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Rebuilding Flames use first-rounders on forwards

by Connor Mellas

The Calgary Flames had a busy first round at the 2013 NHL Draft.

With the sixth pick, the Flames selected Sean Monahan of the Ottawa 67's. The 6-foot-2, 187-pound center captained the 67's in 2012-13 and led by example, recording 31 goals and 47 assists in 58 games.

"I'm looking forward to it," Monahan said after being selected. "It's going to be a challenge and I'm always up for a challenge. I think I'm going to be a part of that team and help that team win, so it's going to be a fun time."

The Flames are a rebuilding team, and Monahan is no stranger to playing on a roster in transition. In 2012-13, the 67's won 16 out of 68 games. Monahan said he thinks that tough season made him a better player.

"Obviously, being the captain of the team, I was relied on a lot, and I think I liked that," the 18-year-old said. "You've got to go through a lot of adversity, and you go through, I guess, bumps, and you learn a lot about yourself and I guess about the team. I think it really helped me leadership-wise to be a better player and a better person."

The Flames are hopeful Monahan is capable of making an immediate impact, and general manager Jay Feaster said he wants to sign the forward as quickly as possible.

"We want him to come into development camp, and then rookie camp, and come into main camp and try to compete for a spot on the team," Feaster said.

With its second pick of the first round, No. 22, Calgary made a surprising move and selected Emile Poirier. At 6-foot-1, 183 pounds, the forward was ranked No. 39 among North American skaters by Central Scouting. Able to play right wing or center, Poirier recorded 32 goals and 38 assists in 65 games for the Gatineau Olympiques in 2012-13.

"I like to compete, play hard, [I’m] an offensive guy, [I] reach the net with a lot of speed," Poirier said.

If Poirier does play in the NHL this season, his speed will be vital to his success.

"I'm not a pretty skater," the Montreal native said. "But my speed is one of my big parts of that game; I like going around defensemen."

With the 28th pick, the Flames drafted forward Morgan Klimchuk, a Calgary resident. Klimchuk (5-foot-11, 180 pounds) played 72 games for the Regina Pats in 2012-13 and recorded 36 goals and 40 assists.

"Going into it, I knew how many picks Calgary had in the first round, and I thought I had a pretty good couple interviews with them, but for this to actually come true and for my dreams to become a reality it's an unbelievable feeling," Klimchuk said.

Asked if the Flames would try to sign Poirier and Klimchuk as quickly as Monahan, Feaster said, "We're going to take a look at that. In a perfect world that's what we'd do. We'll see how it all shakes out, but I'd rather get them signed sooner than later."

With its five remaining picks, Calgary selected 6-foot-7, 241-pound defenseman Keegan Kanzig in the third round; defenseman Eric Roy in the fifth round; forward Tim Harrison in the sixth round; and defensemen Rushan Rafikov and John Gilmour in the seventh round.

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