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Flames add skill, speed and grit

by Mike Board / Calgary Flames
OTTAWA -- There wasn't a lot of ice around Seal Beach, California when Mitch Wahl was growing up. But he found it. And made good use of it.

On Saturday, it all paid off.

The Orange County centre became a Calgary Flames prospect Saturday at the NHL Entry Draft when the Flames drafted him 48th overall.

A crafty centre, who won a Memorial Cup with Spokane last season, he has 20 goals and 73 points in 67 games in the Western Hockey League.
Flames at the Entry Draft
Pick Player
25 C Greg Nemisz, Windsor (OHL)
48 C Mitch Wahl, Spokane (WHL)
78 C Lance Bouma, Vancouver (WHL)
108  LW Nicholas Larson, Waterloo (USHL)
114 D T.J. Brodie, Saginaw, (OHL)
168 LW Ryley Grantham, Moose Jaw (WHL)
198  D Alexander Deilert, Swedish Junior

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"I always had a passion for hockey and I still do," said Wahl, who grew up in surfing territory as opposed to hockey territory.

Wahl, was drafted with the 48th pick overall by the Flames, who wrapped up a busy Entry Draft Saturday in Ottawa.

Wahl knows his shot at the NHL is a little ways off but plans to put in plenty of work to get there.

"I've got to have a good summer, a good camp with the Flames and a good year with Spokane. Hopefully I can make the World Junior Championship team in the U.S.," said Wahl, who has been invited to the WJC in August.

Mitch Wahl
Flames scouts project  Wahl to be a top six forward in the NHL.

"He is a playmaker first but he might be able to score 15 or 20 goals at the NHL level," said Button.

One thing is true: Wahl has the gift of the gab. He can talk forever.

"We had to kick him out of out interview room because you only get 20 minutes with these players," chuckled Flames director of scouting Tod Button.

Below is a rundown of the Flames picks on Day 2 of the NHL Entry Draft.

Lance Bouma,LW, Vancouver, WHL, 78th overall

Chosen 78th overall Bouma is a big winger who had 12 goals and 35 points in 71 games with the Giants in the WHL. He also had 93 penalty minutes.

"We think he can score more," said Button. "He is a versatile player. We stepped up on him because he brings a lot of intangibles to our team."

At 6-feet an 194 pounds, he can create some space on the ice.

"He can create room," said Button, noting Buoma has a mean streak. "I don't think he crosses the line. He is hard. He is gritty, He won't back down."

"This is something I have worked for all my life. It feels good to now where I am going," said Bouma, a native of Provost, Alberta.

Nicholas Larson, LW, Waterloo, USHL, 108th overall

The 6-2, 177-pound Larson hails from Apple Valley, Minnesota is a budding power forward with decent hands who scored 19 goals in 57 games in a league that is tough to score in.

"He is a hard, heavy guy in front of the net," said Button.
Nicholas Larson

Larson is slated to attend Notre Dame. As a college player, the Flames have at least five years to watch him develop. "We expect him to be a better player and score more," noted Button.

"I would call myself a power forward," said Larson. "I like to go to the net and bang pucks in. I love finishing checks, going to the net and battling."

TJ Brodie, D, Saginaw, OHL, 114th overall
The Flames are well-stocked in defensive defencemen so the Flames ventured into the puck-moving defence group with Brodie.

TJ Brodie
"I'm more of an offensive defenceman," said Brodie. "I like to get up in the rush."

"We needed some skating, puck-moving guys and that's what we got with Brodie," said Button.

Brodie, from Dresden, Ont.,  had four goals and 26 assists last season and said he wants to put the puck int he net more next season in the OHL.

"I need to get stronger, work hard on and off the ice and hopefully get a chance to make this team," said Brodie.

Ryley Grantham, LW, Moose Jaw, WHL, 168th overall

Grantham hails from Hanna, Alberta, the same town that brought the Flames Lanny McDonald. He played in Brooks two seasons ago in the AJHL. He played in just 33 games, recording two points and 50 penalty minutes.
Ryley Grantham

"He is a bruiser. He is a big, heavy strong guy who can play a role," said Button. "He skates well and he can handle himself. He sticks up for his teammates."

He brings some size with him --he is 6-4 and 205 pounds.

Alexander Deilert, D, Djurgarden, Jr., Sweden, 198th overall

A puck-moving defenceman who has shown rapid development over the last couple of seasons.

The Flames European scouts thought a lot of this player who will still need time to develop into a potential NHLer. He is expected to make the jump to the Swedish Elite League next season.
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