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The Calgary Flames haven’t drafted players from local teams very often

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Photo credit:John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Ryan Pike
1 month ago
Folks, the National Hockey League’s Central Scouting Service released their final rankings for the 2024 NHL Draft a few weeks ago. Two Calgary Hitmen players were featured pretty prominently, with blueliner Carter Yakemchuk listed at 11th among North American skaters and forward Carson Wetsch ranked at 50th.
It would be kind of fun if the Flames took a player from the local junior team, right?
But it hasn’t happened in awhile, it hasn’t happened very often in franchise history, and it hasn’t often resulted in success. (Okay fine, it resulted in one Hall of Famer… and a bunch of players that didn’t turn out nearly as well.)
Here’s a brief history of the few times the Flames have drafted from the local teams.

Calgary Hitmen

The Hitmen have been part of the Western Hockey League since 1994 and owned by the Flames since 1997. 62 Hitmen have been drafted by NHL clubs – the Flames have selected three of those, zero of which have been credited with NHL games played with the franchise.
In 2000, when the Flames hosted the NHL Draft at the Saddledome, they selected goaltender Brent Krahn in the first round (ninth overall) and blueliner Wade Davis in the fifth round (141st overall). Krahn played in the Flames’ system for five seasons, even dressing as backup a few times, but never actually played a minute with the club. (His NHL career involved one period of actual in relief for the Dallas Stars.) Davis played just a single year of pro in North America. In 2015, the Flames selected import forward Pavel Karnaukhov in the fifth round (136th overall). He played one more season in North America and then moved back to Russia.
Four former Hitmen have played NHL games with the Flames, none of whom were drafted by the club: Michael Stone, Brett Carson, T.J. Galiardi and Brad Stuart.

Calgary Canucks

The Flames have selected one player listed as being from the AJHL’s Calgary Canucks: Dale Thompson in the 12th round of the 1982 NHL Draft. Thompson was listed as playing games with both the Canucks and the WHL’s Calgary Wranglers in his draft year, and we’re not entirely sure he was listed as being from one or the other. He spent a bit of time bouncing around the WHL and never played pro hockey.

Calgary Wranglers

Finally, the Flames rolled the dice on a single player from the Wranglers: obscure, small-statured goaltender Mike Vernon, who they selected in the third round (56th overall) in the 1981 NHL Draft, their first draft after their first season in Calgary.
Vernon turned out really well, playing extensively both within the NHL and with the Flames. He won a couple Stanley Cups, including one in Calgary. He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame recently. He was, by any measure you want to use, a really good draft selection.
Unfortunately, since Vernon, the Flames just haven’t had the same luck with their sporadic draft selections from the local teams. Time will tell if that trend eventually reverses course.
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