Burke comfortable with fourth overall pick
CALGARY, AB -- As it stands, the Calgary Flames will pick fourth in the 2014 NHL Draft and while President of Hockey Operations and interim general manager Brian Burke is comfortable with that, he may not be the one doing the drafting on June 27.
"First off, what we do with the pick is going to depend on the hiring of the general manager ... we have not approached all of the teams we intend to approach at this point and we're not sure of the timing," Burke said. "A team may say, 'You speak to this guy when we're out of the playoffs or after the draft, whatever.' So if a new GM is in place before the draft, that will be his call.
"Otherwise, my mindset right now is to pick. I think we have a good group of young players. I like this draft group, I've seen all the top kids but one. My mindset right now is to keep the pick."
Burke has traded up in past drafts, most notably to snag the Sedin twins in 1999 while he was working for the Vancouver Canucks, but he doesn't feel inclined to take that route with this particular draft class.
"I think the cost to go up probably isn't balanced off by the quality of the player you can get," Burke said. "Where we're picking, we like this group of players. When I moved up in the past, it was for a specific player and I wasn't crazy about what was there when I was picking. I don't feel that way about this group.
"My sense right now is to certainly explore what it would cost to move up but I think at four, you still get a pretty good player."
As in years past, the organization will be sticking to their list when it comes time to take to the podium rather than drafting by position.
The latter tactic, according to Burke, isn't a route that is worth taking.
"We draft the best athletes available, at least in the first three rounds," he said. "If your smallest need is a centre and there's a centre sitting there, you take him. If your lowest priority is a defenceman and there's a defenceman sitting there, you take him.
"I think the general manager adjusts the depth chart through trades, not at the draft. There won't be any positional drafting."
The NHL Central Scouting Service recently released it's final rankings of draft-eligible prospects and the top 10 skaters are as follows: Sam Bennett (C), Aaron Ekblad (D), Sam Reinhart (C), Leon Draisaitl (C), and Michael Dal Colle (LW) top the North American skaters list.
Kasperi Kapanen (RW), William Nylander (C/RW), Kevin Fiala (LW), Jakub Vrana (LW/RW), and David Pastrnak (RW) are the top five international skaters.
Thatcher Demko (North American) and Ville Husso (international) lead all goaltenders in the final rankings.
Burke has had the opportunity to few quite a few of this year's top prospects, missing just one on his list of players to watch -- the top-ranked Bennett.
"The only top guy I haven't seen is Bennett because he was suspended the night I was supposed to go in and see him," Burke said. "He got suspended the night before which, in Brian Burke's book, that's not a bad thing."
The 2014 NHL Draft takes place in Philadelphia on June 27-28. The Flames currently have a first round pick, a pair of second picks, a pair of third round picks, a sixth round pick and a seventh round pick.
The Flames fourth round pick belongs to the Toronto Maple Leafs (Joe Colborne trade). The Flames fifth round pick belongs to the St. Louis Blues (Kris Russell trade). The Flames sixth round pick went to Dallas for Lane MacDermid.