The Flames came into the 2016 draft with a pile of draft picks. At the trade deadline, GM Treliving made sure to move expiring contracts to stockpile picks for the future. Here's a bit of a look at who they added.
If you were following closely, GM Treliving was having conversations with everyone under the sun about the potential of trading up or down in this draft including EDM and CBJ. It was pretty clear that Calgary wanted a bigger body (6'2, 200) to play in the top-6, and if five forwards were taken with the first five picks, Flames would have a tough choice. After the smoke cleared, Matthew Tkachuk was available and Calgary is happy to have him.
Matthew Tkachuk is the son of former NHL player, Keith Tkachuk and put up 107 points in 57 games in the regular season for the London Knights. He collected a bronze medal at the WJC and scored the game winning goal in the Memorial Cup, while playing along side a smattering of future NHL players. While some scouts have reservations of his inflated stats from playing with top players, others see it as a wonderful gift. He has soft hands, drive the net hard, and can score goals from tipping in pucks, snipe goals in close, or cash in on rebounds. He has outstanding vision though as well which might make him more of a playmaker if anything. Tkachuk is a gritty, well balanced, power forward who works incredibly hard and seems to have fallen into the laps of Calgary. This is almost identical to how they got Sam Bennett.
Matthew has already spoke about being asked to potentially moving to the RW. This makes sense moving forward, but if he gets sent back to junior which position will be continue to develop?
GM Treliving has spoken about the importance of creating line pairings in Calgary. Bennett is someone he has mentioned that has yet to find a pairing with.
Tyler Parsons, G, 54th Overall. (pick acquired from Florida for Jiri Hudler)
When you look at the Memorial Cup Champion, London Knights, it's tough to see Parsons among all that future NHL talent. When you do focus on him, you see his athleticism, his strong pushes post to post, his ability to take away high scoring chances, and how well he has continued to improve his rebound control throughout the year. He still has plenty to improve and refine, but his season was a great one (37-9-3, 2.33 GAA, .921) and playoffs were even better (16-1-1, 2.15 GAA, .925).
Parsons went to Team USA WJC 2016 camp this past season before being sent home. He will be high on their radar moving forward.
While some stars will be leaving London, the addition of Janne Kuokkanen (2016, Carolina) in the import draft, and maybe adding Jack Roslovic (2015, Winnipeg) will help considerably.
Dillon Dube, C, 56th Overall (pick acquired from Dallas for Kris Russell)
This undersized (5'11, 182) C has no off button when it comes to relentless forechecking and battling around the net. Dube has a high hockey IQ and great vision which would make him a natural playmaker. The problem is, he loves to shoot the puck. Wait… no this isn't a problem. He has a heavy shot and has the ability to absolutely snipe goals. If his consistency can improve, this will be a fantastic selection for the Flames as he could line up as a 2nd or 3rd line future forward.
While he finished slightly over a PPG (66 in 65 games) he started off the year very hot and production seemed to slow down throughout the second half. He tied for eighth on Kelowna playoff scoring (2g-5a-7p, in 18 games) which is a cause for concern.
His draft ranking was all over the place. Craig Button had Dube ranked 16th in January and 28th on his final rankings. What you can take from this is, Dube has a lot of potential.
From the initials DD, I really want to call him Darkwing Duck.
Adam Fox, D, 66th Overall Pick
Who holds the record for single-season points by a defenceman for the NTDP (59 in 64)? It's fairly easy to guess. Fox also managed to lead all D in scoring during the IIHF U18 tournament which led to him being named the tournaments best defenceman. His offensive potential is sky high, but he has a lot of work to do in the defensive zone. Take a deep breath, Fox will be attending Harvard and Flames shouldn't have any reason to rush his development. He is still average sized (5'10, 185), but his fantasy value potential is sky high due to his ability to quarter-back a PP.
He will have strong consideration for IIHF tournaments for the US. Expect him to compete in future events.
Fox has been verbally committed to Harvard since he was 15. If Fox's numbers don't jump off the chart right away next season, it will be because his minutes are based off of his development in the D-zone, which is great.
Linus Lindstrom, C, 96th Overall Pick
Notice the trend for skill among the Flames picks this season. Lindstrom gathered 44 points in 40 games for Skelleftea J20 and was called up for four games to play against men. He is still considered a small forward (5'11, 164) but has a well developing all around game. His strengths include his vision and playmaking abilities, especially from the half-wall on the PP, as well as the accuracy of his wrist shot. His already very defensively responsible game should continue to develop as he adds strength and north-south skating ability.
Linus could continue his development in multiple leagues. If he ends up back in SHL, it will be because they want him to learn how to play against men. Same could be said for bringing him to the AHL right away.
He has played internationally for Sweden on multiple occasions including scoring the shootout winner against Canada in the U18 semi-finals.
Mitchell Mattson, C, 126th Overall Pick
Mattson is a big (6'4, 186) C, who is considered a true prospect. His high-scoring, high-school abilities had him on the radar for Mr. Hockey award, but his inconsistent play and raw body-type had scouts dropping him down their lists. If he can continue to use his puck-possession skills down low along side his puck creativity, he would be a steal of a prospect at this point due to him already having a strong ability two-ways.
Mattson has a tough transition from USHS to USHL this season, only collecting three points in 31 games (reg + playoffs).
Don't panic if his numbers aren't off the chart for Bloomington Thunder of the USHL next season as he might need some time to adjust, but they could be nice.
"I do have a lot of work to do, though" – Mitchell Mattson
Eetu Tuuola, RW, 156th Overall Pick
This big-bodied (6'2, 227) right-handed shot is tough to play against because he plays a heavy game. His fore-checking abilities and deceptive snapshot made him very effective on the third line for Finland at the U18s. He really needs to work on his first few steps but he does have fantasy potential as a third-line NHLer who racks up the hits and contributes offensively.
He will most likely be coming over to play for Everett in the WHL. Other options include Finland and Stockton, but I'd expect the WHL at this point.
He believes in himself and his future. He will become a fan favorite wherever he goes.
Matthew Phillips, C, 166th Overall (pick received from David Jones trade)
A late-round selection from the Flames purely based on size (5'7, 145). If I never mentioned how small he was, you'd wonder how Calgary got the WHL Rookie of the Year (76 points in 72 games) so late in the draft. He still has plenty of obstacles to overcome and as a fantasy asset, consider him a long-shot. A high reward, long-shot.
He loves Calgary and admires Johnny Gaudreau. Expect him to glean a few things off of him.
"Will he stay healthy?" Is as good of a question as "Will he improve on his stats?". He never missed a game due to injury last season playing with big bodied D-men.
Stepan Falkovsky, D, 186th Overall Pick
There are way too many potential puns. Big skater. Large Improvements. The usual concerns for players of his size (6'7, 224) have to do with skating, but he has vastly improved. He should continue to develop his physical edge but has shown growth in defensive positioning and using his stick effectively. While he still needs to work on all areas, it was a solid rookie season in NA. He could potentially become a bottom-pairing NHL defenseman who keeps pace and adds offence.
Flames have drafted a few large defenders. If he is signed and turns pro, he will have competition for specific roles.
Now that he's a drafted prospect, look for reports on improvements being made. Could improve on his offensive numbers too.
Question of the day: How often do Tod Button (Flames Director of Scouting) and Craig Button talk?
Here are Craig's Final 100 rankings compared to the Flames selections.
Matthew Tkachuk – 6th OV (ranked 5th by Button)
Dillon Dube – 56th OV (ranked 28th)
Matthew Phillips – 166th OV (ranked 33rd)
Mitchell Mattson – 126th OV (ranked 37th)
Adam Fox – 66th OV (ranked 38th)
Linus Lindstrom – 96th OV (ranked 89th)
Flames drafted five players in his Top-38.
Development Camp invites:
Braydon Burke, Justin Doucette, Sheldon Rempal; who are playing among the Top 3 teams for camp.
Team 4 is made up entirely of invites with the exception of G, Tyler Parsons.
Roster includes: Thomas Aldworth, Brad Bowles, Spencer Foo, Dennis Kravchenko, Mathieu Sevigny, Josh Healy, and Jared Wilson.
This could be it's own article.
Flames have decided to part ways with the "depth" they made a priority to acquire a few years ago. They are still looking to add depth at the RW position as well as drafting C was clearly a need they addressed. After Stockton missed the playoffs, they wanted to give new pros and second year players time to grow and shine. This will mean more opportunity for past first-round forwards like Poirier, Klimchuk, and Jankowski.
Out: Grant, Elson, Agostino, Arnold, Shore, Poulin, Van Brabant, Jooris, Colborne, Ortio, Sieloff, Nakladal,
In: Vey, Brouwer, Chiasson, Johnson. Pribyl
Flames are expecting a number of prospects to turn pro full-time this season which could include Jankowski, Mangiapane, Pollock, Kanzig, McDonald, Andersson, and other options include recent draft picks Tkachuk, Lindstrom, and Tuuola.
Thanks for reading. Currently, the Calgary Flames have made lots of changes and Stockton's dynamics will be very different.
Joel Henderson @dathockeydoe