Flames scouts fishing

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 11:15 AM ET

Like so many, Tod Button was mesmerized watching Gary Bettman open envelopes.

And like so many Flames faithful, the team's director of scouting couldn't help but get a little hopeful the last one opened by the NHL commissioner would have a Flaming C logo. He joined the collective groan when Calgary received the 26th spot instead.

"For a brief moment my heart sank but what can you do?" asked Button rhetorically. "I had the lucky hat on and four leaf clover, just like Craig Patrick did. It just didn't work."

Meaning more work for him, amateur scouting director Mike Sands and the rest of the staff who'll try to come up with a gem late in the first round today.

"It was more work leading up to because we didn't know where we were picking," Button said. "Usually we would work to have 10 or 11 in the area. We didn't have that opportunity before but we're just as prepared."

They have to be with the way Darryl Sutter tries to collect draft choices like a hockey card collector. As it stands now, the Flames own a first-rounder, two thirds, two fourths (one a compensatory pick for losing Craig Conroy), two fifths (the Bob Boughner trade) and sixth and seventh. Don't be surprised if Sutter deals the first-rounder for two later picks.

After all, Button said, this year's draft can be termed a toss-up after the first few names.

"It's a very interesting draft in that a kid you may think will go at 20 may actually go 40th," he said.

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GET OUT THE PEN: The Islanders signed G Garth Snow to a three-year deal ... Detroit signed F Ryan Oulahen and D Kyle Quincey to three-year, entry-level contracts ... D Dmitri Kalinin re-signed with Buffalo, exercising his one-year contract option ... Anaheim re-signed D Sandis Ozolinsh to a two-year deal, three days before he would have become an unrestricted free agent.

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ICE CHIPS: The New York Rangers bought out Bobby Holik, who had two more years left on his deal at $6.8 million US per season ... Columbus bought out D Scott Lachance, who was slated to earn $1.52 million this season, and put Andrew Cassels ($2.32 million salary this season) on waivers ... Colorado bought out C Chris Gratton ($1.9 million this season) ... Minnesota dumped Matt Johnson and re-signed Alexandre Daigle ... Florida parted ways with D Mathieu Biron ($1.06 million this season) ... The NHL will announce its ruling next week on when Todd Bertuzzi can resume league play, a source requesting anonymity told CP.


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