Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
The Calgary Flames have rarely made multiple first-round draft selections
By Ryan Pike13 days ago
Folks, the 2024 edition of the NHL Draft will be the 53rd entry draft since the Calgary Flames entered the league (as the Atlanta Flames) way back in 1972. In their previous 52 trips to the draft, the Flames have made 48 first-round selections.
As a result of general manager Craig Conroy’s moves so far, the Flames currently control two first-round picks in 2024. If nothing changes, it’ll be just the fourth time in franchise history – and the second time since they arrived in Calgary – that they make multiple first-round selections.
Let’s dive into their previous instances with more than a single first-rounder.
The 1973 draft
Following their expansion season, 1972-73, Flames general manager Cliff Fletcher decided he wanted to make some moves to add some draft selections.
On draft day, the Flames traded their 1973 first-rounder (5th overall), their 1977 first-rounder and their 1978 second-rounder to Montreal in exchange for California’s 1973 first-rounder (2nd overall, previously acquired by Montreal), Montreal’s 1973 first-rounder (16th overall) and Montreal’s 1973 second-rounder (21st overall).
Essentially, the Flames really liked the 1973 draft class and wanted more picks, and Montreal was down with essentially getting the same picks, but later. The Habs had just won the Stanley Cup and their system was chock full of quality, so they could afford to punt on some picks.
The Flames drafted Tom Lysiak at 2nd overall and Vic Mercredi at 16th overall. Lysiak ended up being one of the early stars in Atlanta, posting 431 points in 445 games over six seasons before moving to Chicago in a multi-player deal midway through 1978-79. Mercredi wasn’t nearly as productive, playing just two games with the Flames before moving onto the World Hockey Association.
The 1976 draft
At one point, the Flames controlled three first-round picks in the 1976 draft, a product of Trader Cliff’s wheeling and dealing. But owning three picks only lasted for a day.
In October 1975, the Flames traded their first-ever draft pick, 1972 2nd overall pick Jacques Richard, to Buffalo in exchange for Larry Carriere and Buffalo’s 1976 first-rounder. A few months later, in January 1976, they acquired Vancouver’s first-rounder in exchange for Curt Ridley. Combined with their own pick, they controlled three.
But that lasted for mere hours, as the following day they sent Buffalo’s pick to the Washington Capitals, along with Jean Lemieux and Gerry Meehan, in exchange for Bill Clement. (Yes, that Bill Clement.)
On draft day the Flames selected twice, taking defenceman Dave Shand at 8th overall with Vancouver’s pick and forward Harold Phillipoff at 10th overall with their own pick. Shand had 77 points in 288 games before being traded to Toronto in 1980. Phillipoff had 79 points in 118 games before being traded to Chicago, coincidentally in the same larger trade Lysiak was involved in.
The 2013 draft
The most recent instance came via the onset of the last major retool, overhaul, or whatever else you wish to phrase it as, of the Flames roster.
The Flames had their own first-round selection, though they likely would have lost that pick had Colorado opted not to match Ryan O’Reilly’s offer sheet at the end of February – since O’Reilly had played KHL games after the start of the NHL season, he would have had to go through waivers to join the Flames… and likely would have been claimed.
A month after the offer sheet drama, the Flames traded captain Jarome Iginla to Pittsburgh – not Boston – in exchange for college prospects Ken Agostino and Ben Hanowski, and Pittsburgh’s first-round pick in 2013. A few days later, Jay Bouwmeester was sent to St. Louis for goalie prospect Reto Berra, depth defender Mark Cundari, and St. Louis’ first-round pick in 2013.
At the 2013 draft, the Flames selected centre Sean Monahan at 6th overall (with their own pick), winger Emile Poirier at 22nd overall (with St. Louis’ pick) and winger Morgan Klimchuk at 30th overall (with Pittsburgh’s pick). Monahan was a home run pick, posting 462 points in 656 games before being traded to Montreal. However, neither of Poirier or Klimchuk really clicked at the NHL level, combining for just 9 NHL games between them.
Needless to say: outcomes can vary greatly between picks when teams make multiple first-rounders. We’ll see how things unfold for the Flames between now and late June in that regard.
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