Combine helps Flames piece together draft puzzle
TORONTO, ON -- Ten chapters have been penned in the Calgary Flames’ guide to the 2014 NHL Draft.
One remains, and it’s being scripted at the NHL Scouting Combine in Toronto.
“The combine is always exciting,” general manager Brad Treliving said. “Coming in, it’s sort of that last big event before the draft so you’re getting a chance to sit down and for me personally, get face-to-face with a lot of these kids for the first time. You’ve seen them play over the course of the season and it allows you to put a face to the name.”
It also gives one final evaluation, albeit not one conducted on the ice.
A five-day event, the combine allows for teams to sit down with a plethora of players and conduct face-to-face interviews and observe and judge a prospect’s performance in a battery of fitness exercises designed to test a player’s physical capabilities.
The final evaluation isn’t without its consequences, either.
“You’re sort of putting the pieces together,” Treliving said. “It can have an affect, whether it be red flags coming up or addressing red flags that may have come up during the course of the season. To me, this sort of finalizes. You’ve got 10 chapters of an 11-chapter book throughout the season. This is the final chapter that you’re trying to tie all together.
“I don’t necessarily think there are dramatic swings in terms of where that player falls on your list based upon what happens here this week but it rounds out of the picture.”
The process of compiling lists and scouting reports started long before the puck dropped on the 2013-14 season.
With first impressions long established, it’s the task of Treliving’s crew to ensure the final impression doesn’t disregard hours upon hours of on-ice scouting.
“We’ve talked about that,” he said. “This is sort of the last impression. You watch these kids, the staff has watched these kids all throughout the year and you’ve made assessments, projections and you’ve slotted them in certain areas based upon their skill, their ability, their sense, their on-ice play and then you get into here and you’ve got to be very careful and guarded that you don’t take players that you really liked as players and all of a sudden the interview doesn’t go that well and they start to drop and vice-versa.
“It all has to be taken in context. It’s part of the information gathering and you’ve got to slot it accordingly.”
Treliving is in the process of doing just that.
Over the course of the final 28 days leading up to the draft in Philadelphia, the Flames will come close to finalizing their list before departing for Pennsylvania.
“We’re getting there,” Treliving said. “We still have a month to go and it’s an important month. The games have stopped but the digging and the follow-up and the information gathering continues and it will continue right through until draft weekend.
“I think the picture is getting clearer, yet we still have work to do. The guys have done a good job. I can say that spending a few days now spending a few days with our staff over the course of our amateur meetings as well as coming in here through the combine process, they’re prepared.
“We’ll be ready come the end of the month.”