When the Calgary Flames traded away their 2018 first and second round picks for Travis Hamonic, they thought they were adding one of the final pieces to a puzzle that was destined for the playoffs. The addition was coming right on the heels of another deal, one to finally get an All-Star level goaltender in Mike Smith. That trade had come just a week earlier, and had included a conditional draft pick of its own.
Now, as the Flames lost their sixth game in a row last night and find themselves looking up at several teams between them and the final playoff spot, they could be in for quite a long wait on draft day. As Ryan Pike of The Hockey Writers confirmed today, the third-round pick traded for Smith is actually a 2018 selection if Calgary misses the playoffs. It only transfers to 2019 (and moves up to the second round) if the team makes the playoffs this season. That means, that if the team misses out on the postseason tournament this spring they won’t have a selection until round four in June.
Sitting through three straight rounds isn’t fun in any draft, but especially not one where you have a chance at winning the draft lottery and moving up in round one. In the 2018 class, the first round is filled with some incredible talents at the top and should have interesting prospects throughout. It also could have some big names available as teams try to change their structures going forward, something Calgary won’t be able to take part in, unless to sacrifice even more futures down the road.
Obviously, making the playoffs is still a possibility. Nothing is set in stone, but the next few weeks should be telling for the club. After Saturday’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks, the Flames will hit the road for a six-game trip through much of the east coast. If they don’t turn things around during it, they could be looking for a way to reclaim some draft picks at the deadline instead of adding for that postseason run they thought they were destined for.