Connect with us

Calgary Flames

Impressions on Calgary’s Ten Draft Picks and a Comic Book Nickname for Each

Published

on

Matvei Gridin, Calgary Flames, 2024 NHL Entry Draft

Out of 365 days in any given year, the day after the draft has to be the most absurd to be a follower of any given NHL team.

In a Canadian market, you get near-instant analysis from five different outlets and 15-20 writers that share a combined shallow total of games watching any given pick after the third round. Assigning a grade to prospects you have barely watched beyond tape is just ludicrous. Development isn’t always linear. Even the best scouts are wrong from time to time about players they view playing on dozens of occasions over multiple seasons.

Caveat out of the way; let’s talk about early impressions of Calgary’s 2024 draft class.

 

The Manipulator: Zayne Parekh

Parekh has about as much hype as a top-ten selected offensive defenceman can have following draft day. Taking in a game or two, the impression is that he’s a bit of an enigma on the ice.

He doesn’t play a comparable style to other players. The six-foot, 181-pound right-shot blue liner often looks like a tennis player when he doesn’t have the puck in how he manages space and waits for his chance to strike.

With the puck? It does not look fun to play against him.

He manages space every second he has possession and makes almost every sequence a game of cat and mouse to the point that no one in the OHL seems to commit to throwing the body around on him.

A few concerns are that he’ll never be a mean, physical player and that corner battles might be an issue in the NHL, especially in the playoffs. Handling some of the more massive skaters in the NHL will be a challenge, but Parekh has shown to be quite resourceful so far.

He also doesn’t have the booming shot that you would expect a top-ten selection to have. Parekh can read a goalie’s movement well enough to pick spots at the perfect time, but breaking the door down with a slapper will likely be a rare occurrence.

The only concern is that perhaps we’re looking at a slightly better TJ Brodie. How will Parekh’s eccentric patient style hold up against grown men on the forecheck or against the cycle on the wall? It will be interesting to see how his game progresses next season. He won a Memorial Cup this year and already looks like a ringer in the OHL.

Parekh is 18 and has a February birthday. He’s also only played two full junior seasons. In other words, Zayne is two seasons away from AHL eligibility.

 

The Mind: Matvei Gridin

There is a lot to like about Gridin’s game.

First and foremost, the Kurgan, Russia, product’s hockey IQ looks like it will translate into an NHL role. Gridin doesn’t take long to make an effective play with the puck. While Parekh may use his space to draw defenders or stagnate a defensive formation, Matvei will have a play in mind before he gets the puck and will execute it with urgency.

The frame needs filling out, but for such a wiry build, Gridin already has the body positioning that will be effective in the NHL once he gets faster and stronger on his skates.

For more on Gridin, check out his CHN scouting report.

[Calgary Flames Draft Matvei Gridin at 28 – Full Scouting Report]

 

The Mystery: Andrew Basha

The Basha family is well known in Calgary, Alberta — particularly for owning the Garrison Pub & Eatery in Mardaloop.

Leaving the first round, this draft carried a central theme of Calgary connections.

Andrew Basha is a tough player to project. He reads the play well and has a nose for the net. He may progress into a top-six forward. He can check well enough that he might find a role as a depth winger who can contribute offensively. At six feet and 187 pounds, he won’t be a go-to bruiser if he settles on a third or fourth line.

It would be interesting to see Basha on a different WHL squad. Gavin McKenna and Cayden Lindstrom terrorize the opposition on a nightly basis; it’s difficult to project his production without those threats taking up so much focus.

Watching him during the season, Basha didn’t particularly stand out — despite his exceptional production (30 goals and 55 assists for 85 points in 63 games) but that follows the nature of playing on a team like Medicine Hat this season.

It’s hard to outshine an imposing, top-five-selected power forward and a projected generational player. Still, Basha has his moments.

Time will tell with Andrew. He has a good set of wheels, is excellent at drawing defenders over on the rush, has a solid hockey IQ leaning more towards a playmaker, and has a nose for the net. He’ll need to keep improving his skating to make that toolset translate at the next level.

The Finisher: Jacob Battaglia

HSD prospects put together a highlight package that is worth plugging. See if you can spot the recurring trend.

That’s right. The Flames drafted a classic net-front finisher. We don’t need to go too deep into his game today, but it’s nice to see Button and Co. go for a forward with a bit of a defined niche role.

 

The Outlet: Henry Mews

You have to wonder how much Todd Button and his brother Craig (of TSN stature) talk about prospects. Here is a blurb from Craig from ten months ago.

In terms of the player, Mews is another 6-foot, 185-ish offensive defenceman who can hit his targets on the breakout. The Ottawa, Ontario product has strong puck skills at both ends of the ice and plays a firm puck containment game in his own end and against the rush.

You have to wonder who will break up a cycle when all these offensive defencemen break into the NHL. The Flames will need to add size on the blue line at some point beyond Kevin Bahl and one player listed later in this article.

 

The Token Goalie: Kirill Zarubin

We at CHN don’t pretend to know enough about the finer aspects of goaltending development to weigh in here.

Another netminding pick out of Russia, Zarubin has the frame (six-foot-four, 179 pounds) to fit the role.

His MHL statistics were also pointedly dominant—a .944 save percentage and 1.99 goals against average in 29 games with AKM Tula. Time will tell on Zarubin.

 

The Hidden Ace: Trevor Hoskin

A dip into the OJHL, Hoskin has some hype heading into his first NCAA season with Niagara University.

Forty-two goals and 58 assists for 100 points to lead the league in scoring certainly helps.

There is some burgeoning high-level talent in Hoskin’s game. He has four years to develop, but it’s clear that the Belleville product has a good sense for when to cut to the middle, where to shoot, and when to commit as the second forward on the puck.

The Flames scouting group may have identified a diamond in the rough with Trevor.

 

The Burner: Luke Misa

The conversation will always start with Misa’s speed.

There is much to like about the Oakville product’s game beyond being fast. Solid playmaking in the offensive zone and a sense of when to turn on the jets come with the package. Misa has a knack for setting up garbage goals. The five-foot-ten burner is going to be fun to watch progress.

 

The Potential: Hunter Laing

The son of former Stockton Heat captain Quintin Laing has a massive frame at six-foot-6 and 209 pounds.

Laing is waiting for his breakout season with the Prince George Cougars after an 11 goal, 14 assist season through 66 games. The potential is there, but as it so often happens with sixth round picks, some of the talent is still quite raw.

In terms of strengths, Laing uses his reach exceptionally well. Keep an eye on that in the set of highlights below.

Hunter needs to get quicker and build on his foot speed if he is going to take the next step in his hockey career.

 

The Snarl: Eric Jamieson

The Flames went with a bruiser with their final selection at the 2024 NHL Entry Draft. Jameson loves to hit and has the size (six-foot-three, 205 pounds) to translate into a role at the professional level.

And with ten goals and 22 assists for 32 points in 66 games, Jamieson has a decent set of puck skills to go with the snarl. The towering defenceman loves to use his reach to go forehand-backhand in tight to the net.

A sound defender that gets territorial in front of his own net, Jamieson looks like a sixth round steal.

 

More from CHN: 

[Report: Multiple Teams Calling About Nazem Kadri]

Nazem Kadri, Calgary Flames

(Photo by Curtis Comeau/Icon Sportswire)

For more Flames news, visit Calgary Hockey Now and like our Facebook page. 

Follow us on 𝕏: 

@CgyHockeyNow and @Trevor_Neufeld

Click to comment
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments