PITTSBURGH — A veteran of these things, John Weisbrod can remember leaving previous drafts with a kind of ho-hum satisfaction.
Merely talking about it makes him sigh.
"Where you go, ‘Well, this was a guy who was (due to be picked), so we took him.’ "
But, after his first draft weekend with the Calgary Flames, the assistant general manager was smiling. No resigned feelings of helplessness. Not this time.
Weisbrod knew what he wanted to do here at the Consol Energy Center and, according to him, he did it.
The Flames rustled up seven prospects.
"I got excited seven times — I’m happy about that," he said. "Each in their own way and in their own place, I find myself excited over every guy — you’re supposed to be at this point. We got guys who fit the description and criteria of what we want a Flames player to be."
Not that it had been a cookie-cutter approach.
The Flames landed a rugged rearguard, a pair of mobile defenders, a sky-scraping goalie, a scoring winger, a two-way pivot, and, the team dearly hopes, a franchise centreman.
“We got a real good blend of players," said Weisbrod. "It’s sort of an organic process. You have your list, you have your calculations, and there’s strategizing along the way as you see how things unfold."
In this case, it unfolded in a mostly straight-forward manner.
Flames boss Jay Feaster split Friday’s 14th overall pick — thanks to a swap with the Buffalo Sabres — into two selections, 21st and 42nd.
With those hollers, the team got its mitts on two teens, Mark Jankowski and Patrick Sieloff, that it had rated in the top 20.
"That felt like a gift," Weisbrod said of landing Sieloff in the middle of the second round. "I was particularly tickled with that one. This is a tough, tough, tough kid, and the kind of time-and-space-eliminating defenceman that we’re starving for. And demeanour-wise, he’s one of us, not to make it seem cultish. We were particularly pleased with that pick."
If nothing else, it’s a sharp-minded collection of prospects, all of whom, no doubt, would have thrived in the interview-room setting.
Plenty of eye contact. No fidgeting.
Comfortable. Full of confidence.
"You know, it’s a human game — it’s people," said Weisbrod. "What makes people successful in any field is the calibre of the people. We’re shooting for that."
The Flames, with holes all over the place, have continued to stock the cupboard.
Their summer camp is slated for next month.
"Now it’s a whole new process — Ron Sutter and player development — to continue to push these guys along and grow them," said Weisbrod. "They’re all just pups right now. All you can do is make the picks, then the work begins. But we’re happy with the way it worked out."
Here, Tod Button, the Flames’ director of scouting, runs down the picks:
• 21th — C MARK JANKOWSKI (6-3, 172; Stanstead (Que.) College; Central Scouting No. 43):
"He’s a real talented kid. Skill-wise, hockey-sense-wise, vision-wise. He’s your typical, tall, skilled centremen . . . Every (Flames) scout saw this kid plenty of times."
• 42nd — D PATRICK SIELOFF (6-0, 198; USHL USA U-18; Central Scouting No. 31):
"A hard-nosed competitive warrior type. A battler. He played with (Jason Trouba, drafted No. 9 by Winnipeg), their top pair, their shut-down pair. He was the ying to Trouba’s yang. A physical, in-your-face guy."
• 75th — G JON GILLIES (6-5, 210; USHL Indiana; Central Scouting No. 6 North American goalie):
"A big kid. Real athletic. We had a lot of success last year with Laurent Brossoit, the same style of player. We’ll keep adding to that stable. You can never have enough goalies."
• 105th — D BRETT KULAK (6-0, 174; WHL Vancouver; Central Scouting No. 55):
"Kulak and (Ryan) Culkin are very similar players. Both are puck-moving, steady defencemen. We think Kulak has more offence to give. And Culkin can play any situation — a shut-down guy or join the rush."
• 124th — D RYAN CULKIN (6-1, 174; QMJHL Quebec; Central Scouting No. 66): See above
• 165th — RW CODA GORDON (6-0, 175; WHL Swift Current; Central Scouting No. 61):
"An offensive, scoring winger. A lot of skill . . . Skating is his biggest issue, for sure. But the other stuff is there — the hockey sense, the skill. For us, it’s getting everything else in order before we worry about the skating."
• 186th — C MATTHEW DEBLOUW (6-0, 185; USHL Muskegon; Central Scouting No. 51):
"Sort of like a Swiss Army knife — he does a little of everything."
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