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NHL Draft

Flames may look to add picks in NHL Draft

Calgary open to stockpiling selections by trading down from No. 16

by Aaron Vickers / NHL.com Correspondent

CALGARY -- A shortage of selections isn't discouraging Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving ahead of the 2017 NHL Draft presented by adidas.

The Flames have five picks, including one in the opening three rounds of the draft. Calgary traded its second-round pick (No. 47) and defenseman Jyrki Jokipakka to the Ottawa Senators for 22-year-old forward Curtis Lazar and defenseman Michael Kostka on March 1. The Flames also traded their third-round pick (No. 78) to the Arizona Coyotes for defenseman Michael Stone on Feb. 20.

The first round of the draft at United Center in Chicago is Friday (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN). Rounds 2-7 are Saturday (10 a.m. ET; NHLN, SN).

"Going into Chicago, we're short picks," Treliving said. "This is the first time we've done that. We've had multiple picks and extra picks in previous years. We've used those. I look at it as we've got our first (No. 16). Our second-round pick, to me, is not gone. We've got Curtis Lazar, who represents the second-round pick. We feel we probably don't get into the position to be in the [Stanley Cup Playoffs] without the addition of Michael Stone. We think we spent [traded picks] wisely. 

"We'd like to have more bullets in our chamber going in there and we'll see if we can do that, or use what we do have to be as active as we can here."

 

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Five is the fewest number of picks the Flames have had since 2015, when they traded their first-round pick (No. 15) and two second-round picks (Nos. 45 and 52) to the Boston Bruins for defenseman Dougie Hamilton on June 26, 2015.

Treliving didn't rule out improving that number by trading down.

"If you can sit here and say, 'Here's two or three or four guys,' it allows you to focus in on that group," he said, "but also it gives you the option of saying if it gets to that place and you have three guys left, you move down and still grab someone you like and add another pick or another asset.

"We're excited. The intriguing part for us is going to be one of those guys in our grouping fall through and get to us."

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After selecting forward Matthew Tkachuk with the No. 6 pick of the 2016 draft, the Flames will choose 10 spots lower this time after going 45-33-4 this season.

"You want to be picking later in the draft every year," Treliving said. "That means you've played better. Sometimes it's a little clearer when you're picking [No.] four or five. You certainly want to get out of that front row and move further back and sometimes it becomes a little less clear of a picture, but I know [our scouts] are prepared for Chicago and ready to go."

The Flames are confident they'll get a quality player with their first-round pick to add to a youthful core that includes forwards Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, Sam Bennett and Tkachuk developing into regulars since 2011.

"It's an interesting one this year," Treliving said. "I think it's a tighter draft. I think you could have a lot of variation. If you looked and picked the top 31, you may have a lot of the similar names [but] you may have 31 different orders, which is not necessarily unique. I think there are some really good players. We've done our work. Our guys are prepared. If we stay at 16, we think we're going to get a real good player.

"Are we crossing our fingers for certain guys? Absolutely. But we think regardless of what's been said, we're going to get a real good player at 16. And then the job, like every year, without a second and third, we have to find players in later rounds. Our staff has done a good job over the years to find players later in the draft. That's going to be no different.

"If things go the way all the pundits and experts talk about it, there's players after No. 2 and some real good players, and we're hopeful we're going to get one and confident we're going to get one."

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