The Cupboards Aren’t Bare Anymore
A couple years ago the Flames organization was seen as having one of the worst prospect pools in the league. Darryl Sutter was in “win now” mode and many people thought the Flames were a contender. Maybe not a legit Stanley Cup contender, but a playoff contender at the least. Things didn’t go as planned, Sutter stepped down and Jay Feaster went from assistant General Manager to acting General Manager in December of 2010. He had a lot of work ahead of him to fix a team loaded with No Trade/No Move Clauses and not many good prospects.
While Feaster was in charge, the Flames drafted and traded for some young players that have given fans a better hope for the future. Some of the trades include bringing in Corban Knight, Karri Ramo, Ben Hanowski and Kenny Agostino. Not all are household names but they help build and develop a strong system in the minors which is important for any team that wants to produce quality NHL’ers.
Where Feaster and his team did their best job was at the draft table. All of the Flames best prospects in their system right now have come from the draft. Sven Baertschi, Markus Grandlund, Tyler Wotherspoon, John Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, Emile Poirier, etc. (Max Reinhart was a Darryl Sutter draft). These are the players fans hope and pray will become future stars on the Flames.
Now with Brian Burke employed as President of Hockey Operations, and as acting General Manager until he hires someone, the Flames need to continue to draft smartly for this team to move forward. Barring a “Burkian” style Sedins or Kessel trade, this summer’s 4th overall pick should land a very strong player especially if Aaron Ekblad, Sam Reinhart or Sam Bennett are still available. This is a big draft for the team with Brian Burke in charge for the first time. Will his vision lead to different style of drafting players? Will he continue to look at size as one of his top qualities in a player he wants to draft? Will he emphasize skill?
Seeing the Edmonton Oilers is a constant reminder of how important draft day is when building a team. Let’s hope the Flames continue to do a good job so our rebuild only lasts a couple of years.