Flames assistant GM discusses draft strategy


With three first-round draft picks that range from high-end (their sixth selection) to slightly deeper (Pittsburgh’s and St. Louis’ picks through trades), the Calgary Flames could rebuild in a hurry thanks to the 2013 NHL Draft.

Of course, it all comes down to making the right decisions. Assistant GM for player personnel¬†John Weisbrod shared the team’s wide array of options and potential strategies with on Tuesday.

He acknowledged the possibility that the Flames could swap one or more of those picks for immediate roster players as at least one route the team could take.

“We’re in a little bit of a retooling mode after some of the trades that got us picks, and we have holes in the lineup, so there’s going to be a lot of constructive discussion between now and the draft about potential trades for actual players or moving picks around,” Weisbrod said. “I think it’s certainly a possibility for us that our draft number and picks might not look the same on the day of the draft as they do today, but those are things we’ll dig in on between now and then.”

Interestingly, Weisbrod admitted that the team could go from “best player available” to covering more immediate needs with the later first-round picks they received via trades.

“I try and look at things more big picture rather than immediate need, but certainly when you get later in the first round and then to the other rounds at the very top, I guess you’re more justified in drafting for need because you have four or five guys that could conceivably jump in and play right away,” Weisbrod said. “Then it’s sort of a tie-goes-to-the-runner mentality. All things considered equal, you might as well draft at a position in which you have need.”

Weisbrod seems to double back on later-round picks, citing the propensity of developmental players.

It all points to an unpredictable (and potentially fascinating) rebuild for the Flames.

Report: Islanders cut first-rounder Barzal from camp

Mathew Barzal
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It seems Mathew Barzal has played in his last game in a New York Islanders’ uniform for a little while.

Barzal took part in the Islanders’ preseason finale against the Washington Capitals on Sunday, but after that contest the Islanders decided to return him to WHL Seattle, per Newsday’s Arthur Staple.

He was taken with the 16th overall pick in 2015 NHL Entry Draft. That selection was well-traveled as it originally belonged to the Pittsburgh Penguins, but was involved in the David Perron trade and then moved to the Islanders as part of Edmonton’s deal to get Griffin Reinhart.

Barzal is noteworthy for his skill and speed, but he may have slipped in the draft due to a knee injury he sustained during the 2014-15 campaign.

The Islanders also reassigned Kirill Petrov, Kevin Czuczman, Scott Mayfield, and Adam Pelech to the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers.

Torres offered in-person hearing, potentially setting up long suspension

Torres hit

What will Raffi Torres get this time?

The 33-year-old forward that has become known primarily for his controversial hits has once again put himself in the sights of the NHL’s Department of Players Safety. They confirmed that he was offered an in-person hearing following his hit on Jakub Silfverberg Saturday night. He declined the opportunity to meet with them face-to-face, but the offer itself is an important detail because it gives the league the option to suspend him for more than five games.

It certainly seems like the stage is set for a lengthy suspension. While Torres is not considered a repeat offender as his last suspension came more than 18 months ago, the NHL still retains the right to consider his history when deciding on this matter.

Among other incidents, he was once was banned from 25 games for his hit on Marian Hossa in 2012, although it was later reduced to 21 contests after an appeal. The NHL found that Torres was guilty of breaking three rules for that hit; namely interference, charging, and illegally hitting the head. The NHL is reviewing Torres’ latest incident for the same three violations.

You can see the hit below:

And here it is slowed down:

Torres got a match penalty and Silfverberg left the game. Fortunately, Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said that Silfverberg could have returned, but was kept out for precautionary reasons.