Recapping the Flames 2012 NHL Draft
PITTSBURGH, PA -- The Calgary Flames left Pittsburgh with seven new charges in their development system and Assistant General Manager John Weisbrod could not be happier with how this draft turned out for his club.
"We got guys that I think fit the description and the criteria of what we want a Flames player to be," he said at the conclusion of the 2012 NHL Draft.
"It's a long way from today to anyone playing in the NHL but we feel like we got a really good blend of players."
Those players include Mark Jankowski (first round, 21st overall), Patrick Sieloff (second round, 42nd overall), Jon Gillies (third round, 75th overall), Brett Kulak (fourth round, 105th overall), Ryan Culkin (fifth round, 124th overall), Coda Gordon (sixth round, 165th overall) and Matthew DeBlouw (seventh round, 186th overall).
It's a wide range of players in terms of their style of play and position but among the three forwards, three defenceman and one goaltender, there is a common thread: their poise. All seven draft picks have a very composed nature about them, looking assured in their abilities and confident in themselves throughout what can be a very hectic and exhausting 48 hours.
Make no mistake, that one common factor isn't just a coincidence.
"We put a real value on the whole interviewing process and getting to know the kids," Weisbrod stated. "It's a human game. It's people. What makes people successful in any field? It's the caliber of the people. So we're shooting for that and we were certain to not be in any way provincial."
The Flames kicked off the draft by acquiring a second round pick. They traded their original first round selection, 14th overall, to Buffalo for picks 21 and 42. This move came about right before the Flames were set to take the 14th pick but after seeing how things were going, they felt comfortable with the trade.
They selected Jankowski with that 21st pick, a pivot out of Stanstead College in Quebec who scored 94 points in 57 games. According to some analysts, the pick was a bit off the board but for Weisbrod, the choice was simple - if Jankowski was there, they were drafting him.
From what they saw through multiple viewings and several interviews, the Flames believe his ceiling is incredibly high and, in 10 years time, he will be viewed as the best player taken in this draft.
"One of the thing I kept pushing, pushing, pushing was we're going to take what we perceive to be the best prospect available no matter what where he's from, no matter what league he plays in, no matter what language he speaks. I felt like we were true to that."
On Day 2, Calgary scooped up six more players and Weisbrod is extremely happy with who they were able to draft. In fact, he was even shocked he was able to land their second round pick. The club actually tried to trade up to land Sieloff, assuming another team would draft him early on Saturday morning.
"We had Sieloff 20th overall," he noted. "There was actual discussion (on Friday) when we pushed back to 21 - if Jankowski's gone, will we take Sieloff?
"We were ecstatic."
Sieloff was just one of the three defenceman drafted on Saturday with Kulak and Culkin going in the fourth and fifth rounds respectively. They are very similar players, with great vision and puck-moving abilities.
"We felt like we were making a Kulak-Culkin decision in the previous round. Like, whoever we take, the other is not going to be there. I don't want to call it a coin toss but it was a real tough one.
"To be able to have both of them, growing side-by-side, I was thrilled."
The Flames nabbed one goaltender on the weekend, taking Gillies in the third round. The hulking, athletic netminder will head to Providence College next year, looking to take over the starting role.
"We had a little bit of strategy going there," Director of Amateur Scouting Tod Button said. "My thing is once the goalies start going, they start going right? I think seven went in that round.
"We had a lot of success last year with Laurent Brossoit, the same style of player. We'll keep adding to that stable. You can never have enough goalies."
In terms of forwards, the Flames took Gordon and DeBlow on Saturday, in rounds six and seven.
Weisbrod acknowledged that Gordon needed to work on his skating to push to the next level but the winger has an incredible scoring touch and plenty of intangibles that the team places value on make him a very solid prospect.
The Flames weren't sure if they would use their seventh pick in a potential trade and they had talked about inviting DeBlouw to their development camp this summer if he ended up not being drafted so being able to add him to their prospect pool is a coup.
"We want to put the same earnestness and sincerity into round seven and six and five as we do round one," Weisbrod said. "I felt like we did that.
"I find myself excited over every guy."