Flames stay where they are, will draft ninth overall in 2024 NHL Draft

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They didn’t move up and they didn’t move down.

The Calgary Flames stayed exactly where they were in Tuesday evening’s NHL Draft Lottery.

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For those holding on to the 5% chance of getting the No. 1 pick that the Flames’ regular-season finish presented, maybe that’s disappointing.

But really, it was always the most likely outcome and the Flames still have the ninth-overall pick in the NHL Entry Draft that’s set to go down in Las Vegas on June 28.

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And the reality for the Flames is that they’ve got a top-10 pick and an opportunity to draft a very, very good player next month.

Will it be a guaranteed superstar?

No, Macklin Celebrini is the only player who you can attach that label to, and he’ll be taken by the San Jose Sharks with the first-overall pick.

Macklin Celebrini is widely expected to go No. 1 in this year’s NHL draft. AP Photo

But the Flames like where they are and they like a lot of the players who are likely to be available when they do step to the podium and make their pick.

“I think the one good thing now is we know where we are,” Flames general manager Craig Conroy told Flames TV shortly after the draft lottery. “We’re going to make a good pick at No. 9, now that we know. It’s going to be an interesting draft because usually you kind of foresee how it’s going to go, but it could be a lot of defencemen who could go early.

“There’s forwards there but we’ll see what teams think and I think we’re going to get a good player.”

The Flames have drafted ninth overall twice since they moved to Calgary.

They took Dion Phaneuf in that spot in 2003 and he went on to play over 1,000 games in the NHL.

They also took Brent Krahn at No. 9 in 2000, and he made only one solitary NHL appearance.

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What can you take from that? Well, the Flames need to hit with their pick. It’s as simple as that.

But there’s a long history of star NHLers getting selected ninth. Since 2010, the likes of Dougie Hamilton, Bo Horvat, Trevor Zegras and Timo Meier have all been taken with the ninth pick.

Go further back, and you’ll Rod Brind’Amour and Cam Neely both had to wait for the ninth selection to hear their names called.

So there’s a long history of good players being taken in the spot.

And for the Flames, there’s going to be an opportunity to add an important piece to the young core that they hope will carry them into the future after a season in which they traded away veterans who were soon-to-be unrestricted free-agents and added to their farm system.

As for what the Flames might be looking for, they’re going to be understandably tight-lipped for the next month and a half.

The name Tij Iginla is going to get thrown into every discussion and there are going to be a lot of fans who are hoping Jarome’s son winds up with a Flaming ‘C’ on his chest.

We won’t know until June 28.

Tij Iginla
Tij Iginla of the Kelowna Rockets is expected to go within the top-10 in the upcoming NHL Entry Draft. Photo by Steve Dunsmoor, Kelowna Rockets /Special to Postmedia

But most draft experts are projecting defencemen will be in high-demand at the top of the draft, Conroy included.

“It looks like it’s going to be a little more heavy on defence early in the draft, but that could just be me thinking that,” Conroy told Flames TV. “Everyone’s going to do their draft, but there’s a lot of good players. In the position we are, we’re going to have the opportunity to get a really good player.”

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