SUN Hockey Pool

Worst behind blueliner

RANDY SPORTAK

, Last Updated: 9:24 AM ET

COLUMBUS -- An ankle injury before the season began. A head injury in his return to action.

Not exactly the way John Negrin envisioned his draft year panning out.

Yet, it all worked out for the Kootenay Ice defenceman when the Calgary Flames called his name in the third round, 70th overall, yesterday in the second day of the NHL draft in Columbus.

"You've got to be positive. There was nothing I could do," Negrin said. "I just did what I could with my off-ice training, and once I got back knew I had to show myself."

It was enough for the Flames to call him long before the Central Scouting Service had the 6-ft. 2-in., 195-lb. West Vancouver product ranked (85th among North American skaters).

And you couldn't have wiped the smile off his face.

"I've always dreamed of being drafted by a team in Canada and my wish came true," he said.

Negrin rolled his ankle playing softball before the Ice began camp. His return to the lineup was short-lived due to a concussion.

One thing you can bet on, the Flames know exactly what they're getting with Negrin. General manager Darryl Sutter is notorious for going to games on a nightly basis, even if it means driving to Cranbrook to see the Ice.

"I talked to Darryl and he thinks I have a lot of potential," Negrin said.

A day after claiming highly touted Swedish forward Mikael Backlund in the first round, the Flames added another four prospects.

After Negrin they took hulking 6-ft. 6-in., 208-lb. defenceman Keith Aulie of the WHL Brandon Wheat Kings 116th, OHL Windsor Spitfires centre Mickey Renaud with the 143rd pick, and U.S. Development Program forward C.J. Severyn 186th.

Renaud is the son of former NHLer Mark Renaud, who skated in 152 games for Hartford and Buffalo.

That the Flames dealt away a pair of fifth round picks to Buffalo to choose him in the fourth wasn't lost on the 6-ft. 2-in., 217-lb. centre.

"I think it's a compliment and an honour," Renaud said.

Severyn made his mark with a physical style for the U.S. national Under-18 squad.

The teenager, who'll be skating for Ohio State in Columbus next season, had to wait a while to hear his name.

"It didn't matter to me," he said. "I wasn't nervous at all. I was happy watching my friends go. But it's a good feeling."

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CALGARY'S PICKS OF THE LITTER

MIKAEL BACKLUND

Round 1, 24th overall

Centre

6 ft. 194 lb.

Vasteras (Sweden 2)

18 GP, 1 G, 2 A, 3 Pts, 14 PIM

JOHN NEGRIN

Round 3, 70th overall

Defence

6 ft. 2 in., 195 lb.

Kootenay (WHL)

44 GP, 1 G, 15 A, 16 Pts, 57 PIM

KEITH AULIE

Round 4, 116th overall

Defence

6 ft. 5 in., 208 lb.

Brandon (WHL)

66 GP, 1 G, 8 A, 9 Pts, 82 PIM

MICKEY RENAUD

Round 5, 143rd overall

Centre

6 ft. 2 in., 217 lb.

Windsor (OHL)

68 GP, 22 G, 32 A, 54 Pts, 76 PIM

C.J. SEVERYN

Round 7, 186th overall

Left wing

6 ft. 1 in., 185 lb.

USA Under-18

48 GP, 6 G, 10 A, 16 Pts, 50 PIM


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