June 25th, 2014 | Posted in Commentary
By: D'Arcy McGrath
A general team building rule of thumb is the aim to put three bodies in your NHL jersey in each and every NHL draft, a feat not always met by NHL clubs.
The first round, especially after a morbid season of missing the playoffs is crucial to getting a franchise back on its feet and moving up the standings, the second round is where you add depth to your roster and become a contender. Then further down the list you need to be lucky and/or brilliant in finding diamonds in the rough, thrusting the organization forward.
The Flames had many a wash out draft in the past ten years; have a look at 2006 and a hockey fan almost comes to tears … 8 players chosen, and 13 games played, all by first rounder Leland Irving. Players selected in 2006 would be entering year 8 or 9 in development and should form the nucleus of your hockey team. Not in this case.
More recent years have had way more success including the 2011 draft where all 5 players have either played for the Flames or been used to acquire a player currently playing Calgary. That’s 5 for 5 folks.
With that said Calgarypuck takes a look back at previous drafts in a two part series, looking at success round by round.
Today we look at rounds 7 through 12.
Your Round by Round Top 3
Remember when the draft went 12 rounds? That would be pretty tedious compared to the 7 rounds we witness in the modern era. I imagine after the picks, tracking and sorting the 12 players would have been a chore as well (pre-youtube).
The Flames have made 10 12the round selections since coming to Calgary, and surprisingly did quite well, all in Russia.
#3 – Sergei Priakin – the first Russian to play in the NHL without having to sneak out a hotel kitchen exit and into a grain truck. The quiet lanky winger joined the Flames in the late 80s picking up 11 points in 46 games. Don’t see a lot of these jerseys around town.
#2 – Andrei Trefilov – 54 starts for the Flames including one amazing shut out win in New York, where he faced something like 50 Rangers shots. Had skill, not so much in staying power.
#1 – Sergei Makarov – 424 games played in the NHL, picking up 384 points. The slick former KLM winger was a great replacement for the retiring Hakan Loob when the popular Flame went home after winning the 1989 Stanley Cup.
The Flames weren’t nearly as successful in round 11, though the did make 12 11th round selections over team history in Calgary. With said 12 picks they only found two guys that played games.
#2 – Marko Jantunen – Drafted in 1991, and played three games with the Flames with zero points. Oddly enough he was taken in the same draft as Trefilov making both the 11th and 12th round somewhat successful. Only played that one season in North America
#1 – Pavel Torgayev – Another Russian pick, Torgayev had a great stint with Calgary when he was young, playing 41 games and picking up 16 points. Then he went home, only to re-appear to play another handful six years later.
Really hoping this gets more entertaining near the top!
A total of 15 10th round selections have been made in Calgary history, and five of them went on to play games. Two notables, and another three that never became household names.
#3 – Mike Peluso – 1994 pick that sticks out to me because he had the exact same name as a NHL fighter that ironically finished his career with the Flames. The smaller, less scary Peluso played 38 games and picked up 6 points.
#2 – Jonas Hoglund – Any time you get 545 games out of a 10th round pick you owe your scouting staff some gratitude. Hoglund was a productive player that played two seasons in Calgary before moving on Toronto and Montreal. He and Zarley Zalapski were dealt to Toronto for Valeri Bure, an interesting player in a dark era of Flames hockey. 545 games and 262 points for Jonas in the bigs.
#1 – German Titov – One of my favourite Russian Flames, Titov was drafted in the 10th round of the 1993 draft and was a solid 2nd line player for the Flames. His tenure in Calgary lasted 5 seasons before he was traded to Pittsburgh and then eventually to Edmonton. Coming to Calgary in the deal was Ken Wregget and Dave Roche. Oh those dark days in Calgary. 624 NHL games and 377 points.
A whopping 22 players have been selected in the 9th round, and 10 went on to play NHL hockey. Okay, two of them played one game, but a hurdle is a hurdle when you’re looking into past draft success. Other mentionables that don’t crack the 9th round all star squad would include; Mark Osieki, Jorgen Johnsson, Adam Cracknell and Micki Dupont.
#3 – Ronald Petrovicky – A guy that always seemed to be joined to the hip of fellow 1996 draftee Steve Begin, Petrovicky was an energy player that played 342 NHL games, 107 of them in Calgary for the Flames.
Things finally get interesting, as there are two legendary players to choose from for 9th round picks and a potential debate over their ranking.
#2 – Gary Suter – Played 1145 NHL games, and was a huge part of the Calgary Flames success in the 1980s. His place in Calgary history is somewhat fractured by injuries early in two playoff runs, hurting his ranking in top 9th round picks of Flames history. Uncle to former NHLer Ryan of the Wild. Traded to Hartford along with Paul Ranheim and Ted Drury for James Patrick, Zarley Zalapski and Mikael Nylander, father of first rounder this Friday.
#1 – Hakan Loob – With these two players you could almost suggest the 9th round has been better to the Flames than the first round historically. I slot Loob ahead of Suter despite playing only 40% of the NHL games due to his role and impact in Calgary, oh and extra points for never wearing a different NHL sweater. Loob was one of my favourites, a clutch scorer with great balance and shiftiness, a pleasure to watch on a line with Nieuwendyk and Roberts in the ’89 run.
Now moving into the second third, with that lower group behind us, the analysis moves to round 8, and yet another legendary Calgary Flame! 22 players selected in the 8th round in Calgary with only six playing games, and four gaining NHL points. Does anyone remember Jonas Frogen? I don’t.
#3 – Dale Degray – Selected in the 1981 NHL Entry Draft, and amassed 153 NHL games and 65 points, not bad actually. A lot of his games played were with the Harold Ballard owned Maple Leafs, but the guy did play, which is significant for an 8th round pick.
#2 – Jiri Hrdina – Hrdina was a legend in Czechoslovakia at the time, and a guy that few thought would pass through the iron curtain to play in the NHL. He played 250 games in the NHL, after being taken in the 1984 draft, including three seasons in Calgary before he was dealt to Pittsburgh for the hard of hearing Jim Kyte (not making fun at all, was an amazing story). Will always remember him for his role on the 4th line of the cup team with Theo Fleury.
#1 – Theo Fleury – Not a bad segway huh? Fleury was taken in the 8th round of the 1987 draft, a forceful suggestion by Ian McKenzie or so the story goes. They thought he’d sell tickets for their farm club and be a good story. He just kept pushing and pushing until he forced his way on to the club for the Flames cup drive in 1989. Went on to be a decorated Flame with 1084 NHL games and 1088 points.