After a long period of inactivity following the conclusion of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the NHL Entry Draft signals the beginning of a couple weeks of frenzied movement in the hockey world. Without a pick in the first or second rounds of the Draft (beginning at 5PM MT/7ET on TSN), this evening should be a fairly quiet one for the Flames--unless Sutter manages to swing a deal or two to acquire a higher pick. Having already stated that coming into possession of a first round selection would require moving a valuable roster player, Sutter doesn't appear to have any intentions of moving into the first round, but shifting some assets in return for a second round pick isn't entirely out of the question.
The Flames drafted slightly below league average from 1999-2005 (with the latter considered to be one of the worst drafts in recent team history), with 15.9% of their draft picks going on to play 200+ games in the NHL as opposed to 16.2%. 57.1% of their first round selections over the same time period established a career in the big league, also slightly below the league average of 61.1%, but drafted above the league average in the third round and beyond. Sutter only presided over three of those drafts, but that doesn't change the fact that only two of the players selected on his watch--Dustin Boyd and Dion Phaneuf--have reached the 200-game plateau, and both are no longer with the team. Having established that the Flames prefer to make their selections from the three CHL leagues, specifically the WHL, with thirteen of their thirty-four picks since the lockout coming from Western Canada and the United States' junior squads, I have profiled a series of players who could potentially fall into the Flames' hands tomorrow afternoon when they make their first selection with the 64th overall pick, with the majority of them having played at least one season of Canadian Major Junior hockey. I thought I'd poll the masses on the player most likely to be selected with the Flames' first pick in the Draft:
For those of your watching the proceedings at home, please participate in the open thread and add any musings of interest in the comments, and also visit FlamesNation's liveblog hosted by the Fan 960's Pat Steinberg, who is live on location at the Staples Centre in Los Angeles. Enjoy the Draft everyone!