The more I dig, the more trends I un-earth. Calgary falls in to a new group of teams, not those who draft by position or best available, but the team that does what they can with what they've got to choose from. Calgary, always just good enough to make the playoffs and flare out, never bad enough to get a decent pick. Look at their first round selection placement between 2004 and 2009: 24, 26, 26, 24, 25, 23. The only real prospect they've gotten out of those picks is Tim Erixon in 2009; 2008s choice of Michael Backlund does have 9 points in 33 games this season but that ain't great. They had no first rounder in 2010, but it doesn't seem like it would have mattered. Lots of other teams are in this same boat and have done much better.
2009 was actually not a bad turnout, taking Erixon in the first, then Ryan Howse in the third round and Joni Ortio in the sixth, the Finnish goalie who impressed at this year's WJC.
Going back Calgary has made some good selections in the early half of this decade. Chuck Kobasew 14th in 2001, and David Moss in the 7th round that year. Matt Lombardi in '02 was a steal in the third round, and Dustin Boyd and Brandon Prust were stellar third round picks the next year. But in an entire decade the Flames didn't ever draft a star. Dion Phaneuf seemed destined for stardom but he's not even a shadow of hte player he was in his first couple years.
Going back to the stretch of 20-something picks between 2004 and 2009 the Flames had their choice of Dylan Olson, Carter Ashton, Simon Despres, Jordan Caron, Kyle Palmieri in 2009; Tyler Ennis, John Carlson, Viktor Tikhonov in order in 2008, David Perron or PK Subban in 2007, Nick Foligno or Mikael Neuvirth in 2006, Matt Niskanen, Steve Downie, James Neal, Marc Eduard Vlasic to name a few in 2005, or Cory Schneider, Mike Green, or Dave Bolland in 2004.
When you consider the missed opportunities, and the fact that only 3 roster players were drafted by the Flames, and the total lack of one player that is even remotely close to an All Star today you have to give the Flames an F. There's little to no saving grace for the Mosses and Lombardi's this team did draft when you consider the shape they're in today.