The Flyers have their highest pick in this year’s draft since 2007 when they chose second overall. It’s only the fourth time in club history that the team has drafted 7th overall and two of the previous three have recorded over 800 points in their NHL careers and one inducted into the Hall of Fame (Ken Linseman, 1978 & Bill Barber, 1972)
Overall, the Flyers have only had 12 draft picks in their 48 years of drafting history that have been 7th or higher, and 10 of those 12 selections came prior to 1993.
A lot of the focus will be on who the Flyers will pick, what they bring to the table and of course what position he will fill. GM Ron Hextall and Director of Scouting Chris Pryor have noted that the forwards in this year’s draft are highly talented and could fill a need in the club’s prospect pool, but don’t count out the d-men in this year’s draft as well. The Flyers have selected defensemen with over 50 percent of their picks in the last three years with 11 of 19 picks.
Of course if you want to play GM, you can always cast your vote in our interactive Mock Draft HERE
All the talk will be who the Flyers will select 7th overall, but the Flyers aren’t done for the night from there.
The Flyers own the Tampa Bay Lightning’s first round selection which they received in early March at the trade deadline when they dealt defenseman Braydon Coburn, as well as acquiring d-man Radko Gudas. The position of the pick is set at #29th overall, which Flyers management and scouts see has big potential for filling a need on the depth chart.
HEXTALL: “We’ve got some guys at 29 we’re excited about. We don’t know how they’re going to fall. But it is [a deep draft]. I believe in five or seven years we’ll look back at this draft and go ‘wow.’”
This is the first time since 2003 (#11: Jeff Carter, #24: Mike Richards) and just the fifth time overall that the Flyers own two first round picks (2003, 1992, 1978, 1971).
In what’s considered the deepest draft in over 10 years, now is a good time to have a stockpile of choices. Through a series of trades the Flyers own 10 selections in this year’s draft, that’s the most they’ve had since the 2006 season.
Perhaps even more important is that the Flyers have seven picks in the first 99 selections of the draft.
This comes after two consecutive years in which they’ve had just six in the entire draft, and marks just the third time in Flyers history (2003 & 1990) since the NHL expanded to more than 20 teams in 1979, that the Flyers have seven picks in the first 100 slots.
What can you do with 10 picks?
HEXTALL: “This is a very critical draft for us. I think one of the more critical drafts in years. We’ve got to hit. We have to hit here. We do have a lot of picks, and we have some holes to fill. We need to keep young players coming. So this is a critical point for us, that’s for sure.”
The fact that this year’s draft is being compared to the famous 2003 NHL Draft should be reason enough for Flyers fans to be excited.
Consider the following players: Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Marc-Andre Fleury, Jeff Carter, Brent Seabrooke, Eric Staal, Ryan Suter, Thomas Vanek and Dion Phaneuf became stars after being selected in the first round. This doesn’t even include later round picks such as Patrice Bergeron, Shea Weber, Corey Crawford, David Backes and Joe Pavelski.
The draft isn’t all about Rounds 1 and 2, which is why finding impact players in late rounds and focusing on their development will be crucial to the Flyers success in the future.
HEXTALL: “It’s a bumper draft. Typically, there’s one out of five drafts where you say whoa, this is a good draft. Truly four out of five are typical drafts, but this is a really, really strong draft. I think there’s going to be a lot of players coming out of this draft, not only from the first and second round, even deeper than that.”
Also, be prepared for the speed on Rounds 3 & 4 for the Flyers. Teams have a couple minutes in between picks on Day Two (and more often than not never really spend the full amount of time to make their selection) so with the Flyers owning the 90th, 98th and 99th picks this year, pay close attention on Saturday morning and early afternoon.
Although teams take the first steps in acquiring in building their future, some make attempts to make sure the future happens now.
Beyond the trade deadline during an NHL season, this week is the hottest during any time of the year when the market heats. Trades can happen before, during and even after the draft has taken place with a number of teams involved.
For the Flyers, Chris Pronger was acquired during the first round of the 2009 Draft in a trade with Anaheim. Jakub Voracek, Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn were acquired in the days prior to the draft. Going back even further, Eric Lindros was also a draft day deal.
Last year it was Ryan Kesler (to Anaheim from Vancouver) and James Neal (to Nashville from Pittsburgh) that were dealt on a quiet trade front on draft day, while 2013 Draft day saw goaltender Cory Schneider move to New Jersey from Vancouver.
No one knows who and even if any big name players will change jerseys, but it’s another reason not to miss the days leading up to and including the first round on Friday.