2024 Calgary Flames Draft Prospect Preview: Berkly Catton

Berkly Catton
Berkly Catton / Dale Preston/GettyImages

The Calgary Flames have many needs heading into the 2024 NHL Draft, but with their biggest rivals excelling with two game breaking stars in Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, it's never been more clear that the Flames need elite forwards. They've already built a core of solid middle-six forwards of the future, but now they need to fill out their top line with players that can lead them to success, and there's several options in the 2024 NHL Draft.

One of those names that has picked up steam among Flames fans in Berkly Catton, whose offensive season in 2023-24 has put him on the map, so let's take a further look at the Spokane Chiefs and potential Flames center of the future.

Berkly Catton, Spokane Chiefs, C

5-foot-11, 170 pounds, 18-years of age.
2023-24 WHL stats: 68 games played, 54 goals, 62 assists, 116 points, +15 differential.

Berkly Catton is seen as one of the most talented players in this years draft, but unfortunately, his height will likely hold him back from being a top-five pick, as he is under 6 feet tall and weighs just 170 pounds. Like a former Calgary Flames star however, he has the talent to make up for it, but unlike that player, he has a fantastic shot as well, and if that translates to the next level, he could be the 1C of an NHL franchise for years to come.

"Catton (5-10, 175) has pull-away speed with a top-end offensive skill set and was fourth in the WHL with 116 points (54 goals, 62 assists) in 68 games this season. The Flames have done well to get younger and more athletic with forwards Connor Zary and Matt Coronato taking larger roles in Calgary, and Jakob Pelletier and Samuel Honzek, the No. 16 pick of the 2023 draft, not far behind them. Catton, 18, could be the best and most skilled of the bunch if he is the pick."

NHL.com Deputy Editor Adam Kimelman

After drafting Samuel Honzek a year ago, there's still a clear push from the front office to look at the mix of size and skill, and while Catton doesn't have that size, the skill makes him a perfect fit for the modern NHL. In recent interviews, Catton has revealed how he bases his game on New Jersey Devils star Jack Hughes, and while he's smaller, the game is very similar, with finishing abilities that will make Catton a sure fire NHLer.

One thing that Catton has going for him beyond that is the fact that he plays down the middle, and with Connor Zary and Nazem Kadri the only recognized centers on the roster (although Zary played on the wing for the majority of his rookie campaign), Catton is the perfect fit for the Calgary Flames. Years ago, looking at someone with size certainly was the way to go, but with young, fast stars taking over the league, if Catton falls to No. 9 and the Flames higher options (Iginla, Lindstrom, Dickinson and several other defenseman) are all gone, it would be a good pick, and the team shouldn't hesitate in drafting him.

Reasons to draft Berkly Catton

The main reason to draft Berkly Catton is simple; his production in the WHL, where he put up an incredible 171 points in two full years with the Spokane Chiefs. The shot is there, the athleticism and the skating, and if the Flames are interested in a skilled center that could anchor their top line for a decade or more, it's the obvious choice.

Reasons not to draft Berkly Catton

Unfortunately, size does matter in the NHL, as there is still only so much a smaller forward can do, and if the Flames pick at No. 9 with a bigger and potentially equally as talented player on the board, it's safe to say that even though the league is moving forward, Conroy and this front office may instead look to prioritize size over skill.

Should the Flames draft Berkly Catton?

Catton is an interesting option for the Flames, as he would fill a major need and could be the skilled forward they need to unlock players around him, but there will still be many players on the board around him. The team will have their own board of rankings heading into the draft, and it's unlikely that he'll be higher than 7-8 on that, but if all of their other options are gone, he would certainly be a fantastic piece and a worthwhile pick for Craig Conroy.