Well, I have been out of the blogosphere (real word?) for quite some time now for various reasons, not the least of which I haven't had anything very interesting or insightful to say. I admit it.
However, as we head toward the draft with three first round picks, Flames fans are feeling Oileresque mass euphoria due to owning three first round picks in one of the deepest drafts in years. So I hope I can offer up something interesting again.
Last year the Flames took considerable heat (no double-pun intended, well maybe a little...mea culpa) for trading down and taking Mark Jankowski out of Stanstead College (Quebec).
Stanstead is basically high school level hockey, and with some highly touted prospect available at 14th overall, trading down to take a kid who was ranked to go in the second round raised more than a few lowbrows...er I mean eyebrows.
However, it could easily be argued that the second round pick the Flames acquired from Buffalo (Patrick Seiloff) to swap first round picks at least evened out the deal.
Well, this year there is an American equivalent named Connor Hurley. Conner played briefly in the USHL but spent most of his time playing for Edina High School in Minnesota.
Connor, like Janko, is the youngest player in this draft class and is ranked 45th overall by Central Scouting. Another parallel to last year's draft is that the Flames do not have a second round pick. Very similar situations.
Connor has enjoyed unequalled hype relative to other prospects on the Flames' website from Aaron Vickers (who I enjoy reading), and indeed unequaled by any other prospect projected to go in the second round on any of the sites I visit.
In a mock draft on the Flames' site (I believe it was Aaron's, but it may have been one of the others), Connor was projected to be taken by the Flames with the pick acquired from Pittsburgh in the Iginla trade.
I posted a comment that questioned the wisdom of burning a first round pick on another kid who is very young, with no experience in Major Junior and a scant few games in the USHL, especially with the level of talent available ranked to go in the first round.
The comment was almost immediately yanked.
Again Thursday, there was a piece penned by Vickers talking about Connor in which he said: "In fact, it's not out of the realm of possibility that the 6-foot-1, 172-pound forward goes in the first round".
Again I questioned the wisdom of taking a seventeen year old kid ranked 45th in the first round when it is such a crapshoot with eighteen year olds.r
And again...yep you guessed it; the comment was yanked almost immediately.
Now, these comments were respectfully written without any negativity directed toward Connor, without any prophanity and were clearly yanked because of content.r
So, are these endorsements being authored at the behest of the Flames to justify taking another flyer on this kid ala Jankowski, is Vickers promoting this kid solo, or is it just coincidence?
Come draft day we will see.
In an ESPN inspired review of last years draft, a group of NHL scouts re-evaluated the first round choices. Mark Jankowski was ranked two spots below where he was taken while Cody Ceci (Ottawa) and Brendan Gaunce (Vancouver) did not receive any votes in the top 50.