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2017 DRAFT REPORT: 5 storylines that dominated the Flyers Draft

Second Overall, Big Trades highlight Draft Weekend

by PhiladelphiaFlyers.com @NHLFlyers / http://www.philadelphiaflyers.com

1. IT'S NOLAN

After two months worth of hype the moment finally arrived and Nolan Patrick, NHL Central Scouting's No. 1 rated prospect, is officially a Philadelphia Flyer.

"I'm happy -- I'm really happy I went here," said Patrick moments after being selected by GM Ron Hextall. "I've been there a few times, and it's obviously a great sports place. I like the way the team plays, and hopefully I can fit into that."

The Flyers had Patrick come to the team's practice facility for a visit and any questions as to his injuries from last year were made clear. The result was that the club couldn't be happier to have him a part of the future.

"There's some stuff out there that they [team doctors] wanted to prove wrong, we did," said Hextall. "I believe that Nolan is a very great young man. You can ask Ivan [Provorov] about him. Really good young man, works hard, and wants to be a National Hockey League player and we couldn't be more excited to have him on board.

As for this upcoming season, Patrick made his intentions clear when asked if he could crack the Flyers roster come Fall.

"Yeah, I think after a good summer of training, that's my goal. I just try to look at everything in my control that I can do, and I'm going to do everything I can to make it… I'm just going to try to play my game and contribute as much as I can. Obviously I think the Flyers have a really good team."

2. THE TRADE WINDS

If having the No. 2 overall pick dominated the Flyers storyline for the two months leading up to the draft, the same could be said about the multiple trades that took place during the actual two days of draft weekend.

First came a big one. The team added a second First Round pick late in the evening, taking smart & speedy forward Morgan Frost, as well as another First Round pick in either 2018 or in 2019.

The price was forward Brayden Schenn, who departs the Flyers after six seasons, including back-to-back 25 goal campaigns in his last two seasons.  

"You know what, it was one of those ones that just came out of nowhere, it wasn't like we were up there shopping Brayden," added Hextall. "Whenever you trade a player it's always hard. Brayden played well for us, he played hard for us and my job is to do what I feel is best for the franchise and that's what it was."

Trading up became the theme of Day 2 as well. In a bold move to get their guy, the Flyers improved to the 35th overall pick, but gave up three of their own to do so (#44, #75 & #108).

Six-Foot-Six forward Isaac Ratcliffe was the man the Flyers were targeting and the one they got.

"When you really like a guy, you go after him and that's what happened. He fit the part of our organizational needs. Left Wing, real good size, plays hard. He can score goals. We really like his upside, his attitude and the way he plays the game."

3. ABOUT THAT SIZE

Selecting Ratcliffe is perhaps the best example of the other storyline - size. Four of the Flyers first five draft picks are 6-foot-2 or above. Even including the 5-foot-10 Morgan Frost, the first five picks have an average height of over 6-2 at 74.4 inches.

The other thing they have in common - four of the five are forwards, with the lone standout being 6-foot-3 Russian netminder Kirill Ustimenko.

4. POSITIONAL PLAY

Prior to the draft Hextall said the team's ideal draft would yield seven forwards, three defensemen and one goaltender. Check mark on the forwards. Check mark on the goaltender.

With two less selections as a result of trades, the Flyers took only one defensemen, further emphasizing the notion that the team's cupboard of young talent on defense is both fully stocked with raw talent still developing as well as a good amount that are ready and will contend for an open spot at September's Training Camp.

The d-man selected was the team's final pick in the seventh round at 196th - Wyatt Kalynuk, who will attend the University of Wisconsin and have four-years to develop in an elite college hockey program. 

The pick is the latest the Flyers have selected a defenseman since the 2000 NHL Entry Draft 17 years ago when the club chose Regan Kelly at 259th overall.

5. THE EXPERTS AGREE

With the good fortunes of having a first round pick in the Top 2, its easy to say that a team had a good draft, but in reality that's not necessarily the case. Every Draft there tends to be that "sleeper" pick and whether a team can hit on late rounds. The Flyers goal isn't just one however and many across the hockey world took notice. 

Ryan Kennedy of the Hockey News gave only three teams an 'A' Grade, the Flyers being one of them: 

"GM Ron Hextall has been a draft master during his tenure in Philly, stacking picks and making nice selections."

Puck Daddy, Greg Wyshynski, at Yahoo also proclaimed the Flyers part of the "Winner" category:

"Getting two first rounders in that Schenn swap is a ridiculously good return… The aggressive trade to select Isaac Ratcliffe at No. 35, the Matthew Strome pick at No. 106 … just a really great two days from Ron Hextall and company." 

Bleacher Report also gave the Flyers an 'A' grade, as did TheScore.com, who further weighed in: 

"Given that many mock drafts, and even NHL Central Scouting, had Nolan Patrick as the No. 1 player in the draft, the Philadelphia Flyers are certainly pleased with how things worked out Friday… In all, the Flyers got some great offensive options, and grabbed a solid goaltender in Kirill Ustimenko."

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