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Calgary, AB • Canada • 31 Years Old • Male

Huge Draft For The Flames

Posted 10:13 AM ET | Comments 6
I apologize for not posting this earlier than a few hours before the draft. Better late than never, right?

I used to scoff at those diehards who sat through the entire NHL draft (especially considering that typically, the first 5-10 picks aren't that hard to predict). But this year, the relative desperateness of the Flames' prospect pool - and future as a whole - has caused me to become much more anxious about the draft than usual. Don't get me wrong, I have always realized that the draft is the single most important factor in building a winning team. But let's just say that when your organization is ranked 24th out of 30 by Hockey's Future.com, there is a greater compulsion to plop yourself in front of TSN for two hours on a Friday in June.

The Flames pick 17th today, the same position as last year. Darryl Sutter has said he's "comfortable" with this position but has hinted at trading up or down (like virtually every other GM). Last year, he traded down for the 24th and 70th pick, which allowed him to take the players highest on his board, Mikael Backlund and John Negrin. However, I'd be surprised if Sutter traded down again, unless he can get a 2nd rounder in the deal, which is unlikely.

The draft is an area of hockey where my knowledge is admittedly small. Virtually all of the information I know about prospects, I find out through mass media scouting reports (mostly websites such as HF). With that in mind, I am on the Joe Colborne bandwagon for the Flames' pick. HF and Pierre McGuire both predicted the Flames would draft him at 17, and looking at the prospect rankings, I don't think there will be a more suitable player available. What's there not to like about Colborne? He's a Calgary kid who grew up cheering for the Flames. He's been compared to Joe Thornton. Neither the fact that he comes from a multimillionaire family or his first round status seems to have gone to his head. The only knock against him I've read is that he has not learned to take advantage of his huge frame yet, but he's heading to the NCAA so he'll have plenty of time to adapt his game. Of course, his NCAA status means that the Flames won't get a really good look at him for at least three years, but this would be a long term investment worth taking.

Whether or not the Flames pick the hometown kid or not, though, one thing is clear to me: the Flames need the best natural scorer they can get. Their prospect pool is full of defencemen, goalies, and third to fourth line "leader" or energy guys, but little scoring. Scott Cruickshank joked about this in his pre-draft article yesterday: for all the attention on Colborne, the Flames' draft record makes them more likely to pick a defenceman or goalie. Suffice to say, if Sutter picks a defenceman or goaltender, I will want to puke. And I might actually puke if he picks another one projected for the second or third round.

Although the Flames' position is hardly a historical hotbed for superstars, I get the feeling the lower rounds will end up being much more important for the Flames. They have no second rounder this year, having given that up to the Kings for Craig Conroy last year. This draft is being called the deepest since 2003 by every analyst, but regardless, I've been wondering how having no second rounder will affect the Flames. Last year, the Ducks traded down three spots from no. 16 and got a second rounder out of the deal, so the possibility of getting a 2nd through a trade down isn't entirely out of the question. However, I think trading a player for a 2nd would be a more likely trade, namely Alex Tanguay. If Darryl Sutter hopes to get draft picks for Tanguay from this year's draft, he needs to convince him to waive his no-trade clause by tomorrow.

In total, the Flames hold eight selections: the no. 17, no. 78, no. 108, no. 114 (the only compensation for the Brad Stuart trade), no. 138, no. 168 and no. 198. I'll buck my usual norm and be brief here: if the Flames screw up this draft, the scouting staff should be gutted.


(I was in the process of writing a mock draft but ended up admitting to myself, "I have no clue", around pick 16. Here's a no-explanation, quick and dirty top 10 anyway: 1. TB - Stamkos, 2. LA - Doughty, 3. ATL - Bogosian, 4. STL - Filatov, 5. NYI - Pietrangelo, 6. CBJ - Schenn, 7. TOR - Wilson, 8. PHX - Boedker, 9. NSH - Hodgson, 10. VAN - Myers.)
June 20, 2008 5:30 PM ET | Delete
It's such a crap shoot, and in two years when someone chosen late first or early second a la Paul Stastny erupts, we'll all be pointing fingers at the scouting staff for not "knowing" he would be that good! Joe Colborne is a very logical selection for the Flames and I'd love to have a big scoring guy like that, but I don't see Sutter looking to get a developmental prospect in the 1st Round. I think he's going to go more for a guy who will need one more year of Junior/Europe and then be ready to compete for solid playing time. The guys that I would think he will be leaning towards are Tedenby and Nemisz, while hoping that possibly one of Beach, Boedker or Boychuk fall to 17. If we go for Colborne, I would expect he will trade down with someone like NJ to grab him... I personally have him slotted to go to the Oilers at 22. And yeah, I'll be buckled down watching the whole damn thing tonight too, because let's face it, with Taratukhin and Ryder out of our system, all of a sudden our prospect status is even worse than it was before.
June 20, 2008 6:45 PM ET | Delete
Huge Draft? Why are the flamers going to have two first round picks make it this decade?
June 20, 2008 7:08 PM ET | Delete
Looks like according to TSN they just traded Tanguay to Montreal. We were just talking about that a couple weeks back remember? Great move to get rid of that salary.
June 20, 2008 8:22 PM ET | Delete
it is a big draft, I like the moves in picking up cammalleri and ridding ourselves of tangues contract while still kepping a first round pick. I think they have a player in mind and didn't mind dropping to get him. a skilled forward is all they can pick though so it should be interesting to see what they get!
June 20, 2008 8:59 PM ET | Delete
Wow. Essentially, the Flames traded Tanguay for Cammelleri. (Not entirely "straight up", but pretty close). Big picture is that it really only saves 2 million dollars in cap, but we get a younger player with a huge upside. If Cammy can do what he did for the first couple months last season on a more consistent basis...great move. (We need some serious help on wing now though...yikes...)
June 21, 2008 2:03 PM ET | Delete
Cammalleri for Tanguay is a good move, but this leaves Calgary pretty light on the RW with Huselius and Tanguay gone. I'm expecting Sutter to sign a big UFA to play on the 1st line RW.
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