At trade deadline, it was general consensus that the Flames would be stocking up at the draft. The Flames were tied for second in total draft picks with nine potential selections to be made, including six in the top 90.
Then madness happened and the Flames only picked five players. And they still stocked up.
Despite Brad Treliving's insistence that the Flames would use all nine picks, he pulled a fast one on the entire league three hours before the draft and swapped three of their high picks for Dougie Hamilton, who is worth more than that. That was pretty much the entire first day for the Flames, though not for a lack of trying:
"I offered a kidney and two ribs and that didn't get it done." - Treliving on trying to get back into the first round— Calgary Flames (@NHLFlames) June 27, 2015
Day two was the Flames' day. They made a splash early, selecting Rasmus Andersson with the #53 pick, acquired in the Baertschi trade. The Swedish defender from Barrie wasn't too high up on anyone's boards, but he is still a very good pick for the team. Considering his skills and stats, he immediately became the #1 defensive prospect this team has. He's a right-handed shot (only two others in the system) who scored 64 points this season. The highest scoring Flames defensive prospect before him was Brett Kulak, who put up 60 points in his age 20 season. Safe to say that the team immediately got better because of this pick.
Andersson's status as number one was short lived. The weirdness of the first round past the top ten picks caused many of the first round players to fall back further than experts could've imagined. Jeremy Roy, who we thought the Flames would select at #15, slipped back to 31. 46th overall pick Daniel Sprong was supposed to be in the mid 20s, same with 47th overall Jansen Harkins. The biggest slipper of the day was Oliver Kylington, who we also thought the Flames might consider at #15.
Kylington was expected to fall, but not far past the first round. If he was available in the early second round, he should've been snapped up. As the day wore on, and Kylington kept falling, the Flames chose to seize the moment, opting out of the third round and snapping up the young defender.
Ollie Kylington always had a question mark looming over his head, but he still is a solid player, especially considering when the Flames picked him. The value Kylington presents over where he was picked makes this selection even more of a steal, and when you factor in Andersson, the Flames now have a potentially great defensive pairing waiting for them. Credit Brad Treliving for turning one of the worst defensive depth teams into one of the best in a 24 hour span.
Once again, we would have to wait a while before the Flames made a selection. Pick #136 in the 5th round turned out to be local product Pavel Karnaukhov of the Calgary Hitmen. The Belorussian didn't light the lamp as often as others did, but the Flames must've been impressed by his growth. Transferring from Russia's MHL to the WHL is always a tough task, and Karnaukhov clearly made leaps and strides this season, slowly increasing his PPG output throughout the regular season and into the playoffs. He's a long shot to make the league, but his potential is promising.
The Flames took another Colt in the sixth round, snapping up over-ager Andrew Mangiapane with the #166th selection. He is a high scoring individual, age be damned, and comes at no risk in the sixth round. I predicted the Flames might get him in the fifth, but he fell a bit further. I'm happy with his potential, he could definitely be a useful NHL player in a few years.
To cap off the draft, the Flames selected Riley Bruce, a defender from North Bay in the 7th round with pick #196. Treliving was tired of making magic happen, so he gave Brian Burke a pick to play with. Bruce is 6'6", and 205 pounds so it's clear who made this decision. He has only scored nine points and one goal through 139 OHL games, and doesn't do much in other aspects of hockey. He isn't a pugilist or a goon, with only 86 PIMS through his OHL career. If he turns into anything, it's a nice surprise.
To sum up the weekend, it was all about defence. The Flames made their big splash the day before with Hamilton, and snapped up two more in Kylington and Andersson. If you weren't completely sold on Brad Treliving, you should be now. His first draft was questionable with guys being drafted more for size than for anything else. Burke taking the leash off of Treliving is the best thing to happen to this franchise in a long time, and we couldn't be anymore thankful for it. We already wrote extensively on Treliving, mostly because he's been a great GM in the very short time he's been here.
The Flames have improved at nearly every position since the rebuilding began, but never have they improved so dramatically and so rapidly in one key area as they did over the past few days. Most teams have never been able to do that. Please stay around for a while, Mr. Treliving.