Calgary Flames 2013 draft review

By Brian Jung

Sean Monahan - Calgary Flames

Photo: Calgary selected Ottawa 67’s center Sean Monahan at sixth overall, the highest pick the Flames have had since the late 1990’s (courtesy of Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Calgary Flames entered the 2013 NHL Draft with a committed plan to rebuild and selected key players to help construct the new foundation. Prior to the draft, General Manager Jay Feaster traded away Alex Tanguay and Cory Sarich to the Colorado Avalanche for David Jones and Shane O’Brien. The trade continues the trend of adding youth, fresh energy, and a new look to the organization.

There was much discussion leading up to the draft in regards to whether or not the Flames would move any or all of their three first round picks. Ultimately, Feaster and Flames management decided to stay on course with their plan and drafted a solid first round trio of Canadians. Coincidentally, the forwards represent each of the three major junior leagues across Canada: Sean Monahan from the OHL, Emile Poirier from the QMJHL, and Morgan Klimchuk from the WHL. With a total of eight picks in the 2013 draft, the Flames were able to address key areas of the rebuild while stockpiling their talent pool of prospects.

Sean Monahan, C, Ottawa 67's (OHL)
1st round, 6th overall
Height: 6’2 Weight: 187 lbs

With the sixth pick overall in the 2013 draft, Calgary addressed their immediate need at center by drafting Sean Monahan from the Ottawa 67’s. At 6’2 and 187 pounds Monahan has the attributes and skills to fill the position of a top line center for the Flames. Monahan has the experience and desire to be a cornerstone for the Flames, and possesses the leadership skills to be a future captain. As the leader of a rebuilding Ottawa 67's team, Monahan is familiar with the position he finds himself in with Calgary.

“I'm looking forward to it. It's going to be a challenge and I'm always up for a challenge. I think I'm going to be a part of that team and help that team win, so it's going to be a fun time,” Monahan said in an interview with Hockey’s Future.

He could find himself competing for a roster position with the Flames in the upcoming season, however he will have to continue to increase his physical strength and size to compete at the NHL level. Getting stronger at both ends of the ice and in the faceoff circle will also increase his chances of cracking the Flames lineup.

“I want to play," Monahan stated. "That's my goal. I want to play this year, and I think I can. I want to make an impact and I want to be a reliable player out there, too. I don't want to be taken off my own end for faceoffs and stuff like that, so I want to compete and be an impact next year.” With his dedication and hard work, Monahan is aware of what needs to be done to take his game to the next level, and Calgary will be eagerly watching and waiting for that time to come.

Hockey's Future shot video of Monahan at the 2013 NHL Draft. You can view his extended remarks in this HF video.

Emile Poirier, LW, Gatineau Olympiques (QMJHL)
1st round, 22nd overall
Height: 6’0 Weight: 168 lbs

The Flames went off the board with their second pick in the first round by selecting winger Emilie Poirier from the Gatineau Olympiques. Initially this selection came as a surprise to many considering Calgary native Hunter Shinkaruk (VAN) was still available with the 22nd pick, however Poirier made quite the impression that the Flames could not pass up on him. Poirier has remarkable speed and hockey sense. He played an important role with the Olympiques last season, leading the team with 70 points in 65 games. The versatile winger was depended upon in different situations and saw time playing on both the power play and penalty kill units.

In order for Poirier to carry his play to the next level, he will have to get stronger both physically and mentally. Poirier would most likely benefit from another year or two of junior to develop his skating, play without the puck, and strengthening his 6’0, 168-pound frame. However with his speed, playmaking ability, and puck-handling skills, the upside and potential for Poirier to be a top-six forward with the Flames is possible.

Hockey's Future shot video of Poirier's media scrum at the 2013 NHL Combine, which can be viewed in this HF video.

Morgan Klimchuk, LW, Regina Pats (WHL)
1st round, 28th overall
Height: 5’11 Weight: 180 lbs

Feaster and Flames management decided to stay local with their third selection by drafting Calgary native Morgan Klimchuk with the 28th pick. The Regina Pats forward has steadily improved his game year after year, which was noticed in particular by the Flames and Hockey Canada. Klimchuk played on Canada's U18 team in the 2012 Ivan Hlinka Memorial and 2013 U18 World Junior Championship tournaments, where most recently, Klimchuk tallied eight points in seven games playing alongside 2014 top prospect Connor McDavid.

At 5’11 and 180 pounds Klimchuk could benefit from getting physically stronger, but the winger provides a versatile dimension to the Flames talent pool as an all-around player and sharpshooter. As Regina’s second leading scorer last season, Klimchuk posted 76 points in 72 games. His game has evolved and developed impressively that Klimchuk saw a 40 point increase in his regular season totals between 2011-12 and 2012-13. Klimchuk is a solid skater with quick hands that can setup and create plays or fire an accurate shot. As the final first round pick for Calgary, Klimchuk plans to return to Regina next season and help the Pats improve on last year’s results. The decision will help Klimchuk continue developing his skills, strength, and maturity as a player and leader, to become NHL ready.

Keegan Kanzig, D, Victoria Royals (WHL)
3rd round, 67th overall
Height: 6’7 Weight: 241 lbs

The tale of the tape for the Flames’ fourth pick would be 6’7, 241-pound Keegan Kanzig from the Victoria Royals. The Flames definitely bulked up with this pick, however there has been discussion as to whether or not Kanzig should have been drafted as high as 67th overall. Yet with his size and hard nose style of play, it is understandable why it would be hard to pass up on a player of this stature. Kanzig is a force to contend with and possesses a long reach and superb balance to stay on his feet during tilts. His big body presence and intimidation adds to his shutdown style play on the blue line, and bolsters the size of the Flames defense. In the 2012-13 season with the Royals, Kanzig recorded seven assists and 159 penalty minutes in 70 games. Although he is not known for his offensive game, Kanzig is willing to get involved in the offensive zone when the opportunity presents itself. However developing his game will require some work, along with strengthening his skating skills, as he can get caught up in the play and be forced to take costly penalties due to being out of position. Kanzig is literally a big project, however based on his development, it is apparent that he has the work ethic and dedication to keep improving, which could ultimately pay off huge dividends for him and the Flames.

Eric Roy, D, Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL)
5th round, 135th overall
Height: 6’3 Weight: 190 lbs

The Flames drafted another big body defenseman with their fifth pick by selecting 6’3, 190-pound Eric Roy from the Brandon Wheat Kings. Roy is a skilled defenseman that likes to get involved at both ends of the ice. Similarly to Kanzig, Roy is a physical player that does not back down from a challenge. Roy is a defenseman that would like to be known for both his offensive and defensive skills, which was evident in the 2011-12 season when he posted 53 points in 69 games with the Wheat Kings. However in the 2012-13 season, Roy saw his totals decline as he only tallied 39 points in 72 games. Roy will need to add size and strength to his frame and improve his skating in order to elevate his game. He will also need to improve his defensive game since he can be caught off guard at times. However, like Kanzig, Roy is aware of the areas he needs to improve upon and believes that through hard work he can become a better player.

Tim Harrison, RW, Dexter Prep (MA-HS)
6th round, 157th overall
Height: 6’3 Weight: 175 lbs

Sticking to his draft tendencies, Feaster selected Tim Harrison, an American high school senior, with the Flames’ 157th pick in the 2013 draft. Harrison is another big body at 6’3 and 175 pounds and prides himself around the power forward position. The style of game Harrison brings complements his size and the forward is not afraid to throw the body around to create a play. The Dexter School graduate is the only right hand shot selected by the Flames in this year’s draft and is a few years away before being considered for a roster spot. Harrison has committed to play at Colgate next season and will look to continue his success and development.

Rushan Rafikov, D, Loko Yaroslavl (MHL)
7th round, 187th overall
Height: 6’1 Weight: 185 lbs

The only European player selected by the Flames this year comes via the 187th pick overall, Rushan Rafikov, from Russia. At 6’1 and 185 pounds, the Flames add another good sized body to their blue line. Rafikov currently plays for Loko Yaroslavl in Russia’s junior league and scored one goal and posted 10 points in 53 games during the 2012-13 campaign. He also played for Team Russia at the 2013 U18 World Junior Championships, where he recorded 5 assists. Rafikov is considered to be a stay-at-home defenseman and plans on continuing his development playing in Russia next season.

John Gilmour, D, Providence Friars (Hockey East)
7th Round, 198th overall
Height: 5’11 Weight: 173 lbs

With their final pick in the 2013 draft, the Flames selected a player from a familiar program. Having drafted Jon Gillies and Mark Jankowski in previous years, John Gilmour gives Calgary a trio of Providence players in the system. Gilmour played 38 games as a freshman in 2012-13 for Providence and posted four goals and 13 points. At 5’11 and 173 pounds, he is on the smaller side for defensemen, however he makes up for it with his speed, hockey sense, and being responsible in his end. Gilmour is aware that his size will be a factor and needs to get stronger and faster to make it to the next level. Gilmour will be returning to the NCAA Providence, which will help him further develop his skills and maturity as a player.

Follow Brian Jung on Twitter at @brianjung80