The post Youth Still a Priority for Flames’ GM Craig Conroy appeared first on NHL Trade Talk.

In a season filled with ups and downs for the Calgary Flames, one major positive has to be the establishment of a new youth movement. Flames GM Craig Conroy made it clear in his introductory press conference, that bringing in younger players was going to be the main focus for the team moving forward.

It’s safe to say that Conroy has delivered greatly on this promise. It started with Conroy’s first-ever trade bringing in 25-year-old Yegor Sharangovich from New Jersey, who has been a great story this season. The Flames have also seen rookies such as Connor Zary and Martin Pospisil make their mark at the NHL level, resulting in them being on the roster full-time. Other young players such as Matt Coronato, Dustin Wolf, Ilya Solovyov, and Adam Klapka have also gotten looks with the Flames and are expected to be part of the future.

Yet it doesn’t stop here. With the 2024 NHL Draft coming up, the Flames are still expected to introduce even more youth during this retool. The future is bright for the Flames and it helps how a GM like Conroy is progressive towards the idea of younger players getting chances and making a statement in the NHL.

Zary Sharangovich Wolf FlamesFlames Looking to Follow Similar Youth Models

Within the chain of season-ending interviews, Conroy indicates his interest in utilizing youth models used by other teams in the league.

Conroy mentions the strategies used by the Dallas Stars and Montreal Canadiens. Both of these teams have made it a priority to introduce youth alongside veteran presence. Montreal is still in the middle of their rebuild with great promise for the future through their young players. However, Dallas on the other hand has been a consistent playoff team for some time now and has begun to enter the category of being a cup contender.

Additionally, the Stars’ core involves prominent veterans such as Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn, two players with huge contracts who are at the back end of their careers. The Stars have also had strong drafts, selecting players such as Miro Heiskanen, Jason Robertson, and Jake Oettinger who have now become franchise cornerstones. Through strong drafting and smart free agency moves, the Stars have been able to build a Cup-contending team around veterans who have complemented their youth greatly.

Conroy shares these ideas through the following statement:

“You’re trying to look at a team like Dallas. They have a good veteran core, they’ve had a really good draft, they brought in some free agents and made some trades. You want to sprinkle in some young guys and see how they do”.

Conroy on the process of building a contender
Flames May Look to Move Assets For More Youth

Conroy also mentions Montreal and their history of acquiring young talent for assets. The Canadiens traded the 13th overall pick to Chicago in exchange for centerman Kirby Dach during the 2022 Draft. Conroy mentions his desire to acquire young players by potentially using assets such as draft picks to do so.

Craig Conroy Flames GM

The Flames will have two first-round picks in 2024 including Vancouver’s first which they received from the Elias Lindholm trade. That pick will be in the late first round and Calgary could utilize it to acquire a young player to make a immediate impact on their roster. It’s an interesting strategy that could be a possibility if the Flames do, in fact, want to be competitive next season.

Making Smart Draft Selections Will Be Crucial

Despite all the talk about the Flames and their retooling, all of it will be pointless if the Flames don’t draft smartly. In order to follow a model similar to a team like Dallas, hitting on their draft picks is an absolute must for long-term success. Addressing positions of need and finding players that fit the Flames’ identity and style the most is the key to creating a successful youth movement.

The next few drafts will essentially dictate the future of the Flames. In a draft where the Flames are likely to draft 8-10th overall, they have the chance to snag a player that will potentially be part of a contending core for years to come. Drafting and developing talent efficiently is a huge factor if the Flames have the desire to turn this around quickly.

Retools aren’t meant to be long, but it all depends on the various choices a team makes. The Flames are in for an interesting next few seasons as fans will really get to see Conroy’s ideas in action. As for how long this retool will take, it’s quite uncertain.

Next: Late Goal Flurry Propels Hurricanes to Series Win Over Islanders

The post Youth Still a Priority for Flames’ GM Craig Conroy appeared first on NHL Trade Talk.

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