There are some really good draft classes for the Flames, there are some really bad draft classes for the Flames, then there are some that still are a coin flip. The haul from 2018 looks like the latter. With just five picks in the draft, Brad Treliving made some interesting gambles that could still pay off for the club but it still is a bit too early to tell. Let’s dive into each of the picks.
105th overall: Martin Pospisil
Martin Pospisil was drafted as an old-school power forward who threw huge hits but also put up a good amount of points. In 49 games, he put up 37 points while racking up 253 penalty minutes for the Sioux City Musketeers in the USHL. A player who plays with a ton of emotions, Pospisil flew a little under the radar and was a nice pick by the Flames in the fourth round.
From there, Pospisil spent one more year at Sioux City, and had an enormous year, putting up 63 points and 118 penalty minutes in 44 games. This was good for ninth in the entire league in points and seventh in points-per-game.
He has since spent the last three seasons in Stockton, but had injuries shorten his all three seasons. This year, he got into 47 contests, recording 25 points and 95 penalty minutes while playing mostly in the middle-six for Stockton.
Pospisil is a restricted free agent this summer and is almost certainly going to be qualified because he brings a very different group of skills than nearly any other prospect in Stockton. A true power forward, Pospisil does his best work right in front of the net, and has the capacity to put up a good amount of offence while also being a physical presence in the lineup.
As we talked about in our 2022 Calgary Flames Prospect Rankings—in which Pospisil came in 15th—he will need to stay healthy this year and find a way to push his offensive totals up more to earn a role in the NHL. However, he clearly has the skills and potential to be a bottom-six option on a Darryl Sutter team who clearly makes his teammates better.
Pospisil has a strong protect instinct and stands up strongly for his teammates. He probably does not start the season in Calgary, but could find himself there sometime during the year if he continues to progress.
108th overall: Demetrios Koumontzis
Demetrios Koumontzis has had a ride of a time as a Flames prospect. He was drafted as a speedy winger out of Edina High and was a commit of Arizona State University in the NCAA. Since then, he has had some real highs—being called out as one of the most improved prospects at development camp in 2019, and some real lows—dealing with numerous injury-plagued seasons. He only managed one full season in his four with ASU, which was way back in his rookie year.
Koumontzis will be back for a fifth year with ASU this year, but will need to stay healthy and perform really well to earn an entry-level contract. He did have a decent year in his injury-shortened season this past year, putting up 11 points in 23 games and going +7 in that time, but will need to do a lot more if he wants to see the ice in the AHL for the Flames in 2022–23.
122nd overall: Milos Roman
The Slovak forward was drafted out of the Vancouver Giants of the WHL after putting up 32 points in an injury-shortened 39 game season. Known for his quick hands and great skating, Milos Roman was expected to go far earlier than where the Flames were able to snag him.
However, he was never really able to take the next step in his development, hovering around the point-per-game mark in the following season then putting up a weaker 47 points in 62 games. The Flames did not qualify him, and Roman now plays for HC Ocelari Trinec in the Czechian Tipsport Extraliga.
167th overall: Mathias Emilio Pettersen
Mathias Emilio Pettersen was one of those sneaky high-skilled sixth-round picks for the Flames, and has quietly been quite decent in his time in Stockton. Drafted out of the Muskegon Lumberjacks of the USHL, Pettersen had a lethal shot and great vision which allowed him to put up 46 points in 60 games before heading to the University of Denver in the NCAA.
Since then, he spent two seasons in college then his last two years in Stockton, capping off this season with 26 points in 59 games for the Heat. He has always been talked about as a high-impact prospect, and the type of player who could take a step forward in his development to be in the call-up conversation. Next year is his third in the AHL and he will need to take that step pretty quickly if he wants to remain in that category. So far he has been serviceable at the AHL level, but will need to show more if he wants to be an NHLer.
198th overall: Dmitry Zavgorodniy
The Flames drafted Dmitry Zavgorodniy out of the QMJHL’s Rimouski Oceanic, where he put up 47 points in 62 games in his draft year. From there, he went on to form an elite partnership with 2020 first overall selection Alexis Lafreniere, and had 67 points in 40 games in his final season.
Zavgorodniy spent all of last season in Stockton—mostly with the bottom line—but saw some decent ice time with Matthew Phillips and Adam Ruzicka on the top line as well. He ended with four points in 29 games last season.
This year was not great for Zavgorodniy. He struggled to get into any games, and was loaned to HC Sochi of the KHL, where he put up three points in ten games. When the KHL stopped their season in February, Zavgorodniy came back to North America but did not get into much game action. He did not feature in any playoff games for the Heat.
He has since gone back to Russia to play with Sochi for next season. Once a very promising prospect, it appears his future lies across the pond.
A mixed bag of Calgary draft picks
It’s a bit hard to judge this draft class as they are still in development mode, but there is very little in the way of excitement here. Only three prospects remain, and barring a big step forward from any one of them, none look like sure-shot NHLers.
That being said, it is worth putting a small caveat here. The first pick the Flames had in the draft was in the fourth round, and per an analysis from Jokke Nevalainen previously of Dobber Prospects, around 11% of fourth round picks go on to play at least 100 NHL games. The odds are even lower beyond that.
If the Flames can get NHL games out of any of Pospisil, Koumontzis, or Pettersen that would be a huge win, but it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if they didn’t.