Who's it gonna be?

RANDY SPORTAK -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:50 AM ET

There's going to be some down time for the Calgary Flames scouting staff at this year's draft.

The crew might be able to sneak in a game of Xbox Halo or two, at least for a chunk of Day 2 of the affair that begins tomorrow in Columbus.

"It won't be that bad. After the first round, it goes fast anyway," said Flames scouting director Tod Button. "We'll be watching to see who's picked, figuring out what teams are doing and scratching names off our list."

The Flames have the 18th overall pick in the draft, which will see the first round held in primetime tomorrow, and then a long wait. Rounds two through seven will be held Saturday and -- barring a trade -- it will be while before the Flames call anyone's name.

After the first round, Calgary only has a pair of fifth rounders, one from the David Hale trade, and a pair sixth rounders, theirs and Washington's from the Chris Clark deal.

General manager Darryl Sutter dealt away their second rounder in the Alex Tanguay deal, third rounder in the Hale swap and fourth rounder in the Craig Conroy trade.

It could mean a lot of down time for Button, amateur scouting director Mike Sands and the rest of the crew.

Even who the Flames will reel in with their first rounder is anybody's guess.

And we mean anybody.

This year's crop of players doesn't have the clear-cut No. 1 pick like a Sidney Crosby. It doesn't have a simplistic line to weed out the top 10.

It doesn't have any consensus. Which will make for an interesting first round.

"There's a lot of very good players," Button said. "There's no superstar but what you've got is about 50 guys who are really close. We usually make lists by position and then rank them that way but this year we just started ranking them.

"It's funny but we have a longer list than usual, which is odd because we have fewer picks."

Kyle Turris, who played for Burnaby of the BCHL, is ranked first by the NHL Central Scouting Service. Other top-rated players are Hitmen defenceman Karl Alzner, Keaton Ellerby of Okotoks, who played for WHL Kamloops, Patrick Kane of the OHL's London Knights and Russian Alexei Cherepanov.

Button doesn't believe extra onus is on them to pull a great pick out of the fifth and sixth rounds because they won't have anything else to show for it other than the first rounder.

"We've always stressed that we have to find players in the draft for the Calgary Flames," he stated. "The successful teams -- those teams at the top for 10 years -- find those players in the late rounds, and we want to be one of those successful teams."

Could this be the year we see the Flames take some chances? Their last few drafts have been filled with solid, two-way players who seem to fit the franchise mould.

Could this be when the club steps out of the box and grabs a smallish sniper, out of Europe with the potential to be the next Pavel Datsyuk?

Button insists the team has tried with the likes of Yuri Trubachev and Igor Shastin but neither of them panned out.

"It's not like we've said, 'Let's take a third-line defensive forward or a third-pairing defenceman,' " he said. "It's not in our mindset. We want to find the good players."


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