 54 fifth-round picks in their history. Just four have played over 200 NHL games – and just a pair of those primarily with the Flames. The illustrious four are Willi Plett (1975), Nils Ekman (1994), Travis Moen (2000) and Micheal Ferland (2010).
Plett and Ferland became cult figures with the Flames. Plett played over 450 games with the club, winning the Calder Trophy as a rookie and serving as one of the team’s prime antagonists during their Atlanta years (and first few years in Calgary). Ferland emerged as a similarly fun player, playing 250 games for the Flames and starring during their 2015 playoff run.

Some historical misses

Some depressing math: if four of 54 fifth-rounders made over 200 NHL games, that means 50 of 54 failed to hit that benchmark. Heck, just 13 Flames’ fifth-rounders played any NHL games whatsoever.
The last Flames first-rounder to play any NHL games was Ferland. Before him, it was goaltender Matt Keetley (2005), with one. 2003 fifth-rounder Greg Moore played 10 games, split between the NY Rangers and Columbus. Heck, Bell is the first Flames fifth-rounder to sign an entry-level deal since Ryan Culkin (2012).
Suffice it to say: the fifth round has been weirdly lean for the Flames, especially when you consider that they’ve found some pretty good players in the sixth and seventh rounds over the years. They can find players early. They can find players late. But the fifth round just seems to be their trouble spot.

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