Calgary Flames 2020 draft preview: potential later round targets

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 and putting together a list of players who may be good targets in round 2-7.

Previously: Potential Mid-First Round Picks, Potential First Round Reaches, Upper Firsts Who Could Fall, First Round Dark Horses

Round 2

PlayerPosMean RankHigh RankTeamLeagueGPGAPPIMHt.Wt.DOB
Martin ChromiakLW3730Kingston Frontenacs OHL2811223326’0″1818/20/2002
Lukas ReichelF4022Eisbären Berlin DEL4212122406’0″1725/17/2002
Helge GransD4121Malmö Redhawks J20 SuperElit2742327106’3″1925/10/2002
Tyson FoersterC4138Barrie Colts OHL62364480536’1″1941/18/2002
Roby JärventieLW7325KOOVEE Mestis36231538566’2″1858/8/2002

The second round of this draft offers a good group of skilled players, especially forwards with top-six potential. The draft is deep, and this selection of five players is just a snippet of the gems that teams will probably uncover in Round 2.

Every player in this group of five with the exception of Tyson Foerster (though he’s not far behind) was ranked in the first round on at least one draft board. Lots of scouts believe that this group could go earlier than the second, so getting any in the second round could be a huge steal.

The standout in this round might be Helge Grans. Who the best defenseman in the draft is after Jamie Drysdale is a hotly debated topic, and Grans might just be that player. To get him in the second round would be massive for whichever team is lucky enough to scoop him up.

Round 3

PlayerPosMean RankHigh RankTeamLeagueGPGAPPIMHt.Wt.DOB
Carter SavoieLW4720Sherwood Park Crusaders AJHL54534699625’10”1811/23/2002
Blake BiondiF6552Hermantown High USHS-MN25373976426’0″1814/24/2002
Pavel NovakRW/LW6643Kelowna Rockets WHL55253358335’10”1704/16/2002
Alex CottonD6737Lethbridge Hurricanes WHL63204767346’2″1835/12/2001
Theodor NiederbachC7833Frölunda HC J20 SuperElit40153348125’11”1722/25/2002

The third round offers a similar upside. Though there are significantly fewer players with top-six forward or top-four defense potential, there are still a decent number of players projected to go in this round that have had impressive junior careers thus far.

Alex Cotton is an interesting pick here. He’s one of the oldest players in the draft, but is a hulking 6′-2″ defenseman in the WHL who clicked at over a point-per-game pace this season. He’s ranked as high as 37 on one draft board, which means he’ll be long gone before the third round. Carter Savoie’s rankings are all over the place, but he’s all the way up at 20 on McKeen’s board. It’s tough to tell exactly where he gets picked, but he is a prime candidate to fall, maybe all the way to the third round.

Blake Biondi is the most interesting player in this range. The third round is probably where he’ll be selected and for a guy who put up over 3.00 points-per-game in the Minnesota high school system, he offers an interesting package. The list of players who have dominated that system include Blake Wheeler and TJ Oshie, so he’s among elite company. There’s no telling how good Biondi will be, but he’s committed to the NCAA’s University of Minnesota-Duluth next season.

Round 4

PlayerPosMean RankHigh RankTeamLeagueGPGAPPIMHt.Wt.DOB
Ronan SeeleyD8758Everett Silvertips WHL633293265’11”1768/2/2002
Drew CommessoG8978U.S. National U18 Team USDP272.050.9206’2″1817/19/2002
Jack ThompsonD9381Sudbury Wolves OHL63131932206’1″1723/19/2002
Connor McClennonRW9589Winnipeg Ice WHL42212849255’8″1576/25/2002
Emil HeinemanLW11561Leksands IF J20 SuperElit29261541126’1″18511/16/2001

Things start to get a little more mushy in the fourth round. There is still opportunity to select players who are excellent in certain areas of the game, but you’re likely sacrificing excellence in other areas. Two defenders on this list, Ronan Seely and Jack Thompson, are both CHL defenders who scored the exact same number of points in the exact same number of tames. Both will take on more serious roles with their teams next season and are more safe picks in this round.

Drew Commesso is the first goalie we’ve identified after Yarslav Askarov who is likely a first round pick. Commesso is with the US National Team Development Program and had a stellar year. He’s big, positionally strong, and comes out of one of the best development leagues in the world.

The most interesting player in this group is Emil Heineman. He’s ranked as high as 61 on one draft board, meaning he might get taken as early as the second round. However, most scouts have him down past the 100 mark, so there’s a good chance he’ll be available in the fourth round. If he is, he’ll bring a very attractive package to the table. He’s big, scored at just under a goal-per-game pace in the best junior league in Sweden, and clicked at over 1.4 points-per-game. He’s an older player but he dominated junior and should play in the SHL full time next season.

Round 5

PlayerPosMean RankHigh RankTeamLeagueGPGAPPIMHt.Wt.DOB
Colby AmbrosioC10959Tri-City Storm USHL48262450545’9″1658/7/2002
Oskar MagnussonC/RW11898Malmö Redhawks J20 SuperElit38222648405’10”1651/31/2002
James HardieLW145140Mississauga Steelheads OHL59342963165’11”1761/18/2002
Dmitri OvchinnikovFN/AN/ASibirskie Snaipery Novosibirsk MHL5424315585’10”1618/19/2002
Grant SlukynskyFN/AN/AWarroad High USHS-MN2530457566’0″1943/12/2002

Round five is where teams start looking for diamonds in the rough. Most of the time they end up picking the rough. Colby Ambrosio is the most interesting player in this group. He’s ranked as high as 59 on one draft board but most have him significantly lower past the 100 mark. He operated at just around a point-pre-game pace in the USHL last season, and is a very small player at just 5′-9″ and 165 lbs. He’s fairly young though and is committed to Boston College in the NCAA next season. Getting Johnny Gaudreau vibes from this guy.

Oskar Magnusson lit up the SuperElit last season and earned himself a four game stint in the SHL. That’s impressive on its own for a 17 year old. He could be one of many Swedish draftees who make an impact at the pro level in North America.

Grant Slukynsky is the second and last high school player we’ll discuss. He finished with 3.00 points-per-game this season in the Minnesota system, just one point behind Biondi, yet he’s rarely talked about. He’s much bigger than Biondi too, and plays a disciplined game. He could be a decent selection in a later round.

Round 6

PlayerPosMean RankHigh RankTeamLeagueGPGAPPIMHt.Wt.DOB
Ethan CardwellC167154Barrie Colts OHL26111526205’10”1578/30/2002
Dylan GarandG168149Kamloops Blazers WHL422.210.9216’1″1726/7/2002
Brett BrochuGN/AN/ALondon Knights OHL422.400.9195’11”1619/9/2002
Matteo CostantiniCN/AN/ABuffalo Jr. Sabres OJHL50363268206’0″1748/16/2002
Kyle CrnkovicLWN/AN/ASaskatoon Blades WHL63214364255’7″1612/10/2002

The waters get muddier. The sixth really doesn’t offer much, but this is where teams might start targeting goalies. There are several interesting goaltending prospects that will probably be available this late in the draft, including Dylan Garand and Brett Brochu. Garand was fifth in GAA and SV% in the WHL this season playing 42 games as a 17 year old. Brochu finished with the best GAA, second best SV%, and played the ninth most games in the OHL as a 17 year old. Both could bolster any team’s goaltending pipeline.

The two goaltending prospects in this round read a lot like Dustin Wolf did last season, especially Brochu. Wolf wasn’t taken until the fourth last selection in the seventh round, but it would be surprising if these two goalies don’t get taken earlier.

A common trend for targets this late in the draft are high scoring totals but small in stature. Kyle Crnkovic and Ethan Cardwell both fit this mold. Crnkovic is just 5′-7″ but scored at over a point-per-game for the Saskatoon Blades in the WHL this past season. He added 25 PIMs to boot. Cardwell scored at exactly a point-per-game in 26 games for the Barrie Colts in the OHL and added 20 PIMs. With an increased role next season, these are the types of players who are poised to explode offensively.

Round 7

PlayerPosMean RankHigh RankTeamLeagueGPGAPPIMHt.Wt.DOB
Florian EliasFN/AN/AJungadler Mannheim U20 DNL U2030262349125’8″1708/7/2002
Oscar TellströmRWN/AN/AVännäs HC Division 11913112425’10”1877/17/2002
Sergei KuznetsovLWN/AN/ATeam Belarus U18 Belarus227162642356’2″1925/14/2002
Viktor PerssonDN/AN/ABrynäs IF J20 SuperElit2651318146’2″19211/7/2001
Artur AkhtyamovGN/AN/AIrbis Kazan MHL461.800.9316’2″17010/31/2001

In the seventh you’re just looking for anything that might indicate upside. Florian Elias tore up the junior league in Germany and could translate well to North America. Oscar Tellstrom got to play in the SHL as a 17 year old, something that rarely happens, so he’d be a nice get in the seventh. Sergei Kuznetsov was dominant in Belarus, which may not have the strongest hockey program but the skills are undeniable. Viktor Persson is a massive defenseman who played quite well in the SuperElit. Artur Akhtyamov was definitely one of, if not the top goalie in the MHL last season, Russia’s top junior league.

It’s tough to really evaluate these players, but there is some upside available.


Do you think the Flames will be able to draft value in the later rounds? Which round is the most intriguing? Let us know on twitter @wincolumnblog.

Previously: Potential Mid-First Round Picks, Potential First Round Reaches, Upper Firsts Who Could Fall, First Round Dark Horses

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