Dan's the man

CAMERON MAXWELL -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 8:21 AM ET

The seconds on the clock won't be moving fast enough for Dan Bertram today.

With 24 hours to go until the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, the Calgarian will be about as restless as a caged wolf leading into the big day in Ottawa tomorrow, where it's expected he'll get his named called in the second round.

Bertram, who plays for Boston College, is the highest-ranked Calgarian heading into the draft, sitting 36th among North American skaters by the NHL's Central Scouting Service.

And when it comes to which club will call his name, the 18-year-old said it doesn't matter. Although in a perfect world, playing in Calgary Flames red wouldn't be so bad.

"I'd love to play pretty much anywhere but if I got to stay in Calgary, that would be an awesome experience. But you never know what's going to happen," Bertram said.

"I think growing up watching the Flames and with what happened last season, you can't find a better city to play in."

Bertram, who put up 16 points in 32 games last season as a freshman, doesn't have a sense as to which teams are interested in him after meeting with just about every club in the league.

"We went down for the draft testing and had all our meetings. I met with 27 teams and got to talk to them and see what they were thinking," he said.

"But at the end of the day, I have no clue when I'll go or where I'll go. It'll be kind of fun for me, too, to see what all happens."

He plans on watching the draft on TV from the comfort of his couch, thinking he's not likely to go in the first round.

"I think there's 10 or 15 guys going down and I just figure if you get drafted higher than you expect, it's way better to be watching at home than if you're sitting there and not get drafted," said Bertram, a business student at BC.

When it comes to skill, Bertram's got it in spades. He's the only current NCAA player born in 1987 eligible for the draft and, despite his relatively poor offensive output last season, his stock has stayed high.

His performance at last season's under-18 world junior championship probably went a long way in scout's eyes as he led Canada to the silver medal.

At 5 ft. 11 in., 185 lb., his size has been questioned a bit but he's got plenty of grit, blazing speed and great hands.

Meanwhile, three members of the Calgary Hitmen are also going to be anxiously waiting to hear their names called tomorrow.

Defenceman Dustin Kohn (ranked 69th in North America), left winger Brodie Dupont (77) and centre Riley Merkley (81) are all likely to be drafted anywhere from the second to middle rounds.

And right behind Bertram in the rankings is Calgarian Paul Kurceba, a rearguard with the Red Deer Rebels who is ranked 37th.

In addition, Calgary's Wacey Rabbit, a forward with the Saskatoon Blades, is rated No. 62.

LOCALS SIGN: Calgarian Ryan Stone and Blackie's Jeremy Colliton both inked deals yesterday with the NHL clubs that drafted them.

Stone, a former Brandon Wheat King, signed with the Pittsburgh Penguins, while Colliton, who played his junior hockey with the Prince Albert Raiders, closed a deal with the New York Islanders in the morning.

For Stone it means a possible chance to play on the same team with Sidney Crosby and the magnificent Mario Lemieux.

And Stone, 20, said he'd love the chance to play with those guys but he knows he's still got to make the team first.

"It's exciting and maybe one year it'll happen. But I'm just going to go to camp and see what happens," said Stone, who finished second in WHL scoring last season and signed a three-year contract with Pittsburgh.

As for Colliton, he said he's just glad it didn't come down to the final hour yesterday, when NHL teams had until 3 p.m. to sign their 2003 draft selections.

"I expected that I would sign but you never know," he said.


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