Team white centre Connor Zary (18) skates during the Kubota OHL/NHL Top Prospects team white on-ice skills testing in Hamilton, Ont. on Wednesday, January 15, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter Power

Team white centre Connor Zary (18) skates during the Kubota OHL/NHL Top Prospects team white on-ice skills testing in Hamilton, Ont. on Wednesday, January 15, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter Power

Calgary Flames make centre Connor Zary club’s first pick of NHL entry draft

The Flames shipped out the 19th pick to get the 22nd and 72nd selections from the New York Rangers

The Calgary Flames took their time selecting Connor Zary in the first round of the NHL entry draft Tuesday.

The Flames owned the No. 19 selection, but twice dropped down the order to gain an additional a pair of third-round picks for Wednesday.

Calgary eventually called Zary’s name at No. 24. The Flames had alumni and Hockey Hall of Famer Lanny McDonald announce his name.

The six-foot, 178-pound forward from Saskatoon had an inkling the Flames might be interested in him based on his pre-draft interviews with the team.

“”I think we both felt comfortable with each other and they seemed to really like my game,” Zary said Tuesday evening on a conference call

“”When it came up to 19, I was kind of getting nervous. Then they traded their pick and were back up again and traded the pick again. I was still available for them and I kind of thought ‘this is going to be it.’”

Zary had 38 goals and 48 assists in 57 games in his third season with the Western Hockey League’s Kamloops Blazers. He was named to the Western Conference all-star team.

“A highly competitive kid. He’s in the middle of the action,” Flames general manager Brad Treliving said.

“Fifty-fifty pucks, loose pucks, he’s a dog on a bone and just plays with a lot of juice. You talk about how responsible he is, but he shot it in the net 39 times in a real good league.

“He’s got a great personality in his game.”

The Flames shipped out the 19th pick to get the 22nd and 72nd selections from the New York Rangers, before sliding No. 22 to the Washington Capitals for the 24th and 80th picks.

“We got a guy who we think a lot of, high on our list, and we were able to secure a couple assets,” Treliving said.

“There were some anxious moments. The scouts are holding the breath when we’re slipping down and names are coming up, but I know our guys really like this guy.”

The Edmonton Oilers owe the Calgary Flames a third-round pick in either 2020 or 2021 as part of last summer’s trade that sent Milan Lucic to Calgary for James Neal.

Oilers GM Ken Holland has indicated he’ll defer to 2021, so Treliving’s moves give Calgary third-round presence Wednesday.

“What it does, it allows you to make picks or be creative with those,” the Flames GM said. “We’ve got a little bit more ammunition now than we did going into the night.”

Zary has played in Calgary’s Scotiabank Saddleome against the Hitmen, but has never been to an NHL game there.

“I’ve been there a few times. Never actually been to an NHL game live, which is embarrassing,” Zary said.

“I’ve always chosen going to hockey practice or my own games over getting the opportunity to go to NHL games.

“The Saddledome is a special building and to have already been playing in it, had a few special moments there already, it’s pretty exciting for sure.”

Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said on Thursday that the province has seen its first case of the B.1.617 variant. (Photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Red Deer nears record number of active COVID-19 cases

Alberta reports 1,857 new cases of COVID-19, 1,326 new variants

Shaela Dansereau/ Pipestone Flyer
City of Wetaskiwin releases 50-year Community Vision results

The comprehensive community vision has been divided into five core pillars.

People line up outside an immunization clinic to get their Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in Edmonton, Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta passes bill to give all workers paid leave to get COVID-19 vaccine shot

Labour Minister Jason Copping says Bill 71 will reduce barriers for Alberta workers to get vaccinated

Alberta completed 18,412 COVID-19 tests, as reported on Wednesday, for a test positivity rate of 9.5 per cent. (NIAID-RML via AP)
Highest daily count of 2021 so far: Alberta reports 1,699 COVID-19 cases

Variants now make up 59 per cent of Alberta’s active cases

Screen grab/ https://www.alberta.ca/stats/covid-19-alberta-statistics.htm#geospatial
COVID-19 cases continue to grow in the Wetaskiwin area

The City of Wetaskiwin currently has 141 active cases.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

A health care worker prepares to test a Coastal GasLink field worker for COVID-19. (Coastal GasLink photo)
Alberta bill would protect health workers, care homes from some COVID-19 lawsuits

The bill proposes exempting a range of workers, including doctors, pharmacists and care-home operators, from being sued over COVID-19 unless it was for gross negligence

Journal de Montreal is seen in Montreal, on Thursday, April 22, 2021. The daily newspaper uses a file picture of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dressed in traditional Indian clothing during his trip to India to illustrate a story on the Indian variant of the coronavirus. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press
Montreal newspaper blasted for front-page photo of Trudeau in India

Trudeau is wearing traditional Indian clothes and holding his hands together in prayer beside a caption that reads, ‘The Indian variant has arrived’

Education Minister Adriana LaGrange was in Red Deer on Friday to provide an update on the province's COVID-19 response in schools.
Photo by PAUL COWLEY/Advocate staff
Alberta government aiming to boost financial literacy among students

Government providing grants to organizations who will help design financial literacy programming

President Joe Biden holds a virtual bilateral meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
U.S. to help Canada with more COVID-19 vaccine supply, Biden says

The U.S. has already provided Canada with about 1.5 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine

In this image from video, former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin, center, is taken into custody as his attorney, Eric Nelson, left, looks on, after the verdicts were read at Chauvin’s trial for the 2020 death of George Floyd, Tuesday, April 20, 2021, at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis, Minn. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Court TV via AP, Pool
George Floyd’s death was ‘wake-up call’ about systemic racism: Trudeau

Derek Chauvin was found guilty Tuesday on all three charges against him

sign
Alberta Biobord Corp. recently hosted a virtual open house from Stettler

The company plans to develop a fuel pellet and medium density fibre board (MDF) plant near the community

Most Read