CALGARY, AB -- There are plenty of places Brian Burke would love to be on Saturday night.
At the NHL Draft lottery isn’t on the list.
“This is a case where obviously our broadcast partners are making a big deal out of this and running commercials,” said Burke, president of hockey operations for the Calgary Flames. “It generates some excitement in the fan base but the fact of the matter is every team that’s there is a team that’s failed.
“I’m not happy about it. I wish I weren’t going. I hope it’s the last time I ever go. But that being said, if there is karma … I really believe our players tried to win every game they could win. With luck something good will happen for us. Our players, I think, put us in that position. Not throwing rocks at anyone, but I’m proud of the way our team battled right until the end every single year since I’ve been here … three years.
“We’ll see what happens, but I’d rather be doing almost anything else.”
The lottery will determine where the Flames will pick in the 2016 NHL Draft.
Calgary, who finished 26th overall in the NHL standings, has an 8.5 percent change of winning the top pick in the 2016 NHL Draft. The Flames also stand an 8.8 percent chance of drafting second overall, and 9.0 percent chance of drafting third.
“Where we are right now, we’re picking fifth,” Calgary general manager Brad Treliving said. “If nothing’s to change we’re picking fifth. The worst we can do is eight. You build it bottom up. You get your groupings into that scenario. The good news for us is we know we’re going to get a good player. That’s said every year, but if you look at the top eight, and we’ll still have some debate when the group comes in at the end of May, but we’re going to get a good player.”
There’s a 35.5 percent change the Flames fall to sixth overall, and a 25.5 percent chance they’ll draft seventh. Calgary could drop to eight, with a 3.7 percent likelihood.
“Once you get through Saturday and you’re finalized in terms of where your positioning is, you can zero in on a certain spot or two,” Treliving said. “We look at eight up, there’s lots of good players and different options. That’s sort of what we’ve been basing on.”
But the higher up the better.
And the Flames will be fixed on nabbing one of the top three spots in the draft with forwards Auston Matthews, Patrik Laine and Jesse Puljujarvi comprising the list of top-end forwards available in 2016.
It’s not a secret to Treliving.
Or anyone in the hockey community, for that matter.
“The top end of this draft is excellent,” he said. “You talk about Auston … he’s a kid who’s been picked apart for the last three years. He’s a special talent. The two Finns, I had a chance to see them throughout the year, specifically at the World Juniors … great talents.”
Homework has been done.
And Burke will be satisfied wherever Calgary ends up.
After the lottery, of course.
“There are three players in this draft that everyone will tell you are special, then there’s a ledge,” he said. “Then there’s a drop-off and there’s a couple more. Worst-case scenario for us is if we drop to eight. We believe there are eight players in this draft, then there’s a ledge. There’s more than eight players, but we believe even the worst-case scenario we’re going to be fine. Best-case scenario, you get into the big three. If we stay where we are we’re happy with the type of player we’ll be able to select at five.
“We’re happy with that.”