Last season’s trades of Jarome Iginla, Miikka Kiprusoff and Jay Bouwmeester signified a new day in Calgary and that the Flames were finally headed for a rebuild. With their 6th overall pick in the summer of 2013 the Flames drafted Sean Monahan, a player the team hopes will become the #1 center they have been searching for since the 90’s. Adding Monahan to short list of elite prospects like Sven Baertschi and Johnny Gaudreau is the beginning of what the future looks like in Calgary.
I have been an advocate of going full tank mode for the next few seasons so the Flames brass can continue to stock pile high-end prospects. I am of the belief that playing in a division with Anaheim, San Jose, Los Angeles, Phoenix and Vancouver is going to keep Calgary from truly contending or even making the playoffs anytime soon so this is the perfect opportunity to blow it up and start from scratch.
Additionally, the next two drafts offer players that would instantly give Calgary a boost to its rebuild process. Drafting Aaron Ekblad this summer would land the Flames a stud defenceman to build their blue line around for years to come. He is big, he can play a shutdown role, he can shoot the puck, he can eat up a lot of minutes and will be a #1 defenceman in the NHL. Like Monahan, Ekblad would give the team a top end player in a position they haven’t had for a long time. In the 2015 draft Connor McDavid will likely got 1st overall and with the direction of the Flames at this time (rebuild) it would be crazy to not try to draft him. McDavid is another extremely skilled forward like we have seen go 1st overall within the last 10 years and he would instantly give the Flames a superstar type player to lead this team.
Many Flames fans are skeptical of tanking a season to land a top draft pick when they see their neighbors to the north continuously end up at the bottom of the league standings. On the flip side of what’s happening in Edmonton are Chicago and Pittsburgh who have both had high draft picks that have helped them each win Stanley Cups. It’s a risk reward situation that has a very high ceiling.
I realize finishing last overall only gives you a 25% chance of drafting 1st overall but if you could go back in time, tank a season and get a chance to draft John Tavares, Sidney Crosby or Nathan MacKinnon wouldn’t you? I know I would.