Flames have lengthy list of possibilities with 12th-overall pick

Sam Cosentino takes a look at who is most likely going to go first overall to the Buffalo Sabres along with who could be selected by the Canadian teams.

The last time the Calgary Flames picked 12th overall they nailed it by drafting Gary Roberts.

Or did they?

That same year – 1984 - you could argue the better Flames pick came five rounds later when Brett Hull was nabbed.

Hall of Famers generally don’t wait around that long for their name to be called.

Fact is, Roberts may have been the team’s third-best pickup that weekend, as Gary Suter was selected by Cliff Fletcher in the ninth round.

If only the Flames could affect such change this summer when they’re slated to pick 12th once again, as determined by Wednesday’s draft lottery.

But what are they looking for?

We know coach Darryl Sutter places a premium on building up the middle with goaltending, defencemen and centres.

He values speed and size above all.

What sort of influence will he have on general manager Brad Treliving, assuming he’s still steering this ship?

Sportsnet draft guru Sam Cosentino figures there’s a player ranked right in Calgary’s wheelhouse that both men can agree on: Carson Lambos.

“Two-way defenceman with some size and bite,” said Cosentino, whose latest ranking have Lambos 18th, while Central Scouting pegs him 11th amongst North American skaters.

“He’d be right up Calgary’s alley - he satisfies Treliving because he has offensive upside, and satisfies Darryl because he’s a bit of a bruising defender and because he’s a WHL guy they’d have some additional knowledge on. He plays lots of minutes and all situations.”

Lambos played just two games for the WHL's Winnipeg Ice this year before being shut down by a leg injury that prevented him from playing in the all-important Under-18s.

Earlier in the year the six-foot-one, 197-pound Winnipeg native got some reps in with JYP of the Finnish Liiga where he skated in 17 games between the U-18 and U-20 pro teams and racked up two goals and 14 points.

Keep that name in mind, as well as the reality draft lists can still change if showcase events are still somehow arranged.

He’s not the Owen Power or Brandt Clarke the Flames would have been debating on had they supplanted Buffalo to win Wednesday’s lottery.

But he’s touted as the type of top-pairing defender the Flames could use moving forward.

What do the Flames need most?


Because Treliving has always insisted his club drafts the best player available, and not by position, the list of possibilities is lengthy, especially in a year when so little was seen of every player eligible.

Cole Sillinger is certainly a strong possibility for the Flames.

“People have him higher but he’s right in Calgary’s wheelhouse,” said Cosentino, who ranks the six-foot, 197-pound centre with Sioux Falls of the USHL 15th after scoring 24 goals and 46 points in 31 games as arguably the best forward in the loop.

“Heaviness and skill. Goal scorer.”

Zachary Bolduc is a centre with Rimouski who could fit the bill.

“Injured a bunch this year but has tons of skill and has played with good players like Alexis Lafreniere and others,” said Cosentino.

“He speaks English and the Flames would have some inside knowledge there from the same scout who suggested Jakob Pelletier. Super skilled. Pure scorer.”

Chaz Lucius is another gifted centre who scored a goal a game with the vaunted U-18 US development team. The 6-foot-1, 185-pound pivot is ranked just ahead of Xavier Bourgault who had 20 goals and 40 points in 29 games with Shawinigan.

What is the penchant for the team to take a gamble on Russian centre Fedor Svechkov or uber-talented but inconsistent Swede Fabian Lysell?

Surely rugged centre Mason McTavish will be selected before the Flames get a chance to grab him.

Or maybe the Flames take a swing at a goalie, which may seem foolish and far-fetched given how tough it has been for the Flames – any team for that matter – to successfully snag a netminder in the first round.

That said, for Edmonton’s s-foot-six Sebastien Cossa or six-foot-three Jesper Wallstedt it might be worth the gamble, and the wait.

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