In the 2010 NHL draft, the Flames didn’t select anybody until the third round. They forfeited their first rounder (Brandon Gormley) to Phoenix in the Olli Jokinen trade after they decided to keep their 2009 first rounder, noted jerkbag Tim Erixon. Their second rounder ended up in Toronto, but was originally Chicago’s in exchange for the services of Rene Bourque.
The Flames didn’t pick anybody until pick #64, when they selected Max Reinhart. After Reinhart came Joey Leach. Then John Ramage, then Bill Arnold, then Michael Ferland, and to round things out, Patrick Holland.
Of these six picks, four are still with the Flames: Reinhart, Ramage, Arnold, and Ferland. Leach went unsigned, and has ended up on the Bakersfield Condors, the Oilers’ ECHL affiliate. Holland, meanwhile, is now a Montreal prospect; they received him in the trade that brought Mike Cammalleri and Karri Ramo to Calgary.
Of the four draft picks still with the Flames, two have already played NHL games, one appears to be on his way towards a good career, and one we’re jut not quite sure about yet.
Two or three or four for six (maybe): 33%, 50%, 67%
It’s unreasonable to expect all of your draft picks to pan out, and if there’s one in this group of four we can point to as unlikely, it’s Ramage. The defenceman had a relatively productive four-year college career with the University of Wisconsin, including a couple of stints at the World Juniors (during one of which he was the Americans’ captain) before the Flames signed him to an entry-level contract.
Ramage’s first professional year saw him play 50 games for the Heat, scoring just one assist before being sent down to the ECHL’s Alaska Aces. In six regular season games he scored just one goal before taking off for the playoffs. The Aces are currently playing for the Kelly Cup, the ECHL's championship, and Ramage has four goals and 13 points in 18 games as his team vies for the championship (they currently have a 2-1 series lead). Considering the Flames’ general lack of defence prospects, and this recent playoff run, he’ll likely get another shot in Glens Falls next season.
Michael Ferland, meanwhile, seemed to have finally found his professional legs before a knee injury cut his season short. He had six goals and 18 points in the 25 games he played this season, all of which came in his final 14 games before injury.
This comes off Ferland’s disaster of a first attempt at a professional season. Ferland, like Ryan Howse, struggled with fitness, and spent only seven games in the AHL, before being sent down for three games in the ECHL, before trekking back to junior and being traded to the Memorial Cup-hosting Saskatoon Blades before the Blades were swept in the first round of the WHL playoffs and fared poorly at the Memorial Cup.
He appears to have figured it out, though, and likely would have played his first NHL game this past season as an injury call up had he himself not been injured. Hopefully he’s able to pick up where he left off before his injury – he may have a shot at a bottom six role with the Flames.
Twenty combined NHL games
Bill Arnold has played one NHL game thus far. Max Reinhart has played 19. There’s a pretty good chance at least one will get NHL time next season, and maybe even both.
Arnold’s one game came in the Flames’ final game of the season, after he and Boston College teammate Johnny Gaudreau were quickly signed and whisked off to Calgary. He played 13:35 in his first game and had no points, although he did almost get his first goal. This comes off four successful seasons at BC, where he totalled 58 goals and 144 points over 159 games, and earned a reputation as a defensive forward. He’ll probably need time in the AHL to adjust to the pro game and pro season, but could very well play quite a few more NHL games next year.
Reinhart, meanwhile got less NHL time this season, but had a drastic improvement in his second AHL season. An increased shooting percentage, but consistency in shots taken, resulted in him tripling his points from his first professional season. As for his time in the NHL, while we haven’t seen much yet, he should be knocking on the door of getting a fulltime spot, probably in the bottom six, sooner rather than later. He received limited ice time in his stints with the Flames this season, but as one of the Heat’s top players, he’ll likely get a shot.
Was 2010 a good year?
The Flames didn’t pick until the third round, but they made that third rounder count. While Reinhart probably won’t become a key NHLer, he’ll still, in all likelihood, be a regular.
The future is less certain for their next pick, John Ramage at 103rd overall in the fourth round. Playing in the ECHL isn’t a great sign, but his playoff performance may drive him back into the American League, and he may just yet find a place there, to which he may further improve and find a spot as a depth NHL defender.
Bill Arnold, who was selected five picks after Ramage, has a brighter hockey future at this point, but he’s very fresh, and it’s difficult to get a proper read on him. Still, he had a great collegiate career, and a good first showing in his first game, so he should be a prospect to watch out for.
Finally, Ferland, the Flames’ fifth round selection at 133rd overall in 2010, is more of a wildcard. After coming up short for his first several games, he finished his season on a prolonged hot streak, but his season ended prematurely. He’s still taken massive strides from his first bid at professional hockey, and the Flames may find use for him yet (especially considering Burke and truculence and all that – Ferland would fit the bill).