Breaking down where the Flames will pick in the 2020 draft

It’s very possible that the Flames’ season is over. Heading into the pause, the Flames sat in third place in the Pacific Division, primed for a first round playoff matchup against the Edmonton Oilers.

It would have been the first Battle of Alberta playoff series in decades, and with all the drama surrounding the two teams this season, it would have been an electric series.

Alas, that may not come to fruition. Obviously, some things are more important than watching a group of adults playing a game for millions of dollars. The health and safety of the global population is a much greater priority and concern than finishing the NHL season, but if the season does get cancelled, it would be upsetting news for the Flames.

Even if the playoffs began right away and teams were sorted based on points percentage, the Flames would have qualified. They probably would have qualified for any postseason format assuming there were at least eight teams from each conference to advance. They have faced so much adversity this year and were finally starting to show signs of their best selves down the stretch. Their chance to compete for the Cup may have to wait another year.

That being said, the Flames were a bubble team. They would have finished right around the middle of the NHL standings, which puts them in the best possible scenario for the draft out of all the other playoff bound teams.

We dove into how the draft order may be decided, but it looks like the Flames would finish with the 16th seed, and correspondingly 16th in the draft order.

Where Would the Flames pick?

With the 16th draft slot, the Flames would have the following picks in each round:

  • Round 1: 16th
  • Round 2: 47th
  • Round 3: 78th
  • Round 4: 109th
  • Round 5: 140th
  • Round 6: 171st
  • Round 7: 202nd

However, because of several trades, the Flames do not have some of these picks.

Round 4 Picks

The Flames traded a conditional pick to the Los Angeles Kings on February 25, 2019 in exchange for defenseman Oscar Fantenberg. If the Flames advanced to the 2019 conference finals and Fantenberg played in at least 50% of the Flames’ playoff games, the pick would be a 2019 third round selection. If not, the pick would be a 2020 fourth round selection.

The conditions of the trade were not met as the Flames did not advance to the conference finals, so their fourth round pick, 109th overall, is transferred to the Kings.

On January 2, 2020, the Flames traded forward Michael Frolik to the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for a third round selection, originally owned by the San Jose Sharks. This pick is 96th based on our projected standings.

Round 3 Picks

This is where things get a little sticky.

On July 19, 2019, the Flames traded James Neal to the Edmonton Oilers for Milan Lucic. The Oilers retained 12.5% of Lucic’s salary, and included a conditional third round pick in the deal. The conditions of the pick were that Neal had to score at least 21 goals and Lucic had to score at least 10 fewer goals than Neal in the 2019-20 season.

As it stands, the conditions of the trade are not met. Neal has scored 19 goals on the season, so the 21 goal condition is not completed. However, this is just one of many trades involving conditions based on performance in the shortened 2019-20 season. We’ll be breaking down how the NHL may resolve all of these picks later this week, but presently, the league has not said how it would resolve these picks. Based on face value, Neal was supposed to score 21 goals and simply did not. Therefore, the Flames will likely not receive the Oilers’ third round pick in the 2020 draft.

On February 24, 2020, the Chicago Blackhawks traded defenseman Erik Gustafsson to the Flames for a conditional third round pick. The condition was that the Flames would give the higher of their third round picks. Since the Flames have just one third round pick, their own pick, 78th overall, is transferred to the Blackhawks.

Final Flames Draft Selections

With all these conditions resolved, the Flames are left with the following six draft selections:

  • Round 1: 16th
  • Round 2: 47th
  • Round 4: 96th
  • Round 5: 140th
  • Round 6: 171st
  • Round 7: 202nd

The Flames don’t have a third round pick, but upgraded their fourth rounder by 13 spots. The longest they’ll have to wait between selections is 49 picks, the gap between the second and fourth rounds.

It’s not a bad position to be in. The lack of a third rounder stings, especially because in all likelihood the Flames would have received the Oilers’ third rounder because Neal had to score just two more goals over the span of 11 games. The upgraded fourth helps balance things out though, and the Flames are in a decent spot for draft day.

In a deep draft, having the 16th selection could be very important. Here’s hoping they can nab a solid young player who will help the team win for many years.

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