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Finalizing "The List"

by Torie Peterson / Calgary Flames

CALGARY, AB -- With the 2012 NHL Draft just four days away, the Calgary Flames scouting staff are hard at work finalizing their rankings list of draft-eligible prospects.

"The list, right now, is based on our spring meeting - the spring meeting that we had here in Calgary," Flames General Manager Jay Feaster said. "We'll have meetings again starting Wednesday in Pittsburgh with the amateur staff. We'll put the process through the Decision Lens software that we use to check ourselves and test where we have guys rated.

"The most important thing, and the mandate has been and will continue to be, is to make sure the list is in the right order."

Earlier in the month, Assistant General Manager John Weisbrod, Special Assistant to the General Manager Craig Conroy, Director of Amateur Scouting Tod Button, Director of Video and Statistical Analysis Chris Snow and several members of the scouting staff hunkered down in Toronto to interview 58 players during the NHL Combine.

As Button told in May, those interviews will not drastically alter the list but they do give the scouting staff more insight into personalities and give them the chance to view prospects medical records, making sure they are 100 percent healthy heading into the draft.

"We'll make notes coming out of those interviews as far as, 'He said something we need to follow up on.' We don't knock guys down on the list or raise guys up on the list based on a good or bad interview but we might get information that we do further digging on, good or bad.

"We got a lot of good information on Baertschi last year, talking to his skills coach. He talked about how he never wanted to stop working, always working on his skills. That stuff is valuable to us. A kid might say something inadvertently that tips you off or you might find something from a kid about another kid. Not that they're telling on them but it's information gathering."

At this point, the scouting staff are in the midst of reviewing their current list and contesting where they have players ranked. This process will stretch all the way to Friday afternoon, right before the hockey operations and scouting staff head over to the Consol Energy Center.

"Last year, we were revising that list, challenging that list and challenging, 'Are we sure this guy is ahead of that guy?'" Feaster said. "And doing it right up until we were leaving for the draft. We did make a switch and one of the switches that we made was to put Sven Baertschi where we had Sven.

"We've reflected back on that as a staff and talked about the fact that while the player we initially had ahead of him was a good player and we think is going to play in the League, we don't think he's where Sven is right now and we don't think he has the upside Sven does. It's critical that it is in the right order."

The Flames have six picks this year, lacking second round and seventh round picks, but Feaster feels there will be opportunities to recoup picks.

"I'm having conversations with teams all the time in terms of trying to improve our hockey team.

"If we had the assets, would we entertain the thought of moving up? Yes, we would. Right now, we're not in a position to do that in my mind. But we'll see what happens between now and Friday."

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