Calgary Flames

Success rates of players selected where the Calgary Flames are expected to pick from at the 2023 NHL Draft

With the 2022–23 season officially over and a Stanley Cup champion crowned, it means the offseason is now in full swing. The first major event of the summer is just a couple weeks away as the 2023 NHL Draft will take place on June 28 and 29. With the season completed, the entire seven-round draft order has now been set. As it stands right now the Calgary Flames will be picking five times—barring any trades before or during the draft.

Calgary is currently slated to pick at 16th, 48th, 112th, 176th, and 208th. It’s fair to say the team doesn’t exactly have a ton of draft capital going into this year’s draft, which makes it even more important to nail each pick they do have. To get a better understanding of how often the Flames’ current draft spots work out, let’s take a look at notable players taken in each spot throughout the years.

NHL success by draft position

We’ll start with the Flames’ second round pick, 48th overall. We did a deep dive on the history of the 16th overall pick where the Flames will be picking in the first round a few weeks ago.

48th overall

Overall, the 48th overall pick hasn’t exactly generated a ton of successful NHLers throughout the years. Despite being a second-round pick, the odds certainly aren’t in the Flames favour here and it shows just how much of a lottery the NHL draft is after the first round. Only one player selected since 1979 at 48th has posted more than 200 points in the NHL.

(1979 – 2020)
Played NHL Games24 of 4257%
>200 NHL GP5 of 4212%
>200 NHL Points1 of 422%

Notable selections

2016, Carter Hart The most recent 48th overall pick to have success in the NHL is Carter Hart. Hart was selected 48th overall by the Philadelphia Flyers back in 2016 and has since developed into a full-time NHLer. He’s since become a full-time starter for the Philadelphia Flyers just a few years later. Although he’s had some up and down seasons, he’s still one of the top young goalies in the sport.

1997, Henrik Tallinder – The next notable name picked 48th overall came all the way back in 1997. Between the Tallinder pick in 1997 and Hart in 2016, there isn’t a single notable name to speak of picked at 48. Tallinder was selected by the Buffalo Sabres and would go on to have a successful NHL career as a top-four defenceman. He’d play 678 games, posting 142 points across 12 NHL seasons before going over to Europe in 2014–15.

1992, Mattias Norstrom – Next up is Mattias Norstrom, selected in 1992 by the New York Rangers. Norstrom had a long and successful career in the NHL spread across 14 seasons and three teams. He retired in 2008 with 903 games played and 165 points. Across his career, he earned two All-Star nods, and served as captain of the Los Angeles Kings for six years.

1979, Mark Messier Without a doubt the most notable 48th overall selection in NHL history is Mark Messier. Messier was selected 48th overall by the Edmonton Oilers in 1979 and would go on to have one of the most successful careers ever. He’d would retire with 1,887 points in 1,756 games, as well as 295 points in 236 playoff games. He currently ranks third in NHL history for points and games played and second for playoff points. He also tagged on six Stanley Cups for good measure.

Flames history at 48th overall

The Flames have picked 48th overall once in franchise history, selecting Mitch Wahl in 2008. He never played in the NHL.

112th overall

The 112th overall pick has surprisingly been a pretty successful one in the past. It hasn’t generated any star players, but some decent NHLers have come out of the draft at 112th overall over the years.

(1979 – 2020)
Played NHL Games18 of 4243%
>200 NHL GP7 of 4217%
>200 NHL Points2 of 425%

2014, Viktor Arvidsson To find the last impactful 112th overall pick, you’d have to go back to 2014 when the Nashville Predators selected Viktor Arvidsson in the 2014 draft. Arvidsson became a full time NHLer just two years later in 2015–16 and hasn’t looked back since. He’s become one of the more underrated wingers in the NHL and currently sits with 173 goals and 347 points in 528 games.

2010, Phillip Grubauer In 2010, the Washington Capitals selected goaltender Philipp Grubauer at 112th overall. Grubauer has since become a full-time NHL goalie to varying results. At his height, he was a Vezina finalist in 2021 and one of the top young goalies in the league. Most recently he stole the Kraken’s starting job for the 2023 playoffs.

2007, Colton Sceviour – Colton Sceviour wasn’t exactly a star player, but if you can find an NHLer who has over 500 games played at 112th that’s not bad work. Sceviour spent 11 seasons in the NHL after being drafted, posting 156 points across 535 games before going over to Europe this most recent season at 35.

2006, Matt Beleskey – The year before in 2006 Matt Beleskey was selected at 112th by the Anaheim Ducks. Like Sceviour, Beleskey wasn’t a star by any means but did become a full time NHLer. He posted a couple 30+ point seasons and retired in 2020 with 158 points in 477 NHL games.

2005, Alex Stalock The 112th pick was just good luck between 2005 and 2007 as it generated three straight NHLers. In 2005 Alex Stalock was selected by the San Jose Sharks at 112th and has become a full-time NHL backup. Since his NHL debut in 2010 he’s collected 179 games played and 70 wins.

1979, Doug Crossman – The next notable 112th pick came all the way back in 1979 when the Blackhawks selected Doug Crossman. Outside of Arvidsson he’s the only other 112th pick to register over 200 NHL points. Crossman put together a nice career in the 80s and 90s. When he retired in 1996, he had registered 914 games and 464 points in the NHL.

Flames history at 112th overall

The Flames have selected at 112th two times in their history. In 2003 they selected Jamie Tardif. He’d log a total two games in the NHL, both for the Boston Bruins. A year prior in 2002 they selected Yuri Artemenkov at 112. He’d never play in the NHL.

176th overall

As we get further into the draft, there’s gonna be fewer and fewer notable selections. At 176th overall, the Flames would be very lucky to select an NHL player.

(1980 – 2020)
Played NHL Games12 of 4129%
>200 NHL GP6 of 4115%
>200 NHL Points1 of 412%

2014, Sammy BlaisThe most recent example of a 176th overall pick making the NHL would be Sammy Blais who was selected in 2014 by the St. Louis Blues. Blais has carved out a role in the NHL as a bottom-six winger and most recently finished the season with 22 points games in 31 games after being traded back to the Rangers.

2002, Curtis McElhinney – Before Blais you’d have to go back to 2002 to find an impactful and long time NHLer selected at 176th. Curtis McElhinney was actually picked by the Flames in 2002 and has become a true journeyman backup in the NHL. Since making his NHL debut in 2007, McElhinney has racked up 249 games and 94 wins across eight different NHL teams.

2001, Marek Zidlicky – Without a doubt the most successful 176th pick came in 2001 when the New York Rangers took Marek Zidlicky. Zidlicky would make his NHL debut in 2003 and would go on to have a very successful career across 12 seasons. He’d retire in 2016 with 417 points in 836 games.

1996, Samuel Pahlsson – Other than Zidlicky, Samuel Pahlsson—selected in 1996—is the only other 176th pick in NHL history play over 350 NHL games. He’d make his NHL debut in 2000 and spend 12 years in the league. He’d retire in 2012 with 798 games played and 199 points.

Flames history at 176th overall

The Flames have actually selected at 176th three times. As mentioned they took McElhinney in 2002. They also selected Jukka Hentunen at 176th in 2000. He’d play 38 games in the NHL, with 28 coming with the Flames. Lastly they took Ryan Gillis 176th in 1995. He never played in the NHL.

208th overall

As we get into the tail end of the draft, the odds of finding an NHL player are incredibly slim. That said, the 208th pick has actually generated more players with over 200 NHL games since 1980 than the Flames second-rounder at 48th.

(1980 – 2020)
Played NHL Games11 of 4127%
>200 NHL GP4 of 4110%
>200 NHL Points3 of 417%

2011, Ondrej Palat You only have to go back to 2011 to find the last gem found at 208th overall. Ondrej Palat was taken 208th by the Tampa Bay Lightning and has since become one of the best seventh-rounders ever. He currently sits with 446 points in 677 NHL games, along with 101 points in 150 playoff games. He’s also won two Stanley Cups. Not bad for a seventh-round pick.

1997, Andrew Ference – Before Palat, it was Andrew Ference in 1997 making a name for the 208th pick. Ference had a very long career for a seventh rounder and he’d retire in 2016 with 225 points in 907 games as well as 38 points in 120 games. He’d also win a Stanley Cup in 2011 with the Bruins and was one of the Flames key players in their 2004 cup run.

Flames history at 208th overall

The Flames have picked at 208th once in their history in 1987 when they took Bill Sedergren. To no one’s surprise, he’d never play in the NHL.

It all comes down to draft luck

At the end of the day, a very large part of the NHL draft comes down to lucky after the first round. As evident in the history of the Flames 2023 draft slots, even in the second round it becomes incredibly difficult to find an impactful NHL player. Here’s hoping the Flames can add a few names to the list of notable picks in each spot.

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