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Flames select Riley Bruce at 196th overall

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It's been a thrilling, busy day for the Flames, but with this huge pick, it's finally over.

Rick Denham

The Calgary Flames have had a hell of a draft. They sacrificed their top three picks for Dougie Hamilton, which was an outstanding move. They then collected a pair of Swedish defencemen with high ceilings late in the second round in Rasmus Andersson and Oliver Kylington. They turned to home with Calgary Hitmen forward Pavel Karnaukhov, and went back to a high ceiling pick with Andrew Mangiapane in the sixth round.

Finally, in the seventh round, the Flames have gone back to the Brian Burke philosophy of size and truculence. With their final pick of the draft, they have selected Riley Bruce, a 6'6, 205 lb. behemoth. Still 17 years old, he's one of the youngest players of this draft, with a July 16 birthday (someone's not going to have as great a time as everybody else at Stampede this year).

Bruce plays for the North Bay Battalion, where he is purely a defensive defenceman. You aren't going to rely on him to score points ever: he had all of three assists this past season.

Interesting, though, is that for someone of his size and lack of offence, you'd expect him to have a high PIM count... but he really doesn't, which may indicate he knows how to use his size and not get called for it. That's pretty valuable. After all, taking penalties is bad.

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Could he be another Keegan Kanzig? That remains to be seen, but the Flames have rounded out their exceptional draft with a very young, huge defenceman, and in the seventh round, there's nothing wrong with that.