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The Calgary Flames have a lot of success drafting in the fourth round
By Ryan Pike8 months ago
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The fourth round of the NHL Draft is the beginning of the second half. Once you get past the first 100 selections, you’re getting into areas where you hope your team’s area scouts have good handles on guys that could be project picks. This is where teams really start to roll the dice a bit.
The Calgary Flames own their fourth-round pick, 112th overall, in the 2023 NHL Draft.
Their last five picks
Here are the last five fourth-round selections for the Flames:
- In 2020, the Flames selected goaltender Daniil Chechelev from Russia’s Russkie Vityaz Chekhov at 96th overall.
- In 2019, the Flames selected forward Lucas Feuk from Sweden’s Sodertalje SK at 116th overall.
- In 2018, the Flames selected forward Martin Pospisil from the USHL’s Sioux City Musketeers at 105th overall, forward Demetrios Koumontzis from Edina High School at 108th overall, and forward Milos Roman from the WHL’s Vancouver Giants at 122nd overall.
The Flames acquired the 2018 selection they used to draft Koumontzis from Florida in the Jiri Hudler trade. The Flames sent their 2019 fourth-round pick to Montreal in exchange for the 2018 selection they used to select Roman. They acquired the 2019 selection they used to draft Feuk from the NY Islanders as part of the Travis Hamonic trade. The Flames sent their 2020 fourth-round pick to Los Angeles in the Oscar Fantenberg trade. They acquired the 2020 selection they used to draft Chechelev from Buffalo in the Michael Frolik trade. The Flames sent their 2021 fourth-round pick to Los Angeles in the Derek Forbort trade. The Flames sent their 2022 fourth-round pick to Seattle in the Tyler Pitlick trade.
Of their last five picks, only one has signed an entry-level deal with the Flames: Pospisil.
Of the others, Koumontzis just finished college (and likely won’t sign a deal with the Flames), and Roman and Feuk didn’t sign with Flames and their rights lapsed.
Chechelev is a unique case. As a player drafted from Russia, the Flames technically hold his rights indefinitely due to the absence of a transfer agreement. He’s spent the past two seasons with the organization on an AHL deal, but primarily playing in the ECHL.
Some notable selections
The Flames have actually been quite good at getting quality players in the fourth round of the NHL Draft.
Kent Nilsson (1976) was a player the Flames had pursued for a little while, and they kept pursuing him after he ended up playing in the WHA. He landed with the Flames in 1979 and ended up becoming arguably their most purely talented offensive player ever.
Jim Peplinski (1979) became one of the heart-and-soul pieces of the Flames during the 1980s, and was quietly a very useful 200-foot player and a feared fighter. He served as (co-)captain for several seasons and was a big piece of the 1989 Stanley Cup team. He spent his entire NHL career with the Flames.
Robert Reichel (1989) was a skilled Czech player who took a little while to get to North America, but during a 1990s run where the Flames were, quite frankly, challenged in a lot of different ways by how outside economic factors hampered their hockey operation, Reichel was a really effective player for them when they really needed one.
TJ Brodie (2008) was a bit of a project initially, a supremely talented skater who had some challenges defending. But after a stint in the AHL, working alongside veteran shutdown defender Joe Piskula, Brodie became a really effective blueliner for the Flames.
Johnny Gaudreau (2011) had some initial doubters became he was small and was a USHL pick (back at a time when the USHL was still building a rep for being a strong development league), but he became one of the best college scorers in recent memory and managed to translate that to the NHL level.
Other notable fourth-rounders include Brett Kulak (2012), Toni Lydman (1996), Robert Svehla (1992), Paul Kruse (1990) and Pat Ribble (1974).
Some notable misses
The Flames have made 62 fourth-round picks. Of those, 36 never played NHL games and 40 have never played games with the Flames.
It’s tough to say that anybody selected in the back half of the draft is a miss, but between 1997 and 2007, only goaltender Dany Sabourin (1998) played more than 10 NHL games. The other 13 fourth-rounders in that span combined for 10 NHL games, with those 10 games being concentrated in three players: Ryan Ready (1997, 7 GP), Jamie Tardiff (2003, 2 GP) and Tomi Maki (2001, 1 GP).
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