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The Flames have been awarded the 12th pick for the upcoming NHL Draft

by RYAN DITTRICK @ryandittrick / CalgaryFlames.com

There was a chance - albeit a small one.

But Lady Luck had other plans this year.

The Flames have been awarded the 12th pick in the 2021 NHL Draft following the results of Wednesday's Draft Lottery.

Calgary had a 2.2% chance of landing the first pick, along with a 2.5% chance of winning the second, with two separate draws taking place under a new format this year. However, their 86.5% odds of retaining their original selection became reality when NHL Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly revealed the Flames logo in that spot live on Hockey Night in Canada Wednesday.

The Buffalo Sabres - who entered the night with the best odds at 16.6% - won the lottery and will have the first-overall selection on July 23. This is only the third time in the last 11 lotteries that the team with the worst record landed the top pick.

The Seattle Kraken won the second lottery and will pick second, pushing the Anaheim Ducks back to third.

"There are probably some 'ledges' when you come into this draft," said Flames General Manager Brad Treliving. "I think if there's not clear No. 1, there's probably a consensus. Then you get down to that second ledge that probably gets you down into the three, four range. Then, it goes from there. When you go through a season like we've been where it's not a normal season and you've got different coverage on different guys, I think you're going to have some variety when it comes to different teams' draft boards - which will make it interesting.

"I think as you move down the draft list, there's probably not going to be two boards that are the same.

"It's going to make for an interesting draft night."

 

Video: Treliving on Draft Lottery results, off-season & more

 

Unlike in past years, when it seemed the Top 5, 10, 20 and beyond were a touch easier to forecast, there's a bit more fluidity to the rankings this time around.

But as far as the experts are concerned - as Treliving alluded to - a favourite has emerged. NHL Central Scouting, along TSN's Bob McKenzie and Sportsnet draft guru Sam Cosentino, have identified 6-foot-5, 213-lb. defenceman Owen Power as the consensus top pick.

The Mississauga native, who was a freshman at the University of Michigan this past year, had 16 points (3G, 13A) in 26 games, and is lauded for his ability to play in all situations and chew up minutes. Who couldn't use a franchise defenceman like that?

Does it compare to when Alexis Lafreniere was taken by the Rangers last year? Or when Auston Matthews (2016), Connor McDavid (2015) and Nathan MacKinnon (2013) were snagged by the Leafs, Oilers and Avalanche?

Maybe, maybe not.

"I don't know what percentage number you would want to put on it," one scout told McKenzie back on April 19. "Sixty, 70 per cent? I'm not sure. It's certainly more than 50 percent, but this is not a draft where there's one dominant prospect who is the unquestioned No. 1 choice.

"I mean, it's close enough between Power and the other top guys that you couldn't rule out someone else."

That, certainly, is a testament to the depth of talent available at this year's event. But it also offers a look into how the pandemic shook up the sporting landscape.

It was a challenging year in the scouting world, as many of the world's amateur leagues played only partial campaigns, or - in the case of the OHL - didn't play at all. Even for those that did up the skates in a competitive, game setting, even a single live viewing from inside the arena was rare, forcing clubs' amateur scouts to rely heavily on recorded video and live streams.

That said, all 32 teams are in the same boat - and General Manager Brad Treliving feels his group, led by Head Amateur Scout Tod Button, made the best of a bad situation.

 

Tweet from @NHLFlames: Our history with the 12th pick at the #NHLDraft:1���9���8���4���: Gary Roberts pic.twitter.com/E7YXT2Ikvx

 

"You've got some guys that didn't play, you've got some guys that played different schedules - shorter schedules, compacted schedules - and some of the North American players went over and played in Europe," Treliving said. "It's been a different year, a challenging year ... and I think between now and up to the draft, you're filling in all those blanks in terms of the background information.

"We'll be ready when the draft comes."

As for who might be available in that spot:

McKenzie listed Sioux Falls (USHL) centre Cole Sillinger in the 13th spot on his mid-season rankings. Sillinger - son of longtime NHLer Mike - had 46 points (24G, 22A) in 46 games this year with the Stampede. Cosentino, meanwhile, has Fyodor Svechkov (Togliatti, Russia) in that position. Svechkov split the 2020-21 season with the Togliatti's VHL and MHL clubs - the same leagues that produced Flames' fourth-round pick, goaltender Daniil Chechelev, last year.

But those are only a few examples of what could be come July. CLICK HERE to view NHL Central Scouting's Final Rankings.

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