July 31 in 31: Calgary Flames

by Joel Henderson on July 5, 2017

2017 Calgary Flames:

Due to the acquisitions of Michael Stone and Curtis Lazar, the Flames had five selections in this year's draft. The Flames have created a draft pattern in the last few seasons with regard to how they select in rounds 5-7. They like to grab players who had seemingly fallen potentially since midseason in rankings (Mitchell Mattson, Adam Ollas-Mattson), some small skilled forwards with high offensive potential (Matthew Phillips, Andrew Mangiapane), closer to home projects (Pavel Karnaukov, Austin Carroll), and big projects (Stepan Falkovsky, Riley Bruce).  

From the prospects listed above, I think it's safe to say that Flames should lean away from the bigger projects and close to home projects and steer towards the smaller skilled forwards or the once highly thought of prospects.  

With quite a bit of focus being put towards the trade for Hamonic, there was little to no talk of the potential of trading up or down in this draft. Flames opted to simply draft where their picks were and not drop down to gather some more picks they gave up via trade. Lets see how they did in the 2017 draft.

When it came time for the Flames to draft, they opted to grab the best player available on most scouting lists. Valimaki came over to North America after being selected 14th overall in the 2015 CHL Import draft. He was expected to contribute fairly early. He did just that by being Tri-City's second best offensive blueliner that year only behind Parker Wotherspoon. He went from 32 points to 61 this past campaign and showing his love for pinching in and catching opponents off guard. This is a great selection for a Calgary team that already has quite a few prospects who are pushing for an NHL role from the backend. Valimaki has the potential to jump over most of them.  

 

There is a lot to like about the real life and fantasy potential of the good sized Finn. He will need to continue to develop his strength and defensive tendencies but was much improved in choosing spots to pinch or jump in the rush. He is a strong skater and uses his high hockey IQ to make quick outlet passes and turn the play back in the offensive zone immediately.  

 

Things to watch for 

 

1. With the expectation of going back to the WHL, does Valimaki have even more offensive ability in him? It could be an interesting watch for significant development without teamamte Parker Wotherspoon 

 

2. Valimaki doesn't have much time off from July to September. With Development camp, Summer Showcase with Finland in Michigan, and then the Young Stars Classic, Valimaki has his hands full. If his goal is to be strong enough to compete come main camp, he might not have much time to bask in the sun.  

 

3. His goal is to make Calgary's roster. Long shot…. but with Bennett, Tkachuk, and Monahan all pushing the fold after being drafted, does it even make sense for Treliving to entertain the idea? 

 

————————–

 

Adam Ruzicka, C, Round 4 – 109th OV 

 

Since Calgary had to watch 92 players get selected since their first round pick, they grabbed someone who obviously the thought to be much higher on their list. Ruzicka is the classic Flames sliding player pick. In October, Sportsnet had him ranked 19th overall due to his size and offensive potential. With many bigger players, skating can be an issue at times especially with his first step. If Calgary can coach him into consistently taking his big frame into some of the dirty areas, his offensive numbers could improve drastically.  

 

Things to watch for:

 

  1. He had a hard time adjusting to the CHL but still personally projects himself at having a chance to break the Flames roster in 2 years.  

  2. Probably his best hockey of the year was during the U18's. He will have significant opportunities moving forward during the WJC U20.  

  3. Pavel Zacha had 64 points in 51 games for Sarnia before he made the jump to the NHL. Let's see if Ruzicka can match those numbers.  

——————————-

 

Zach Fischer, RW, Round 5, 140th OV 

 

This is a bit of an over-ager pick than Flames had attempted in the past. Fischer collected 145 PIM while maintaining a PPG pace. He is a bit of a late developer and plays a fairly typical power forward game. He has the option to join the AHL or to go back to the WHL and see how dominant he can be among his peers. While not the flashiest of players, he is an interesting risk for a Flames team who has had a hard time finding RW's who are pushing for NHL jobs. This is the type of player Calgary fans might want to buy tickets and go evaluate in person.  

 

Things to watch for: 

 

  1. If he returns to the WHL, will his PP time increase? Will he gather top line minutes? His numbers could improve.  

  2. Fischer will be 20 on July 19th so his development path might come quicker than you think.  

—————————-

 

D'Artagnan Joly, RW, Round 6, 171st OV 

 

The Calgary QMJHL scouts really pushed for this kid. What a riser! The biggest compliment I can give is that he can play multiple styles of play, allowing him the versatility of linemates. He can carry the puck into the offensive zone or retrieve the puck after a dump in. There is no rush with him. He will take some time to learn fundamentals.  

 

Things to watch for: 

 

  1. Will Baie-Comeau improve enough to make his offensive numbers hype worthy? 

  2. This is only Calgary's 4th draft pick from the QMJHL in the last 10 years. The last one being Mason McDonald in 2014. Will Calgary continue to look for raw talent in the QMJHL in future seasons? 

————————–

 

Filip Sveningsson, LW, Round 7, 202nd OV

 

He played two games in the SHL this past year. That's not nothing. He is quite the skater and tenacious forechecker. He has a hard release on his wrist shot and isn't afraid of the gritty stuff. Lots of room for his speed to make him deadly. His best potential attribute is that isn't content to hang around the exterior. This will help him down the line.  

 

Things to watch for: 

 

  1. He does have some international experience, but can he make Sweden's U20 team?

  2. Will he take the next step forward and become an everyday player for HV71? 

——————–

 

Off Season Changes: 

 

In: Hamonic, Smith, Lack, Foo, Healey, HrivikGazdic 

 

Out: Elliott, Johnson, Bouma, Smid, Wideman, Chaisson, Bollig, Murphy, Kanzig, Hickey, Vey, Morrison, Kostka, Culkin, Wolf, McCollum,  

 

 

Calgary is parting ways with a lot of their heavy weighing contracts. Their net is a completely different duo, and some of the backend prospects have been traded out to make room for others to find an everyday spot in Stockton.  

 

Heading into Development Camp, Calgary fans should watch the invites closely. Spencer Foo and Josh Healey were camp invites last year and they are both back with fresh new contracts.  

 

Included are three past 2015 draft picks from other clubs: Sam Dove-McFalls, Brad Morrison, and Glenn Gawdin 

 

Other invites: Mark Rassell, Sebastian Vidmar, Connor Mackey, Mitch Reinke, Nick Wolff, Tyler Busch, Ben Hawerchuk, Jeff Malott, Alex Smith, Max Veronneau, Sam Ruopp and Josh Teves.  

 

Thanks for reading!

You can follow my updates at @dathockeydoe on Twitter.