The Calgary Flames selected players in their expected ranges for their first three picks of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, taking the trio of Connor Zary, Yan Kuznetsov, and Jeremie Poirier. But for their fourth pick, they went off the board and selected Jake Boltmann. The former USHL and USHS-MN defenceman was selected with 80th overall with the Flames’ second third round pick. Our consolidated draft rankings had him placed at 288th, not even within the draft range in any round. This was a surprise by GM Brad Treliving to say the least.
Splitting time between the Lincoln Stars of the USHL and Edina High (where he was the captain), Boltmann put up 22 points in 43 games. Interestingly, Edina High was the home of former Flames President of Hockey Operations Brian Burke and 2018 4th round pick Demetrios Koumontzis. Going into this season, Boltmann will be playing for the University of Minnesota in the NCAA, which was also home to former Flame Jordan Leopold.
Boltmann had a special reception to being selected, as he was on the ice during practice and had his team immediately there to celebrate the good news:
Besides the above video of how excited his teammates were of him being drafted, there is little information about him as a player. Standing 6’1″, he has good reach, helping him knock pucks off opposing skaters’ sticks. He is extremely confident as a defenceman, very comfortable jumping up in the rush and creating plays. He has great vision and a good hockey IQ.
This video shows his vision and smarts are on full display in the following video. Starting at 0:31, he makes a great slap pass for a tip that beat the goalie far side.
Playing in Edina, he was clearly playing in a league well below his skill level. In this next video, he picks up the puck at the line then takes it behind the net and hangs out waiting for a player to open up in front. With none coming, he takes it around the side and pops it in short side.
It is unlikely that he will be able to make plays like this in professional hockey, should he make it, but having the ability to skate with the puck like that and having the confidence to take a shot from the short side says a lot about his style of hockey. He clearly takes matters into his own hands when given the opportunity.
On top of that, he seems to have a decent shot, which is on display even more clearly in this video:
He seems able to fire it with power and accuracy, and isn’t afraid to skate down to the slot to create a chance. His offensive instincts are on full display and that’s something the Flames have clearly valued more often in their defencemen.
While Boltmann looked decent in high school, when he transitions to the NCAA, the real test starts. Like Koumontzis, he will need to show that he can translate his game to the next level and take a step forward both offensively and defensively. Boltmann says that he models his game off of Anders Lee, another Edina High alum.
The public information on Boltmann is admittedly limited. Treliving and company definitely saw something in him that other scouts might have missed. With the extra third round picks that they got from trading down in the first round, the Flames were comfortable enough to make a reach. Boltmann likely still would have been available in later rounds, but the Flames wanted to bet on him. It was a free selection that they didn’t expect to have heading into the draft.
Hopefully the Flames have a player who can be a difference maker in the NHL in a few years, but one thing is certain already. The Flames found themselves a very smart and well-spoken player in Boltmann. We’ll leave you with this clip that really gives one extra look at the type of person he is:
How can you not root for a guy like that. What do you think about the Flames selecting Boltmann? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter at @wincolumnblog.