Don’t expect the Calgary Flames to make a selection in the first round of the NHL Entry Draft next Friday and probably don’t expect to see them make a pick too early on Saturday either. The Flames currently sit with just three picks in the 2018 Draft: a fourth-rounder, sixth-rounder, and seventh-rounder. The rest of their selections were used in deals to acquire Travis Hamonic, Mike Smith, and Michael Stone. Speaking with Calgary GM Brad Treliving, beat reporter Kristen Anderson makes it sound as if the team’s philosophy toward the value of draft picks versus prospects will very likely keep them from adding any significant picks this year. Treliving admitted that he has looked at scenarios that would allow his team to trade back in to the first round and has tried to make a deal with other teams, but doesn’t know if they’ll ever reach a point where a trade will actually happen. In fact, he called that possibility very unlikely. Understandably, Treliving is hesitant to trade away young players or promising prospects for picks that will be farther behind in their NHL development and who they only hope will one day reach or exceed the level of the player they move in return, calling it “backwards shuffling”. Treliving also lacks some firepower in terms of future picks with his 2019 second-, sixth-, and seventh-round selections already lost as well. Right now, the asking price for early picks is too high for the Flames to bite on anything just yet. However, don’t underestimate what the anxiety of waiting through three rounds could force them to do next weekend.
- AZSports’ Craig Morgan recently spoke with Anton Thun, the agent for Dave Bolland, about the veteran Arizona Coyotes center’s future. Bolland, 32, has yet to play a game for the Coyotes despite being traded to the team in the off-season prior to the 2016-17 season. A lingering back injury and lower-body concerns forced the Florida Panthers to dump Bolland’s contract in Arizona – a move that also cost them prospect Lawson Crouse – and he has not been cleared to suit up at any time since. Thun reports that Bolland is doing better, but there is still no expectation that he will be able to play next season. Instead, Thun suggests to Morgan that Bolland is likely to be placed on long-term injured reserve yet again in the final year of his contract and will then formally announce his retirement after next season. If this proves true, it will be a disappointing end to the career of a well-respected player who built a career on his reliable defensive play.
- One of the more talented offensive defensemen in the AHL is off to Finland for the next stage of his pro career. Alex Grant, 29, has signed with Jokerit of the KHL, the team reported today. The journeyman defender has made a career of being one of the top scoring blue liners in the minor leagues, jumping from one two-way contract to the next throughout the past nine years. However, in that time he has only been given seven NHL appearances and appears to have decided to make a name for himself at the highest level in Europe rather than continue to play in the AHL. After an impressive 49-point campaign with the Providence Bruins in 2016-17, Grant signed with the Minnesota Wild last summer and was expected to be one of their top depth options on the back end. Instead, he again was not given that chance and will now seize an opportunity with Jokerit. Offensive-minded defensemen who have struggled to find their place in the NHL have often found great success in the KHL. Grant could very well be the next in that line, which has featured the likes of Matt Gilroy, Philip Larsen, and Jakub Nakladal in recent years.