CALGARY, AB -- Every team heading into the 2011 NHL Entry Draft has different needs.
Some are looking to use their picks to fill positional depth holes. Some are looking for trades to make immediate improvements to their rosters. Some are just looking to draft the best player possible, irrelevant of position.
According to general manager Jay Feaster, the Calgary Flames fall into the last category.
In his meetings leading up to the draft, Feaster has told Tod Button, director of scouting, that he does not want to limit the club by singling out specific positions or certain types of players. He simply wants the best possible player available when it comes time for the team to take to the podium in Minnesota.
"I told him that the most important thing for him and his scouts to accomplish, once we get into Minnesota this week and before Friday night, is that the list has to be in order," Feaster said on Monday. "We have to make sure we have the guys rated properly. If we say this guy is the fourth best guy in the draft, he better be because I'm not going to set any parameters on him. I want us to work our list and take the best player available."
During his time with the Tampa Bay Lightning, Feaster went into the draft with very specific goals in mind. He and his scouting staff singled out targets and instead of drafting the best available, they chose players based on a narrow set of specifications. Looking back, he views this tactic as limiting for an organization.
"I think when you start setting too many parameters you can miss some good players. As I said to him (Button), if that means we end up with a plethora of guys at one position, as long as they can all play, we'll be able to move them later for what we think we need. But that's the most important thing - let's make sure we get guys that are going to play."
While having the 13th pick is something the Flames are quite happy about, Feaster is listening to all trade options and has declared the team is open for business.
"We've had some conversations with teams about moving up. I've had a lot of phone calls from teams about moving down. It will depend on what is happening on the floor on Friday night.
"If in fact players that we like, that are still on our list, are on the board available at that pick and we have somebody come at us and offer us more picks or something else that makes sense, we will certainly be open. We're not going to go in close-minded."