Flames pleased with first round haul
JERSEY CITY, NJ -- The Calgary Flames entered the 2013 NHL Draft with three first round picks.
They exited pleased with their haul.
Snagging Sean Monahan sixth overall and Emile Poirier and Morgan Klimchuk at 22 and 28 respectively, the Flames managed to pluck three of their top 13 ranked players in the opening round of the draft.
Which makes for a happy general manager in Jay Feaster.
"We thought it was a good day and I know we always say that and that's what I'll hear is that everyone says that," he said. "We felt very, very good. I felt we were well-prepared coming in. We had the list in the order we wanted it. We worked the list. Our three picks in the first round, they came from our first 13 names on our list.
"We feel good."
Tod Button, Calgary's director of scouting, came away equally pleased by what the Flames were able to accomplish with their first three picks.
"There's a lot to be happy about," he said. "Three players obviously we liked a lot, first round picks and little bit different players but they all bring accountability and offense and size."
Prior to the draft, the Flames brought four players into Calgary post-combine to do additional interviews and physical testing.
That added interest paid off as Klimchuk -- the Calgary, AB product -- marked the third player the Flames had invited to their private sessions and subsequently drafted.
Feaster suggested that additional homework paid off on the draft floor.
"After we made the third pick, the pick at 28, I jokingly said on the stage while we were waiting for Morgan to come up there that at least we didn't waste all that airfare and everything although Morgan's case it wasn't airfare.
"We brought in four," he said. "We ended up with three of them."
The additional poking and prodding helped determine Calgary's final list and an eventual successful first round in the eyes of the Flames.
"I thought it did," Feaster said. "I thought it did from the standpoint it was an opportunity for us to spend even more time with them, get to know them a little bit better in terms of as people and personality and what they're thinking. We did some additional testing, some additional information."
As for the players themselves, Button is excited at the collection of skills the team was able to acquire on Sunday.
And while it may take a while for the trio to make an impact, Monahan specifically could have the opportunity to try come October.
"We're in a unique situation where we probably have a chance for him," Button said. "I don't think he's going to come in and make an impact, be a top player by any means, but he's got a whole summer ahead of him. He's got development camps, World Junior tryouts. We'll see what happens in September."
Poirier, Calgary's second pick in the draft, might thank Monahan for attracting some attention his way.
His Gatineau Olympiques are in close proximity to that of Monahan's Ottawa 67s, making it easy on the Flames to keep tabs on both first rounders.
"Our scout in Ottawa, Fred Parker, saw him play a lot because he's from the Ottawa area," Button said. "We had Monahan and Poirier so we were up there a lot watching Monahan obviously, and you go watch Gatineau and the kid did come on as the season went. Early in October, November, he just had a steady climb the whole year."
Needless to say, Poirier impressed Button.
"The first time I saw him he scored three goals in a game," he said.
"We like the kid. He scored 30 goals on a team with not a lot of offensive support. He's got some drive. He's a feisty player. He's got size. He can play either wing. He's versatile."
Calgary didn't have to go too far to scout Klimchuk, who grew up playing in the Bisons Bantam and Buffaloes Midget programs in Calgary.
And while the Flames would've seen plenty of Klimchuk as a member of the Regina Pats, it was his contributions at the World Under-18 Championship that made him a slam-dunk for Calgary's final first round pick.
"When he went to the Sochi Under-18's, solidified all our beliefs for him," Button said. "He played up and down that lineup. He played with Connor McDavid, Sam Reinhart, two guys everyone's heard about already. It was a great trio. He was another guy we kept watching as the year goes on. Morgan developed just as Emile did and at the end of the year, we were sold on both of them."
The scouting staff is done drafting, but Feaster's work now begins with the trio.
Hoping to have Monahan signed for training camp, Poirier and Klimchuk won't soon be far behind.
"We're going to take a look at that," Feaster said. "In a perfect world, that's what we'd do. We'll see how it all shakes out. I'd rather get them signed sooner than later, yep."
So they can start developing the trio to help Calgary over the long haul.