Last year, Sean Monahan could not be sent to the AHL. He either had to stay in the NHL with the Flames or be returned to Ottawa in the OHL. But next season he can be assigned to the minors, no problem (albeit, highly unlikely). Emile Poirier is also eligible to play in the AHL in 2014-15 yet Morgan Klimchuk cannot. Thus, the third member of that trio of heralded 1st round draft picks in 2013, is a virtual lock to return to the WHL.
If a player does not turn 20 by Dec. 31, he is not eligible to play in the American Hockey League that season. This rule, which NHL teams and their prospects would probably both like to see done away with, is part of a NHL-CHL transfer agreement that is intended to protect the player, but more than anything, benefits his junior team, which often can end up with a player that is ready to play at a higher level (i.e. AHL), but is not yet ready to play at the highest level (i.e. NHL).
- Can - Sean Monahan, Emile Poirier, Eric Roy (but would have to sign a contract first)
- Cannot - Morgan Klimchuk, Keegan Kanzig
Looking at the top-ranked players from the CHL for the upcoming draft, here is when they would be eligible to play in the AHL:
- 2015-16 - Sam Reinhart, Leon Draisaitl, Nick Ritchie
- 2016-17 - Sam Bennett, Aaron Ekblad, Michael Dal Colle
I doubt this rule is going to influence which player a team is going to draft at the upcoming draft but at the same time, whoever drafts Sam Bennett -- as an example, could end up with an interesting dilemma come October 2015. I don't see a scenario where Bennett is ready and plays next season in the NHL. But one year from now, where he would then have three full OHL seasons under his belt, his team -- potentially the Flames -- are going to have to decide if he's ready to jump straight to the NHL or go back to the OHL for a fourth season.
- 1st round, 6th - C Daniel Tkaczuk 19 gm, 4-7-11 with Calgary
- 2nd round, 32nd - G Evan Lindsay
- 2nd round, 42nd - D John Tripp, 43 gm, 2-7-9 with NY Rangers, Los Angeles
- 2nd round, 51st - D Dmitry Kokorev
- 3rd round, 60th - C Derek Schutz
- 3rd round, 70th - C Erik Andersson 12 gm, 2-1-3 with Calgary
(Here's my feature on Poirier from April as he talked about his huge year and I compare how similar he is in many ways to his favourite player growing up, Alexei Kovalev.)
- 2004 - Round 6, 173rd - D Adam Pardy (147 gm, 4-22-26),
- 2002 - Round 3, 90th - C Matthew Lombardi (347 gm, 65-102-167)
- 1998 - Round 4, 108th - G Dany Sabourin (4 gm, 0-3-0, 3.57 GAA)
- 1996 - Round 2, 40th - LW Steve Begin (159 gm, 15-11-26)
- 1995 - Round 1, 20th - D Denis Gauthier (384 gm, 13-45-58)
R - Rangers
As previously mentioned, the Flames have not had a top-five draft pick since relocating to Calgary in 1980 and are the only franchise that can claim that. Second on that list is the New York Rangers, who have had just one top-five pick over that same 34-year span.
S - Stralman
- One of only three times in Calgary history that the Flames didn't have a 1st round pick (also 1982 and 1989).
- The only time in franchise history the Flames have never had a draft pick in the 1st or 2nd round.
- The Flames lowest first pick in franchise history.
In what would be Sutter's last draft as Flames GM, Calgary selected centre Max Reinhart from the Kootenay Ice with that pick, which was 64th overall. While things weren't looking so good after his first pro season, Reinhart had a breakout season last year tripling his goals and points total with Abbotsford.
(Here's my feature on Reinhart from April as he talked about his year, changes he had made, and looked ahead to the future.)
T - Tanguay
Here's the full list of established Flames players, who have been dealt at the draft in exchange for a draft pick (or player and a draft pick).
- June 20, 2008 - Flames traded Alex Tanguay and a 5th round pick to Montreal for a 1st round pick (25th) in 2008 and a 2nd round pick in 2009.
- June 22, 2007 – Flames traded Andrei Zyuzin along with minor leaguer Steve Marr, in exchanged for Adrian Aucoin and a 7th round draft pick.
- July 29, 2005* - Flames traded Mike Commodore to Carolina in exchange for a 3rd round pick.
- June 23, 2001 - Flames traded Valeri Bure and Jason Wiemer to Florida for Rob Niedermayer and 2nd round pick.
- June 23, 2001 - Flames traded Fred Brathwaite, Daniel Tkaczuk, and Sergei Varlamov and a 9th round pick to St. Louis in exchange for Roman Turek and a 4th round pick.
- June 26, 1993 - Flames traded Craig Berube for a 5th round pick
- June 16, 1990 - Flames traded Joe Mullen to Pittsburght for a 2nd round pick
- June 15, 1990* - Flames traded Brad McCrimmon to Detroit for a 2nd round pick
- June 16, 1989* - Flames traded Rob Ramage for a 2nd round pick
- June 15, 1985 - Flames traded Kent Nilsson and a 1986 3rd round pick to Minnesota in exchange for a 2nd round pick (in 1985) and a 2nd round pick in 1987.
- June 9, 1982 - Flames traded Ken Houston and Pat Riggin to Washington in exchange for Howard Walker, George White, a 6th round pick (in 1982), a 3rd round pick in 1983 and a 2nd round pick in 1984
- June 7, 1982** - Flames traded Willi Plett and a 4th round pick in exchange for a 2nd round pick, plus Steve Christoff and Bill Nyrop.
** Trade occurred two days before the draft
The Flames distance from the salary cap floor for 2014-15 may preclude them from shipping away a veteran player for a draft pick at this year's draft coming up on June 27 and 28 in Philadelphia but you never know. There are also prospects like Sven Baertschi to keep in mind.
Considering the recent arrival of another small left-wing in Johnny Gaudreau and the Flames management team's continually reiterated desire to get bigger. Also, given how last year went for Baertschi, nobody should be shocked if he's dealt at some point and maybe it could be soon if GM Brad Treliving gets an offer he likes. Perhaps it's an opportunity to move Baertschi and an existing pick in exchange for a higher pick.
U – Under-appreciated
- 2012 - Round 2, 42nd - D Patrick Sieloff
- 2011 - Round 2, 45th - C Markus Granlund
- 2011 - Round 2, 57th - D Tyler Wotherspoon
In fact, with Sieloff coming on the heels of Mark Jankowski in the 1st round and Granlund/Wotherspoon coming after Sven Baertschi was grabbed in round one, you could say at this stage that these three 2nd round picks are tracking better than the 1st round picks over those two years.
V - VolekIn the role of European Pro Scout, former New York Islander David Volek is one of many employed by the Flames organization in a scouting capacity. The group is a mixture of former NHL players, former junior players/coaches and/or siblings of notable NHL players/executives.
Here’s the full list of the Flames scouting staff and their areas of responsibility. They would all report up to Todd Woodcroft, Scouting Director, and Tod Button, Director of Amateur Scouting:
- Mike Adessa - High School, NCAA Scout
- Frank Anzalone - NCAA Scout
- Brandon Benning - Western Scout (son of Vancouver Canucks GM Jim Benning)
- Jim Cummins - USHL, High School, NCAA Scout (511 games with Det, Phi, TB, Chi, Phx, Mtl, Ana, NYI, Col)
- Michel Goulet - Pro Scout (1,089 games with Que, Chi. Scored 548 goals)
- Ari Haanpaa - European Amateur Scout (60 games with NYI)
- Bobbie Hagelin - European Amateur Scout (older brother of NYR forward Carl Hagelin)
- Steve Leach - Pro Scout (702 games with Wsh, Bos, Stl, Car, Ott, Phx, Pit)
- Bob MacMillan - QMJHL Scout (753 games with NYR, STl, Atl/Cal, Col, NJ, Chi)
- Fred Parker - OHL/QMJHL Scout
- Steve Pleau - Pro Scout (son of long-time St. Louis Blues executive Larry Pleau)
- Rob Sumner - WHL Scout
- Ritchie Thibeau - QMJHL Scout
- David Volek - European Pro Scout (396 games with NYI)
- Tom Webster - OHL Scout (454 NHL/WHA games with Bos, Det, California, NE, Det)
W – WHL
- WHL – 33
- OHL – 12
- QMJHL – 5
Over that span, if you look at the players that have gone on to play 60+ games in the NHL, the disparity is far less:
- WHL – 4
- OHL – 3
- QMJHL – 1
If you were strictly number crunching, the suggestion here would be to not get too hung up on the province in which players are born. We love our prairie boys and all, but don't have blinders on.
X – X-FactorThe one thing we've learned is that while some teams are much better at it than others, the NHL Draft is hardly an exact science and is very much a crapshoot. You can review all the scouting information and statistical analysis you want but you never know for sure who is going to make it. Mark Giordano is one of the best examples of that.
Giordano was arguably the Flames best player last season, he's the team captain, he was in the Norris Trophy conversation this year, he was also in the running to make the Canadian Olympic team. Yet, he wasn't drafted at all. In 2002 when he was first draft eligible, 89 defencemen were selected that year -- and he wasn't one of them. He was eligible again in 2003 when the names of another 85 defencemen were called. Again, no one took a chance on Giordano, who was playing for Owen Sound in the OHL.
He's not alone either. Flames alternate captain Curtis Glencross is another player that went undrafted.
If you look back over the years, some of the Flames top draft picks were late round picks and guys that ended up having much longer and more distinguished careers compared to most of the 'can't miss' players taken long before them:
- Theoren Fleury, 8th round
- Brett Hull, 6th round
- Gary Suter, 9th round
- Hakan Loob, 9th round
Then there is that talented player you draft like Flames 1986 4th round pick Tom Quinlan. The right-winger, who was a star in high school, would go on to make it to the big leagues alright, only on a ball diamond instead. Quinlan played four seasons in the Major Leagues as a third baseman, including a stint for the Toronto Blue Jays.
Also not to be dismissed -- another x-factor, is the element of luck -- or bad luck as it would seem to be for the Flames.
- George Pelawa - Drafted in the 1st round, 16th overall, in 1986. The big 6-foot-3 right winger, a three-sport star in high school in Minnesota -- who had also been scouted by the Minnesota Twins, died in an auto accident less than three months after being drafted.
- Mickey Renaud - The Flames 5th round pick in 2007 was the captain of the OHL's Windsor Spitfires. Tragically, the 6-foot-2 centre died suddenly on Feb. 18, 2008, the result of a rare heart condition.
Y – Yuri
As it turns out, the whole lot of them played a combined zero NHL games with Taratukin the only one that even made it to North America leaving Yaroslavl to play a single season in the AHL in Omaha, Nebraska. That 2006-07 season saw him play alongside the likes of Carsen Germyn, David Van Der Gulik, Warren Peters, Cam Cunning, Tomi Maki, Brett Palin and Kris Chucko. Brandon Prust and David Moss were also on that team. If playing ice hockey in Nebraska isn't an odd enough scenario in itself, how about doing so after playing your whole life in Russia. That had to be quite the culture shock.
Z - ZyuzinCalgary has never picked in the top five at the NHL Draft, but top-five draft picks have played for Calgary. In fact, there have been 15 of them over the years including four players that were selected first overall (which is an excellent trivia question you really must try out on your friends.)
- 1992 - D Roman Hamrlik (05-06 to 06-07) 126 games, 14-50-64
- 1990 - RW Owen Nolan (07-08) 77 games, 16-16-32
- 1979 - D Rob Ramage (87-88 to 88-89) 80 games, 4-19-23
- 1975 - C Mel Bridgman (81-82 to 82-83) 142 games, 45-80-125
- 1996 - D Andrei Zyuzin (06-07) 49 games, 1-5-6
- 2002 - D Jay Bouwmeester (09-10 to 11-12) 279 games, 18-79-97
- 1998 - D Brad Stuart (06-07) 27 games, 0-5-5
- 1997 - C Olli Jokinen (08-09 to 11-12) 236 games, 59-106-165
- 1972 - C Don Lever (80-81 to 81-82) 85 games, 34-42-76
- 1986 - D Zarley Zalapski (93-94 to 97-98) 178 games, 21-55-76
- 1982 - C Ron Sutter (00-01) 21 games, 1-3-4
- 1973 - RW Lanny McDonald (81-82 to 88-89) 492 games, 215-191-406
- 1995 - C Daymond Langkow (05-06 to 10-11) 392 games, 123-165-288
- 1993 - C Rob Niedermayer (01-02 to 02-03) 111 games, 14-24-38
- 1985 - D Dana Murzyn (87-88 to 90-91) 201 games, 16-39-55
This is a two-part feature. To read Part 1 -- the A-to-M portion, you can click right here.
Related Calgary Flames Reading:
- Is Mikael Backlund a $5-million Player? He's not right now but I explain why he might very well command that type of salary come the summer of 2015 when his current two-year/$3-million contract expires. Have a read and you'll be convinced also.
- AHL Graduation Day: In the past five seasons -- a sign of how thin the cupboards have been, just four Flames players have graduated from the AHL to the NHL. But next season alone, there could be as many as four or five. I take a closer look at who has the best chance.
- Introducing the 2014-15 Adirondack Flames: I take an educated early guess at the make-up of the debut edition of the Flames AHL affiliate in Glens Falls, New York. Will Johnny Gaudreau be on that team or will he be in the NHL? How about Sven Baertschi? Markus Granlund? Joni Ortio? Read and find out.