The NHL changed their lottery format this year, implementing one similar to the NBA where the top three picks were up for grabs rather than just the number one overall. The Calgary Flames weren't able to draw upon any luck however and they will pick sixth in the draft and actually fell a spot from where they were projected to pick. They'll now wait for the draft and see which individual they'll be able to pick up.
Calgary was hoping to fall within the top three spots both for next season and for the future. Calgary is in a bit of a rough spot next year and will likely be a bit strapped for cash. Sean Monahan and Johnny Gaudreau could each get contracts over six million dollars, the team will need to sign two goalies, and they are saddled with bad contracts for bottom six players and bottom pair quality defensemen. The top three players in the draft are all considered to be NHL ready prospects and getting a forward who can step in right away would have been a huge plus.
The top three spots in the draft shouldn't offer much of a surprise with Auston Matthews, Patrik Laine, and Jesse Puljujarvi each respectively expected to go one, two, and three overall. Matthews is the complete package, offering size speed, and scoring. He would have likely been the third pick overall last year, but he missed the cutoff by two days. Laine is a huge winger with a phenomenal shot who has the potential to take over a game. A few have him ranked higher than Matthews. Puljujarvi clearly ranks behind the two top forwards and doesn't have the same finesse, but is a fantastic net-front presence.
Getting the opportunity to plug any one of these individuals next to Sean Monahan, Sam Bennett, or Mikael Backlund would have been a fantastic opportunity for the Flames. Their scoring touch would have helped greatly next year and adding them into an already phenomenal young core for the Flames would have been awesome for the future. Now they'll wait and see if they can't land a gem further down in the draft that can contribute long-term.