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 has 3,651 active cases of COVID-19. (File photo)
432 new COVID cases sets another record Friday

Central zone holds steady at 126 active cases

"We are looking seriously at the spread and determining what our next steps should be," says Alberta’s chief medical officer of health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, as the daily number of COVID-19 cases continues to climb.
427 new COVID cases is highest in Alberta ever

Central zone has 126 active cases of COVID-19

RCMP. (Black Press File Photo)
Calgary man dies in two-vehicle collision near Sylvan Lake

A semi truck collided with a SUV just east of Hwy. 781 on Hwy 11.

Shaelynn Decock and her dog Taco, who has been missing since Aug. 26. Photo Submitted
Sylvan Lake woman looking for closure for her stolen dog

Shaelynn Decock says it has been two months since she last saw her dog Taco

Alberta chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw updates media on the Covid-19 situation in Edmonton on Friday March 20, 2020. nbsp;Alberta is reporting it's highest daily number of COVID-19 cases, with 364 new infections. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta confirmed 323 COVID-19 cases Tuesday

Central zone active cases at 145

B.C. Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson, B.C. NDP leader John Horgan and B.C. Greens leader Sonia Furstenau. (Black Press Media)
VIDEO: One day until B.C. voters go to the polls in snap election defined by pandemic

NDP Leader John Horgan’s decision to call an election comes more than a year ahead of schedule and during a pandemic

This photo provided by Air Force Reserve shows a sky view of Hurricane Epsilon taken by Air Force Reserve hurricane hunter team over the Atlantic Ocean taken Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020.   Epsilon’s maximum sustained winds have dropped slightly as it prepares to sideswipe Bermuda on a path over the Atlantic Ocean.  The National Hurricane Center says it should come close enough Thursday, Oct. 22, evening to merit a tropical storm warning for the island.  (Air Force Reserve via AP)
Hurricane Epsilon expected to remain offshore but will push waves at Atlantic Canada

Epsilon is not expected to have any real impact on land

A voter places her absentee ballot in the ballot box, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2020, at Merrill Auditorium in Portland, Maine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Robert F. Bukaty
American voters living in Canada increasingly being counted in presidential race

The largest number of Canadian-based American voters cast their ballots in New York and California

A composite image of three photographs shows BC NDP Leader John Horgan, left, in Coquitlam, B.C., on Sept. 25, 2020; BC Green Party Leader Sonia Furstenau, centre, in Victoria on Sept. 24, 2020; and BC Liberal Party Leader Andrew Wilkinson Pitt Meadows, B.C., on Sept. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck, Chad Hipolito
British Columbia votes in snap election called during COVID-19 pandemic

NDP Leader John Horgan called the snap election one year before the fixed voting date

Nunavut's provincial flag flies on a flag pole in Ottawa, on Tuesday June 30, 2020. The annual report from Nunavut's representative for children and youth says "complacency and a lack of accountability" in the territory's public service means basic information about young people needing services isn’t tracked. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Nunavut’s young people ‘should be expecting more’ from government services: advocate

‘The majority of information we requested is not tracked or was not provided by departments’

Ryen Williams, 11, with a lost miniature horse at JJ Collett Oct. 23. Photo by Don Williams
UPDATE: Owners found

Father and son found him while out for a walk at JJ Collett

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

U.S. border officers at the Peace Arch crossing arrested two men on California warrants this week. (File photo)
Ottawa predicts system delays, backlogs unless court extends life of refugee pact

Canada and the United States recognize each other as safe places to seek protection

Conservative member of Parliament Michelle Rempel Garner, left to right, Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole and Conservative Deputy Leader Candice Bergen arrive to hold a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, Oct. 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
No-confidence showdown over sweeping Tory motion on government handling of pandemic

The Conservative motion is to be put to a vote Monday and has the support of both the Bloc Québécois and NDP

Most Read