Source: Calgary Sun
To Tod Button, the change in drafting philosophy surrounding the Calgary Flames isn't that recent of a development.
Oh, sure, it's easy to say it's only been the past couple of years in which the Flames have decided skill, character and hockey sense are important when drafting for the future.
Especially when last year's NHL Entry Draft saw them nab Sven Baertschi in the first round, Markus Granlund in the next round and then small-but-super-skilled John Gaudreau in the fourth round.
"We began to change what we were looking for even before that," said Button, the club's amateur scouting director. "I know a lot of people give (former GM) Darryl (Sutter) a lot of grief but not for his hockey sense, for the way he treated people. But he recognized after 2006 the game was changing. From when we took Mikael Backlund, it's been progressing."
Button, whose time with the Flames goes back over a dozen years now, can point out the evolution of the club's draft choices.
Sure, back in 2005, the team keyed on big blueliners in the likes of Matt Pelech and Gord Baldwin, but skating became more of a focus to the point you saw picks like John Negrin and Keith Aulie in 2007, Mitch Wahl, Lance Bouma and T.J. Brodie the next year and then Tim Erixon and Ryan Howse in 2009.
Another turning point was the 2010 draft, with the likes of Max Reinhart, John Ramage, Bill Arnold and Michael Ferland, who are all now seen as legitimate NHLers because of their smarts — be it for the game as a whole or knowing their role within it.
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