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No league bias on draft day

by Aaron Vickers / Calgary Flames

If we draft seven guys from the Quebec league this year because that's where they fall or from the Western league or from Europe, then that's where it falls.John Weisbrod

CALGARY, AB -- A year ago, the selection of Ryan Culkin 124th overall in the 2012 NHL Draft marked the first time since Hugo Carpentier in 2006 that the Calgary Flames selected a player out of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

Greg Nemisz, Calgary's first rounder in 2008, was the last player the Flames have drafted out of the Ontario Hockey League.

Chalk those up to coincidence.

According to assistant general manager of player personnel John Weisbrod, a player's league has zero influence on whether or not they will become a member of the Flames on June 30th.

"If we draft seven guys from the Quebec league this year because that's where they fall or from the Western league or from Europe, then that's where it falls," Weisbrod said. "Europe is probably one of the area where you'd say there's some significant cultural differences that you have to take into account but whether it's high school or college or USHL or OHL or Western league, I put very little stock in the differential."

In fact, that differential between the leagues is quickly becoming non-existent, according to Weisbrod.

"We're all in agreement that there are great players and duds that come out of every league and while different leagues might have a different flavor -- people used to like to think the Quebec league is the offence skill league and no defence or the Western league is the rugged league -- I think more and more, you get players going to different leagues and different things, I think those lines are dissipating and we look at it as one large pool and we don't have concern for what league a guy comes from," he said.

In other words, any speculative bias from Calgary in terms of the annual entry draft process is purely that.


"I don't pay a lot of attention on commentary or thoughts in media or even within our own group, but I get frustrated by the over focus and obsession with what league a guy came from," Weisbrod said. "I put no bearing on that."

Instead of focusing on where a player is coming from, Weisbrod and the Flames' philosophy is busy spent elsewhere.

In finding the right additions to the prospect pool.

"I do think in terms of our philosophy, we're going to take a little bit more of a look this year in terms of player type instead of just rating and ranking, which maybe is something we did a little more of last year just because now we have holes to fill and spaces to go in," Weisbrod said. "We're not just drafting guys and putting them on the shelf and waiting for them. I think that will change our philosophy a bit this year.

"All in all, the bedrock of what we want our team to be stays the same."

Regardless of what leagues they've developed from.

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