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"Ink from the rink"
Langley, BC • Canada • 2013 Years Old • Male
This is my last installment on the examination of Jay Feaster’s tenure as Flames GM. I hope the series has been interesting, informative, entertaining or some combination of the three.

To wind things up I would like to look at the Flames 2012 draft selections. Although Feaster has minimal involvement with assembling the scouting list, it is a product of the scouting staff he has augmented and the software he has employed.

#1 Mark Jankowski: Stanstead College
The Flames made a draft-day swap dealing their 1st round 14th overall selection to the Sabres in exchange for the Sabres 2nd round choice and the Predators 1st round pick that was acquired by Buffalo in a trade that sent Paul Gaustad to the Preds.

It looked like a great move when defenseman Olli Matta fell to the Flames at 21st overall. But when the Flames selected Mark Jankowski who was slotted to go in the 2nd round by Central Scouting, there was a collective query of ‘WHO!?’ by the less informed Flames’ fans and a query of ‘WHY!?’ from the more savvy observers. Now everyone is up to speed on the ‘who’, but perhaps not-so-much on the ‘why’.

Jay Feaster has many times acknowledged the Flames’ top need is a #1 center. As we all know these guys don’t grow on trees and rarely become available through trade or free agency; so that leaves the draft. With the Flames’ choice to rebuild on the fly it is unlikely they will draft high enough in the foreseeable future to get a sure-fire top center ala Nugent-Hopkins. So the Flames elected to roll the dice.

The main criticism of the pick was not the risk-factor though, it was that Jankowski could have been picked up in the second round. Jay Feaster dispelled this criticism when he intimated in an interview that two other GM’s were going to choose Jankowski in the first round if he had been available.

Although Jankowski is young and played against inferior competition in his draft year, most scouts agree he has the size and skill to project as the true #1 guy the Flames covet. However that is his upside. He is so young-the youngest player ever selected in the history of the draft-it is possible he will never develop into a regular NHL player. Was the gamble worth it? Only time will tell.

#2 Patrick Sieloff: NDT-USHL

With the Sabres’ second round choice the Flames went to the USHL and took hard hitting defenseman Patrick Sieloff. Sieloff was rated by most scouts as the hardest hitter in the draft. He does not bring much offense to the table but he is a reliable defenseman who will drop the mitts, kill penalties and oozes character. His bone-crushing hits can also change the momentum of games.

Patrick won a gold medal in 2011-12 with the USA at the WJC under-18 tournament and has been invited to US camp for the upcoming WJCs in 2012-13.

The Flames did not have a second round pick prior to the trade with Buffalo, and unless Matta ends up being a more valuable player than the combination of Jankowski and Sieloff the trade will work in the Flames favour.

#3 Jon Gillies: Indiana Ice -USHL

To me this was a bit of a curious choice since there were goalies ranked higher than Jon and the Flames already have Karri Ramo, Leland Irving, Jani Ortio and Laurent Brossoit in the system. However he does project to be a top goalie if he maxes out his upside.

Jon is a huge kid standing 6’4” and weighing 215 pounds. He plays a modified butterfly style, challenging shooters and covering his angles well. He needs to work on his rebound control and closing up the 6 and 7 holes.

#4 Brett Kulak: Vancouver Giants-WHL

Brett was a standout in Midget, winning the Alberta minor midget's Defenseman of the Year award. In his first full year in the dub’ he played all 72 games for the Giants scoring 9 goals and adding 15 assists.

Brett is not a particularly physical defenseman, but is good defensively and has good offensive instincts as well as good mobility and puck moving skills.

#5 Ryan Culkin: Quebec Remparts-QMJHL

The Flames chose their third defenseman of the draft when Ryan Culkin was available in the 5th round. Culkin was ranked 66th overall by Central scouting and showed steady progress in his second year in the Q’.

He is a solid two-way defenseman with good puck moving skills and skating ability. Ryan has the ability to raise his game when the stakes are high especially in the playoffs.

#6 Coda Gordon: Swift Current Broncos-WHL

Coda is an Alberta boy who slipped in the CSS rankings from his mid-season high of 38th to his final ranking of 61st. He lit up the dub' in his first half, but tailed off as the season wore on, which hurt his ranking.

He was still good enough to be the second-top scorer on the team as a rookie, potting 30 goals and adding 23 assists.

Coda is a skilled player who needs work on his defensive game.

#7 Matt Deblouw: Muskegon-USHL

Matt has good size and speed, but needs to bulk up as many 18 year old prospects do. He had just 11 goals and 23 assists in 58 games which could have been partially because of playing for a poor Muskegon squad who won just 17 games.

Matt was identified as the biggest surprise after his performance at the Flames’ prospects camp.

****************************************

When Feaster was asked about his reaction to the draft he said “I am excited because the guys are excited”. Even the experts have a tough time evaluating a team’s draft performance so I won’t even try. But it was punctuated by a surprise first round selection and once again a noticeable departure from the Sutter years.

Next time around I will have a look at the current state of negotiations between the League and PA. Gulp!

Factoid: All of the Flames’ 2012 draft selections were ranked within the top 66 players in Central Scouting’s final ranking of North American Skaters. The Flames selected no Europeans.

Thanks for considering my blog.
Filed Under:   Feaster   Flames   Draft  
August 16, 2012 7:49 PM ET | Delete
I'm really starting to dig your columns. They are well written, informative, and they have a positive spin without sounding like a homer. I like the Jankowski draft pick for the precise reason you stated: there's likely no other way to get a number one center so to hell with it, lets take a risk. Keep the Flames blogs going, I'll read every one. Cheers.
August 17, 2012 2:40 AM ET | Delete
Hi Kzak99. Thank you very much. I am humbled by the support I am getting. I really appreciate the fact people are willing to spend their precious time reading and commenting on my blogs. I like the Jankowski pick too: no guts no glory.
August 17, 2012 12:33 PM ET | Delete
Nice read. Feaster has done well as GM in his two drafts imo. That includes the trades he has made to get those extra picks.
August 17, 2012 1:00 PM ET | Delete
seriously hate this site some days... fix the damn bug already. Can anyones see what i wrote earlier or is it blank for you as well?
August 17, 2012 1:37 PM ET | Delete
Hi Faron14. Yeas a marked improvement over Sutter fot sure.geta02it...blank for me too I will delete it for you.
August 17, 2012 6:02 PM ET | Delete
is anyone even working on the bugs?Also, I'd be very suprised if Matta turns out to be better than Seiloff and Janko. Great move by Feaster and company.
August 17, 2012 6:18 PM ET | Delete
ugh I give up... i"ll leave it to good write up I_H
August 18, 2012 1:28 AM ET | Delete
great reads and analysis on the jay feaster segments, keep it going. it says u live in langley, im in white rock and would like to meet up with more flames fans in town and catch some games, going to pubs with all canuck fans sux...throw me an email if your [email protected]
August 21, 2012 6:39 AM ET | Delete
August 21, 2012 2:20 PM ET | Delete
good article. however would not agree with your rationale that "unless Matta ends up being a more valuable player than the combination of Jankowski and Sieloff the trade will work in the Flames favour" ... the real judgement of the trade is whether Girgenson (#14 pick CAL traded to BUF) or any other player available above #14 (including Matta) will be better than Jankowski and Sielhoff.
August 23, 2012 8:14 PM ET | Delete
I used Matta as an example because he was thought to be the guy the Flames would be most likely to take. You can pencil in anyone you like, but I disagree with your rationale of using 'any other player available abover #14' because after all the Flames could have only chosen one of them, not all of them.
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