Feaster exploring draft day options
CALGARY, AB -- The Calgary Flames have never drafted higher than sixth overall at the NHL Draft.
Currently the owner of the sixth pick in 2013, general manager Jay Feaster might have his sights set higher.
"I think that the right scenarios, we may be able to do something," Feaster said.
The Colorado Avalanche currently own the top pick in the annual selection process after winning the Draft Lottery in April. The Florida Panthers, who finished 30th, draft second and are followed by the Tampa Bay Lightning, Nashville Predators and Carolina Hurricanes respectively.
Doing his due diligence, Feaster has been able to gauge which teams have been receptive to the idea of moving a top-5 pick.
"We at least know which teams are willing to do something and if they are, what it would take to do that, and I think also which teams aren't willing to do that," Feaster said. "I don't want to call it traction, but I think there is a good understanding which picks might be in play."
Whether the team remains at six -- Feaster said there's no intention to trade down from there -- or moves up in the draft, the Flames drafting philosophy remains the same.
"Our plan is, in drafting the best player available, is that we will also be looking to do that with an eye for the players that we draft to have an opportunity to come in here in training camp and make our hockey team," Feaster said. "I know that John Weisbrod has talked about the idea that relying upon our picks this year that they're going to carry the hockey club, clearly that's not the mindset or the mentality that we have.
"Having said that, though, we do want to be in a situation where the players we pick do have an opportunity to come into camp in 2013 and show us what they have and compete for a spot."
That's especially true for whomever the Flames select at six.
"The one thing I believe with the pick at six is that we want to get a player who has the opportunity to come in right now and compete for a job," Feaster said.
After trading down in the first round and selecting a longer-term project in Mark Jankowski a year ago, Feaster stressed the need of plucking a prospect who can have a more immediate prospect in the Flames' future.
Calgary had the 14th overall selection a year ago but traded down to grab Jankowski at 21 and added Patrick Sieloff with the second rounder acquired in the trade.
"We liked Jankowski a lot and we strategically felt we could drop down to get him and we got the second," Feaster said. "It's going to be a long time from now until someone says 'boy, that Jankowski and Sieloff, those two picks were pretty good that year'."
Though the Flames have no designs of drafting lower than sixth on draft day -- June 30th at the Prudential Center in New Jersey -- Feaster could opt to use one of his latter first rounders to add a second round pick in a similar fashion to his swap from a year ago.
The Flames also have picks 22 and 28 but are without a second rounder.
The Montreal Canadiens currently own the rights to Calgary's second round selection, acquired along with Rene Bourque and Patrick Holland in exchange for Mike Cammalleri, Karri Ramo and Montreal's fifth round pick in 2012.
Whether or not Feaster tries to recoup the pick could come on the draft floor.
"We'd have to see who's on the board," he said. "We really like this draft. Our guys think it's a deep draft. We think that at 22 and 28 we're going to be happy with the players that are still on the board. Part of that is strategic."
The strategy worked for the Flames' scouting staff last year.
"It goes back to the situation like last year where to be able to trade down from 14 to 21 and get that second and get the player we wanted at 21 but be able to pick up Sieloff, that was a good deal, that was a good acquisition of a second round pick."
"Again, depending upon whose on the board at 22 and 28 and then also what the picks were that we're being offered in the second round -- and that's what we do."
That doesn't mean the GM hasn't had a few discussions with other teams about that exact scenario, though.
"We've already dry-run and mock draft and that sort of thing and we've identified which teams have those multiple seconds that might want to move up and some of those teams have already knocked on the door and said 'if the right guy is there…'," he said. "We've already walked through that."
It’s strong planning for a team that hasn't had the luxury of multiple picks to play with.
And coming into the draft is everything, Feaster said.
"The plan is that we want to get the list in the right order," he said. "We want to make sure that we prioritize the list properly and our intent will be that we draft the best player available at our spots 6, 22 and 28."
Assuming that's where Feaster and the Flames stay on draft day.