The Calgary Flames’ 2011 draft class has the potential to help the team out in a big way in the next few seasons, but so far only Sven Baertschi has reached the NHL. The Flames are still waiting for him to live up to his scoring potential, and as the team looks to rebuild in the offseason the time has come to take another look at what the future holds for the rest of the players the Flames selected two years ago. This summer’s draft will be an important one for the Flames, and with the second overall pick they must be sure to select a player who can have an immediate impact.
Baertschi was selected by the Flames 13th overall in 2011, and showed a great deal of promise as a gifted scorer in the WHL. He has yet to translate that gift at the NHL level, and scored just three goals in 20 games this season. The second round saw the Flames draft Finnish forward Markus Granlund and defenseman Tyler Wotherspoon. Granlund has had some success in the SM-liiga, but at this point it’s anyone’s call if he would have an impact in the NHL, or how long that would take. Wotherspoon just finished his final junior season with the Portland Winterhawks, and will at the very least see time in the AHL next season. He has good size and has shown an ability to chip in offensively, which would make him a great addition to a group of young blueliners in Calgary.
One of the steals of the draft may end up being the fourth round selection of NCAA scoring star John Gaudreau. In his sophomore season with Boston College, Gaudreau scored 21 goals and had 51 points in just 35 games. He may be a year or two away from turning pro, but he’s one of the most likely players from this class to make an impact. The Flames also got goaltender Laurent Brossoit in the sixth round, and given their recent lack of faith in Leland Irving, the young netminder should get a shot at the starter’s job in the AHL next season. Brossoit won 33 games for the Edmonton Oil Kings while posting a 2.25 goals-against average, and was even better in the postseason.
The Flames have the potential to see a handful of impact players from this draft class, though it looks to be a few years before any of them are ready. Baertschi should get more ice time next season, and could see Granlund, Gaudreau and Wotherspoon join him Calgary before too long.