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Insider

Teams still debating when to draft goalies

NHL teams aren't using first-round picks on goaltenders like they used to. Will Boston University's Jake Oettinger reverse the trend in the 2017 draft? John Kavouris/Icon Sportswire

There’s a bit of mystery that goes into the NHL draft every year. That’s what makes it so fun. General managers don’t know who is going to slide, which of their colleagues is going to come calling for picks, who might end up in their organization when it all settles.

This past June, Calgary Flames GM Brad Treliving was certain of one thing heading into the draft: His team wasn’t going to be taking a goalie. Certainly not with one of their top picks, desperately needed since they had only five draft picks because of the Dougie Hamilton trade.

At this point, the Flames had strong organizational depth in goal. They had Jon Gillies on the way. In 2014, the Flames drafted Mason McDonald in the second round. They signed Medicine Hat’s Nick Schneider after he was passed over in the 2015 entry draft. Drafting a goalie was not only unnecessary, at some point you run out of places to have them play in the organization.

“It was going to take an act of Congress for us to take a goalie,” Treliving said during a Tuesday phone conversation.

Then Tyler Parsons began to slip. The Michigan native was coming off a big season for the London Knights, where he posted a .921 save percentage. The Flames scouts loved him. Still do.

Calgary was eight or nine picks away from drafting when the Flames' draft table started to stir. The possibility of landing Parsons becomes a possibility, at least to scouting director Tod Button and area scout Terry Doran, a major advocate for Parsons.