I have come to enjoy listening to Jay Feaster talk about his teams draft strategy, even though it involved a story of them being WAY too close to not drafting SVEN last year. They still did and we're all very happy for it... including them.
Using all of my collective intel; which consists of theories bantered about on twitter, drunk conversations with pals and general bizarro game plans concocted in my own brain while driving to and from work - I've come up with a couple of scenarios to run past our readers at M&G to see what everyone thinks.
WHAT I WOULD DO-
In a draft chalk full of good, young defensive talent and a largely unpredictable board, I'd be resigned to sit back and wait for the free faller. We've seen it in each of the past several drafts (our own SVEN, Ryan Murphy, Cam Fowler etc ... and to be honest, free falling may not be the right term there but ya get my drift) with one or more of the highly touted prospects falling into the 10-15 range and with the total lack of consensus surrounding this years draft I think the Flames are best suited to wait and see which of those top guys happens to fall into their laps at 14.
Unfortunately, I don't see the likes of Mikael Grigorenko, Alex Galchenyuk or Radek Faksa getting out of the top 10 and I'm not entirely sure a defenseman with the potential to slip, other than maybe Morgan Reilly, is worth the 14th selection.
With that in mind, and depending on who's draft projections you're looking at, I expect this forward to be available at number 14.
I'd take Zemgus Girgensons.
WHAT THEY WILL DO-
Jay Feaster said in his pre-draft interview that I heard on 960 that they too also transcribe to the belief that there is more value in taking forwards in the first round than defense. However, all the rumblings I hear are that they are considering defense with that number 14 pick. And, honestly, I don't have a ton of faith - as you all know - in the men leading the charge for the Flames... and the rumor I heard came from the real man in charge, Ken King, so I'm leaning in that direction.
They'll take the best available defenseman, they're hoping Cody Ceci but are also targeting Derrick Pouliot.
WHAT THEY SHOULD DO-
In a draft that certainly doesn't impress me, not even all that much in the top 5, I'd rather stockpile options than put all my chips into one guy in the middle of the first round.
Without a doubt, they should be trying to trade down and gain another 2nd round pick. I'm eying Tampa Bay with the 19th and 40th picks.
Under this scenario, the Flames will get two good prospects with not very much difference in actual skill level and potential. A guy like Girgensons could fall to 19 and, if not, a Pontus Aberg, Sebastian Collberg or Brendan Gaunce will be waiting for them.
The Flames should trade down to 19 and take the best available foward; Girgensons, Aberg, Collberg or Gaunce.