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Flames set to explore moving up in draft

by Aaron Vickers / Calgary Flames

CALGARY, AB -- The Calgary Flames aren’t set on selecting 15th overall in the 2015 NHL Draft.

Pending on who’s available, Flames assistant general manager Craig Conroy suggested Calgary could move up in order to nab a draft eligible a little more to their liking.

“Definitely we’ll make a pitch if there’s a guy we like,” Conroy said. “As a draft starts and you see someone falling or you feel comfortable saying ‘hey, we love this guy’ (and) whoever it is wants to move back and grab another pick, you might be able to move a little bit.

“I don’t know if you can jump too high. If you do, it’s going to be a bigger trade. You’re going to have to move a roster player and someone they really like. We’re open to everything.

“If there’s that player that you feel you’ve got to have him, that’s one thing about (Flames GM) Brad (Treliving). He was working every angle last year trying to get another pick in the first round and it didn’t happen, but he tried. That’s all you can do. I think he’s going to explore every option. He’s probably already started working the phones to find out which GM would be willing to trade the pick, maybe not right now but maybe at the draft something else comes up.”

The last time Calgary made a move in the first round was in 2012, electing to trade down from the 14th selection to acquire picks 21 and 42 from the Buffalo Sabres. Buffalo drafted forward Zemgus Girgensons, while the Flames picked up both Mark Jankowski and Patrick Sieloff.

Given Conroy’s evaluation, a move up might be more likely this time around.

“I think it’s going to be deep,” he said. “Obviously the two guys at the top are elite. For me, they’re head-and-shoulders above everybody. There’s another group, three-to-seven, three-to-six, where you think these guys are going to be in there. Eight, nine, then there’s a bigger group we’re in down to 15.”

The Flames already know what they are trying to target, either at 15 or in moving up.

“We’re looking for skill, speed, character, hockey sense,” director of amateur scouting Tod Button said. “I think it’s universal throughout the league what teams look for. It’s broken down differently but you can never have enough skill. You need skill. You need players that can play in multiple situations so that speaks to versatility. The bigger the better. If you get skilled, big guys…you look at Anaheim -- (Corey) Perry and (Ryan) Getzlaf -- those are skilled, big players.

“Size is important if they go along with the skating and the skill, but the most important thing is we want to get as high a quality of player we can get and to me that means skill and offensive production.”

Whether or not Calgary has to move up in order to find the player that best checks off their box remains to be seen. With nine picks in the 2015 draft and six in the opening three rounds, there are assets to facilitate a move.

They’re prepared to move up in the vent they have to.

They’re also ready to pick at 15 should there be comfort in picking midway through the first round.

“I think we have a pretty good feel,” Conroy said. “Probably the first nine of the draft will be gone. From that point on you don’t know. We want to make sure we’ve got the list in the right order. You always think maybe there’s a defenceman, maybe there’s a forward. There will be lots of decisions.

“It’ll be exciting when we get to that 10th pick and we go from there. Some guys just fall. Some guys maybe we like, maybe he’s 10th on our list, maybe he’s sitting there at 15.

“It could very easily happen.”

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