Flames 2000 Draft Preview
Decisions, decisions, with only a few days left until the draft in Calgary the Flames have some BIG decisions to make. If the Flames opt to stay put at the ninth position, they must fill one of two of their long term needs, a goaltender or a strong impact forward capable of scoring 30+ goals. The players most likely to be around at the ninth pick are the three Russians, “C” Mikhail Yakubov, “RW” Pavel Vorobiev, “LW” Alexei Smirnov, a Czech “C” Vaclav Nedorost, and Canadian “G” Brett Krahn. With Calgary having 3 picks in the first two rounds they will be able to satisfy both needs whether they pick a goalie first or a scoring forward, there are a few solid players in the second round, “G” J.F Racine,”G” Peter Hamerlik, “LW” Max Birbraer,”C” Shane Endicott. And a host of other solid centermen. However, the Flames may also want to trade up in the draft. 1st overall seems to be up for grabs according to Mike Milbury. With the draft here in Calgary, the Flames might want to make a little noise, giving up some youth and a pick for the Calgary man Dany Heatly. Giving up their ninth pick, possibly a second round pick, as well as Rico Fata, or Oleg Saprykin for the right to choose first overall. Fata would be the most likely to be traded, he is a right-winger and Calgary is very solid on that side of the ice.
The third overall pick could become Calgary’s property as well. Minnesota seems likely to trade down for some youth. Risebrough, would like additional picks either this year or the next, in order to build up his new team. Goalie Rick DiPietro, of Boston University, is the top ranked goalie in this years draft. Calgary would be interested in acquiring the bright young goalie. DiPietro is said to have exceptional puck handling skills, rivaling Martin Brodeur. At only 18 DiPietro has a bright future in the NHL, whether he is a Calgary Flame is yet to be determined. Another possibility for Calgary would be to trade up with the Tampa Bay Lighting for fifth overall. The Lightning have the eighth pick as well. A trade with Calgary would give them eighth and ninth pick. A nice touch for the Lightning. Raffi Torres is said to be a top five pick, a “power forward” with an exceptional quick release, and built like a tank. Calgary has not seen a power forward on the left side since Gary Roberts. He would be a welcome addition on the left side. With Mckenzie running the show due to Buttons contract with Dallas there should be no concern since he has done an admirable job discovering players such as “Fleury”, “Roberts”, “Hull” and Calder winners “Nieuwendyk” and “Suter”. Look for the Flames to make some headlines this weekend in Calgary.