SUN Hockey Pool

No dance partner for Flames

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 10:31 AM ET

VANCOUVER -- Darryl Sutter said about trade deadline day the the price of poker was too high to make the big deal.

Those chips to move up in the draft won't be any cheaper for the Calgary Flames GM/head coach today in Vancouver.

Sutter, who currently owns the 26th pick overall and nine selections through the seven-round draft, would like to move to the top half of the first round but admitted it won't easily happen.

"When you're picking where we are and when there's a consensus the top end is a top end and as you pick lower, it drops, it's highly unlikely you do that with draft picks," Sutter said after emerging from the GM meetings yesterday.

Meaning the Flames, for the second year in a row, are looking at using the fourth last pick in the first round.

And it's unlikely they'll grab any immediate help, scoring or otherwise, for the upcoming season.

As he's termed in the past, this draft is about "prospect projects."

"Best player available," Sutter explained. "With the new CBA and the way the age of free agency comes down, when you pick later, you put yourself in the mindset of best player available."

Who that will be is anybody's guess. A year ago, the Flames went off the board and took Matt Pelech, ranked 41st among North American skaters by the NHL's Central Scouting Service.

From their end, though, the Flames will be more than ready to state their selection with certainty when the time comes, having met a few times over the last couple of days to map out their strategy.

"We'll be done by tonight," Sutter said. "It's just more of a re-sort and making sure nobody has come in or came out of it.

"It's the first chance I've had the opportunity to sit down with our European scouts instead of doing it on the phone or the Internet. It's the first time I've been able to sit and talk with them and make sure we went through that.

"We understand about the kids, where they are, what their agreements are over there, whether they want to come to North America and how soon and without the Russian agreement in place what the risk is, all that stuff.

"It's just making sure we're all clear on it."

His other order of business yesterday was the meeting among GMs, where it was mainly status quo over the rules developed going into the 2005-06 campaign.

"It is a consensus and a commitment to that package," Sutter said.


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