not all that common to see Darryl Sutter smile, so his resemblance to the
Cheshire Cat during draft weekend speaks volumes about how the Calgary Flames
2003 Entry Draft went. Heading in, Sutter was clear about two things: he wanted
more North Americans and he wanted to get bigger. Mission
kicked off Saturday by bucking the NHL trend of drafting forwards and went back
to a formula that has been successful for the Flames, taking a defenseman with
his first pick. The last two first round defensemen the Flames have taken (Derek
Morris in 1995 and Denis Gauthier in 1996) worked out incredibly well, so hopes
are high for 2003 top choice Dion Phaneuf.
two picks in the second round, Sutter saw the opportunity to further stock the
cupboards and dealt the second of the two to San Jose for a trio of selections
(a 3rd, 5th and 6th rounder). All in all, nine
new players became Flames property over the weekend.
1, 9th overall: Dion Phaneuf (D)
ever there was a Sutter-esque pick, this was it. Phaneuf is a beast. At
6’2”, 205 lbs., this 18-year-old Edmonton native will likely end up adding an
additional 10-20 pounds before all is said and done. He idolizes Scott Stevens
and plays like his idol, running over anything and everything in his path.
2002-03 he also doubled his point totals to a respectable 16 goals, 14 assists
for 30 points while racking up 185 penalty minutes in 71 games with the WHL Red
as he is known, was very highly thought of by many scouts around the league who
feel that the Stevens comparisons are fair and accurate. Rumors were abundant
that the Edmonton Oilers were itching to draft the hulking hometowner, trying
unsuccessfully to land the Atlanta Thrashers 8th overall selection.
showed a little of what he was capable of in the CHL Top Prospects game as he
laid out Marc-Antoine Pouillot (the Oilers eventual choice at 22nd
overall) with a beautiful hit. Phaneuf should get the chance to lay out a lot
more Oilers in years to come, he’s a warrior and a near can’t miss rock for
Hard-hitting Top 4 D man, possible captain.
2, 39th overall: Tim Ramholt (D)
of the beautiful aspects of the Macs’ Midget Tournament is that it puts
Calgary on the map internationally. Flames second rounder Tim Ramholt is proof
hard working, strong-skating Swiss defender is a veteran of the local tourney
and as a result is happy to bring his sterling work ethic to Calgary. While some
questions have been raised about his consistency (or lack thereof) and his
motivation, Ramholt has a lot of upside and it showed during the 2003 World
Junior Championships (6 games, 2 goals and 2 assists).
his game is much better suited to the North American speed and style of play, it
is very likely Ramholt will make the jump across the Atlantic this
summer—often a sticking point for European prospects.
Balanced, two-way 4th or 5th defenseman.
3, 97th overall: Ryan Donally (LW)
6’4”, 210 lbs. monster, this Tecumseh, Ontario native is the prototypical
“big North American” player Sutter went into the draft targeting. Most picks
outside the top 60 or 70 are projects, long shots or depth players and Donally
is no exception.
the 2002-03 season with the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires, Donally notched 11 goals,
15 assists, 26 points and 108 penalty minutes in 65 games, a marked improvement over the
2001-02 campaign. The Flames are hoping his development continues along this
path with him ideally having a Matt Foy type break out season.
Gritty, 3rd/4th line banger with some scoring touch.
4, 112th overall: Jamie Tardiff (C)
6’ and 210 lbs., Tardiff is small by this draft’s standards. Don’t let that
deceive you however, he idolizes Brenden Shanahan and plays a similar game.
After a slow start to the 2002-03 season with the Peterborough Petes, Tardiff
came on strong, finishing with 22 goals and 22 assists in 64 games.
gained some international experience playing on Canada’s gold medal winning
U18 team and will be looking to build on this year’s success next season. He
should see more playing time next year, especially if second overall pick, Eric
Staal, sticks with the Carolina Hurricanes.
Anywhere from a career AHLer to a second-tier NHL power forward.
5, 143th overall: Greg Moore (F)
product of the USA Hockey Development program, Moore also has a U18 gold medal,
as an assistant captain of the 2002 American squad. Winning is in Moore’s
blood, as he was also a member of back-to-back Maine state championship teams
with Saint Domenic’s High School. He also laced up for the United States at
the 2003 WJCs in Halifax.
is another power forward type who will return for a second season at the
University of Maine next year and notched respectable 16 points in 33 games in
his freshman year.
Too early to tell.
6, 173th overall: Tyler Johnson (C)
A small town Alberta boy, Johnson adds another big body to the stable. A
center with the Moose Jaw Warriors, Johnson will likely play out his junior
eligibility and help round out his game. He only appeared in about half the
Warriors games this year and the Flames are hoping he develops.
Too early to tell
7, 206th overall: Thomas Bellemare (D)
doesn’t matter that Bellemare is 6’3” and 240 lbs. To understand why the
Flames selected him you need to look no further than his fists and the massive
number beside his name in the PIM column.
racked up 474 penalty minutes. His role is a well-defined one, whether it
will get him to the show remains to be seen. The “next one” in a line
of enforcers that has included Sasha Lakovic, Rocky Thompson and, more recently,
Instilling fear somewhere, either the AHL, ECHL, NHL or a Drummondville beer
8, 240th overall: Cam Cunning (C)
product of the hockey factory that is the Kamloops Blazers, Cunning is a
developing 6’1” 195 lbs. power forward. Cunning will likely get a better
chance to strut his stuff next season as fellow Blazers’ centers Erik
Christensen and Grant Jacobsen graduate from the junior ranks.
Too early to tell
9, 270th overall: Kevin Harvey (LW)
is a 6’2”, 175 lbs. left wing playing with the Ontario Provincial Junior
‘A’ League’s Georgetown Raiders. With such a large frame, there is a lot
of room for Harvey to fill out over the next few years.
Too early to tell
stronger and hopefully better—that’s the theme of this year’s draft for