Calgary Flames 2012 draft preview

By Ryan Holmer

Photo: Taken 13th overall in 2011, Sven Baertschi is the best offensive player the Flames have had in their system in many years. (Ken McKenna/HF)

 

The Calgary Flames currently own the 14th overall pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.  Last year, the Flames drafted Swiss forward, Sven Baertschi, who has since dominated the WHL by producing a two-point per game pace. This upcoming draft will yet again be a big step for the Calgary Flames, as they attempt find another gem midway through the first round.

Top 10 Prospects:

1. Sven Baertschi, LW
2. T.J. Brodie, D
3. Max Reinhart, C
4. John Gaudreau, LW
5. Markus Granlund, C
6. Leland Irving, G
7. Laurent Brossoit, G
8. Roman Horak, C
9. Michael Ferland, LW
10. Greg Nemisz, RW

Team Needs

As with past years, the Calgary Flames' are lacking forward depth. GM Jay Feaster went outside of Calgarys' normal realm, to bring in some scoring by signing Czech forward, Roman Cervenka. Considered one of the best outside the NHL, Cervenka was brought in to help score some much needed goals. 

One of the biggest needs this off-season will be to resign Olli Jokinen. With the acquisition of Cervenka, Jokinen will need a discount to take a discount in order to remain in Calgary. Along with Jokinen, GM Jay Feaster has his hands full with plenty of free agents to re-sign. Several will walk, however, restricted free agents Mikael Backlund and Blair Jones will likely be re-signed. Backlund is an interesting case. He missed most of the season last year with injuries, and has not produced as expected. He is young, however, and will likely be resigned to a short-term deal in order for Calgary to fully gauge his upside.

Organizational Strengths

The Calgary Flames' strength lies in their goaltending depth. Leland Irving, Laurent Brossoit, and Joni Ortio provide three skilled goaltenders, all capable of fighting for a future starting job in Calgary. Miikka Kiprusoff still has a few years left in him, and he is followed by big, reliable goaltender Henrik Karlsson.

Calgary also has very deep third and fourth line talent. Last season, Feaster also added a bit of offensive flare to the Calgary Flames' prospect pool. Players such as Markus Granlund, John Gaudreau, and Sven Baertchi added some much needed offensive punch to the system.

Organizational Weaknesses

Outside of Baertschi, Gaudreau, and Reinhart, Calgary does not have many high-end offensive prospects. They will need to add more offensively talented players during this draft, if they want to improve their organizational strength.

Calgary also has two of it's top prospects ready to graduate, as the the 2012-13 season approaches. High-end offensive defensemen Brodie and forward Horak are ready to make the jump to the NHL. Horak impressed during training camp last year, and Brodie played outstanding during his stint in the NHL. Both will likely get starting jobs in the NHL next season. Since Calgary is quite weak with blue-chip defensemen, the loss of Brodie to its prospect system will be a big hit. There are several highly touted defensemen in the upcoming draft, which leaves the door wide-open for Calgary.

Draft Tendencies

Traditionally, Calgary has draft Canadian and American players. Recently, however, they have drafted several players from Finland and Sweden. Calgary has never really signed, or drafted collegiate players. That changed this year, as GM Feaster signed Brody Lamb, and David Eddy. They are not sure-fire NHL players, but it is an improvement as Feaster widened the span of Calgarys' scouting.

Calgary currently has seven choices in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. They own the 14th, 75th, 105th, 122nd, 165th, 186th, and the 195 picks.

Hockey's Future Staff Mock Draft Results:

No. 14: Cody Ceci, D, Ottawa 67s (OHL)

With needs at every position, the Flames opt for the best available player, who this point in the draft is defenseman Cody Ceci. Projected by many to go in the top 10, Ceci would immediately jump to the top of the Flames defensive depth chart. A big body with a big shot from the point, Ceci remains a bit of a wild horse defensively, and will need to develop that part of his game further before meeting his full potential. With his size, skill, and poise, he projects at the very least as a top-four offensive defenseman.