Calgary FlamesNHL Draft

Calgary Flames 2020 draft preview: potential first round reaches

All signs point to the NHL moving forward with an early-June 2020 NHL draft. While we don’t know exactly what this will look like, how the final draft order will be determined, or what will happen with the many unresolved conditional picks, it looks like the Flames will be picking somewhere around the middle of the first round. If the order is determined by points percentage at the time of the pause, the Flames would have the 16th overall selection.

There are lots of great draft resources out there, so we took the liberty of consolidating all those rankings using a mean rank, and putting together a list of players who will likely be selected in the back half of the first round, but could go to the Flames if they want to reach for a player they really like.

Previously we covered potential mid-first round picks as well.

1. Kaiden Guhle

Mean RankLow RankHigh RankPos.Ht.Wt.TeamLeagueGPGAP
203114LHD6’-3″187 lbsPrince AlbertWHL64112940

One of the big needs for the Flames’ in the off-season is defence. With Rasmus Andersson already established in the NHL, and Juuso Valimaki and Oliver Kylington fighting for roster spots next year, the blueline in Stockton is looking a bit bare. Although the team has Alexander Yelesin, recently signed NCAA free agents Connor Mackey and Colton Poolman, and Swedish defenceman Johannes Kinnvall, there are questions about their ceilings in the league. Plus, Kinnvall will be playing in Sweden for another year before coming over to North America. Selecting a first round defenceman could go a long way to shoring up the defensive future of the team.

Guhle is a strong all-around blueliner. Playing in the WHL, the Flames have definitely seen a lot of his play and would likely be familiar with his work. At 6′-3″, he’s a big body with a booming slapshot, and is well known for using his size to his advantage defensively.

The big question with him is his offensive ability. Scouts have noted that he is a strong defensive defenceman, but he does not have the same offensive upside as other defenceman. That being said, if the Flames think that he can pick that up between the WHL and AHL, he could be a reliable NHL defenceman in a few years.

Guhle is ranked as high as 14 on some draft boards.

2. Hendrix Lapierre

Mean RankLow RankHigh RankPos.Ht.Wt.TeamLeagueGPGAP
213417C6’-0″165 lbsChicoutimiQMJHL1921517

Lapierre is probably one of the most interesting picks in the draft this year. Projected last year as a sure top-10 pick with 45 points in 48 games in his rookie year, his junior career has been derailed by a number of injuries, including three concussions in the last calendar year.

That being said, he is a player with an incredibly high ceiling. He is an imposing left handed centre who plays a creative two-way game. He may not be an overly flashy player, but according to Bob McKenzie, scouts like him because he “plays the game the right way”.

He is not a traditional first round pick. He seems like a player that would need to be evaluated both from a hockey and a medical perspective, but if the Flames are confident in his ability, he may be a steal.

Lapierre is ranked as high as 17th on some draft boards.

3. Jan Mysak

Mean RankLow RankHigh RankPos.Ht.Wt.TeamLeagueGPGAP
223413C/LW6’-0″176 lbsLitvinovCZECH26549

Mysak is a steady, strong player who plays a good two-way game. Although he started the season in the Czech league, he began 2020 with the Hamilton Bulldogs, where he put up 25 points in 22 games.

Scouts have raved about his hands and ability to finish. They have also talked about his patience when making plays, which speaks to his maturity as a player. While his transition to North America happened quite recently, he could be a good left handed centre for the Flames. Though the Flames don’t have a ton of Czech players on the team, there is some familiarity from when they signed David Rittich, and Mysak may be a good fit for the team.

Mysak is ranked as high as 13 on some draft boards.

4. Braden Schneider

Mean RankLow RankHigh RankPos.Ht.Wt.TeamLeagueGPGAP
234513RHD6’-2″209 lbsBrandonWHL6073542

Like Guhle, Schneider is a strong two-way WHL defenceman who excels on the defensive side of the game. He has been coveted as a defenceman who is quite far along his development process. He may be closer to NHL ready than others in this draft. While his offensive upside is not as high as others in the draft, he excels quite strongly on the defensive side.

He uses his size to his advantage and is a very strong skater, which may be things the Flames may look at favorably. With the team having three young offensive defencemen, and potentially losing Travis Hamonic this summer, they may be looking to sign a strong stay-at-home defenceman. The bonus with Schneider is that he plays the coveted right side. It’s never a bad thing to load up on high-ceiling right-handed defenders.

Schneider is ranked as high as 13 on some draft boards.

5. Zion Nybeck

Mean RankLow RankHigh RankPos.Ht.Wt.TeamLeagueGPGAP
309217RW5’-8″176 lbsHv71SUPERELIT42273966

Nybeck sounds like the type of player the Flames would love. A smaller, speedy winger who plays hard in the corners and excels on the rush. He plays much bigger than his size would suggest, but has a high hockey IQ, allowing him to make the smart play time and time again. Nybeck also has a great set of hands, and is able to finish in tight. His numbers don’t lie, putting up 66 points in 42 games, while playing on the same team as recently signed Kinnvall.

Although the Flames have a knack for taking diminutive wingers, there are a number of players ahead of Nybeck who may have more upside. That being said, Nybeck’s work ethic and grit are things that are tough to teach, and may endear him to the Flames.

If the Flames really want him, they could reach for him in the first. There is a chance he slides as low as the third round though, so if he’s still availble in the second round he could be a great get.

Nybeck is ranked as high as 17 on some draft boards.

Who do you think the Flames should target if these five are available when their up to select in the first round? Let us know on twitter @wincolumnblog.

Stay tuned tomorrow for part two of our draft series focusing on players who are projected to be picked above the Flames’ likely spot, but could fall to them.

TWC’s 2020 NHL Draft Coverage Series: Potential Mid-First Round Picks

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