Flyers GM Ron Hextall held a conference call with the media on Friday to discuss a number of topics surrounding the NHL Combine held in Buffalo, NY, as well as possible signings in the near future.
Below are the five notable storylines to come out of the media availability:
1. SEVENTY PLUS
Hextall and his team of scouts and management wouldn't confirm the names of all the draft eligible prospects they interviewed, but mostly because that would have taken a good amount of time to do so. The club interviewed over 70 players in the three-day span.
The reasoning behind that is simple. The Flyers hold more than just the No. 2 overall pick. In fact, the club owns 11 draft picks in total, including seven picks through the first four rounds.
Said Hextall: "You have to hit on your first-round pick. You've also got to hit on some late picks and our guys up to this point have done a really good job and we've got to continue on. You can't take one player out of a draft and be a successful franchise."
2. YES, THEY DID INTERVIEW PATRICK & HISCHIER
As expected the Flyers did interview the top two players rated by NHL Central Scouting's Service: Nolan Patrick (1) and Nico Hischier (2).
"I can't say that anything surprised me [about both players]. I can say that both kids seem like terrific young men." said Hextall. "They conducted themselves like pros. Very mature kids. And they were both very impressive."
Although it's not a one hundred percent certainty, Hextall did say that the club expects to keep the No. 2 overall pick. That being said, they have received calls from other clubs.
"We'll listen. I'm not doing my job if I don't listen. You never know what's going to come along," added Hextall. "You have to be open to making your franchise better and if something comes along that makes us better, we'll consider it, but again, I do anticipate making the pick."
3. MAKE OR BREAK ANSWERS?
Despite the increasing popularity and schedule of events that make up the Combine, Hextall was clear to point out that these few days of Q & A and physical testing doesn't "make-or-break" a decision on whether the Flyers select a prospect or not. It's merely an opportunity to meet with them to get a better understanding that they wouldn't necessary get during the course of a busy season.
"This sort of cements what you're thinking and gives our amateur scouts, who already know the kids, a chance to ask similar questions they've already asked during the year to clean anything up in terms of injuries or any other issues they had going on. It gives the rest of us (Flyers management) a chance to listen and get a little bit of a feel for the young player, but by no means does it change your mind."
4. NO SILLY QUESTIONS HERE
Another big misconception about the interview process is that team's ask weird, sometimes mind-game type of questions to throw off a player.
While that does indeed happen from time to time, the Flyers chose to use most of their time getting to know the player away from the sport on a more personal level.
"That's what we're trying to learn about every kid. 'What's the person about. How's your family background? How structured is your life?' There's a lot of kids that really have it going on quite frankly. They're very mature, well-spoken and then there are kids who are maybe a little bit more immature, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. These are young guys and we need to reminder ourselves that some of them are 17 or 18 year olds."
5. THE UFA & RFA's
The question on signing unrestricted free agent, Jordan Weal, and restricted free agent, Shayne Gostisbehere, came up and while Hextall admitted to talking to both players, he also stated that the club is continuing to work on all the guys who are unsigned.
"Hopefully sooner rather than later," Hextall added. "But if things have to drag out a bit that's pretty much a normal part of the process in negotiations. We'd like to have Jordan back. He's an unrestricted free agent so we'll have to see where that goes and obviously Ghost, we'll have him under contract before training camp."
The Flyers own the 2nd overall pick in the Draft, as well as 10 other selections from rounds 2 through 7. For everything Flyers Draft related, check out DRAFT CENTRAL HERE