Flames look into future with draft picks
RANDY SPORTAK, QMI Agency
|Calgary Flames 2rn round pick Patrick Sieloff at the CONSOL Energy Center during the 2nd to 7th rounds of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania June 23, 2012. (QMI Agency/Andre Forget)
CALGARY - Patrick Sieloff is looked to be a future banger on the blueline.
If the Calgary Flames hit a home run in the second day of this year’s NHL Entry Draft, they will have found a defence partner for him on the same day, too.
The Flames addressed their need for better blueline prospects during the final six rounds of the 2012 draft in Pittsburgh, by grabbing three defencemen.
Sieloff, who skated for the U.S. Development Team this past season and will head to the OHL’s Windsor Spitfires, was the second-round choice, 42nd overall, and is expected to eventually bring a robust game to the NHL ranks.
“I like to get under peoples’ skin but be clean about it — that might come with a big open-ice hit,” said the Ann Arbor, Mich., product. “I like playing against top two lines and shutting them down.”
In turn, the club drafted a pair of mobile, puck-movers by nabbing Brett Kulak of the WHL’s Vancouver Giants in the fourth round, 105th overall, and Ryan Culkin of the QMJHL’s Quebec Remparts in the fifth round, 124th.
“We need those guys in our system,” said amateur scouting director Tod Button of Kulak and Culkin. “They’re not close to making the NHL right away, but development-wise, we weren’t afraid to take two similar defencemen.”
The Flames, who have T.J. Brodie already in the NHL, also have John Ramage of the University of Wisconsin and Tyler Wotherspoon of the WHL’s Kootenay Ice in the system.
Now, they believe they have the makings of a solid pool of top-four defencemen for down the road.
Sieloff is likely the closest of the draftees to making the big leagues from this year’s choices, but knows he has plenty to develop under the eye of former Flames defenceman Bob Boughner, the head coach in Windsor.
“It’s what you do from now,” Sieloff said. “This is the starting block. I’m going to work and continue what I’m doing. Hopefully, it works out.”
The Flames turned heads by selecting somewhat unknown centre Mark Jankowski in the first round of the draft Friday night and showed with their selections during the rest of the annual lotto that they believe this year’s crop of players are certainly long-term projects.
While the three blueliners they drafted are currently in the major junior ranks, as is sixth-round pick Coda Gordon — the forward from Cochrane who scored 30 goals in his rookie season for the WHL’s Swift Current Broncos — their other picks are planning to join the NCAA ranks.
Third-round pick Jon Gillies, a netminder from Maine spent last season with the USHL’s Indiana Ice, is expecting to play for Providence College of the NCAA next season — where Jankowski plans to go.
And seventh-round selection Matthew DeBlouw, a centre from the USHL’s Muskegon Lumberjacks, intends to go to the NCAA’s Michigan State University next season.
On Twitter: @SUNRandySportak