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5 things to know as the Flyers head into the Draft

by Staff Writer / Philadelphia Flyers
The NHL Entry Draft is an annual rite of speculation, debate and optimism for hockey fans. On draft day, it seems, every high-round selection is a potential NHL star, every mid-round pick has a chance to become a starter and every low-end pick is a possible sleeper. It’s not until several years have gone by that teams can gauge the real measure of a draft crop’s impact on the club and the league.


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1. EIGHTEEN


The Flyers hold the 18th overall pick in the First Round of the Draft… for now (see 2011, 2002, and just last year as instances where the Flyers have moved up). Regardless, the Flyers team of scouts and management feel really good about this year’s crop of players and who they will be able to select when they are on the clock.

“At #18 we’re going to get a good player, certainly better than a lot of years at #18. We’ve just got to make the right pick,” said GM Ron Hextall.

But just because the team has drafted a defenseman in the first round in each of the last three years, don’t automatically assume it will be any other position.

Added Hextall: “First round we’re going to take the best player. What it’s going to be, I don’t know… We are going to have some emphasis in this draft on skill and size. Hopefully combined, but that’s a tough thing to grab. That’s going to be a little bit of our focus but the first round we are definitely taking the best player.”

2. STATISTICALLY SPEAKING


The Flyers’ first pick this season will be the 459th draft pick in team history - Of the 458 players the Flyers have selected in their history, 182 (39.7%) have appeared in at least one NHL game, including 63 of 85 first and second round picks (74.1 %)… As alluded to above, the Flyers have chosen a defensemen with their first round selection in each of the last three seasons (Sam Morin, Travis Sanheim & Ivan Provorov) - they have never selected a defenseman in the first round in four consecutive drafts… The Flyers hold 10 picks this year, and if they use all 10 picks it will be just the second time since the event was reduced to seven rounds in 2005 they have selected 10 players in one draft year (2006 was the other).

3. ACTUALLY, IT COULD BE 11


Pay close attention because the Flyers 10 selections at this year’s Draft could wind up being 11.

The June 27, 2015 trade with Arizona (see details in #4) included a conditional draft pick in 2016 or 2017. In the event that the Coyotes acquire a 4th-round pick in the 2016 Draft, they have the option to transfer the pick to the Flyers (and will advise the team of such election by no later than the start of the 4th round). Otherwise Philadelphia will receive Arizona’s 3rd-round pick in 2017.

Well, Arizona has acquired a fourth round pick, doing so on Monday when they made a trade with the San Jose Sharks. For now it’s wait and see if that pick gets transferred to the Flyers.

4. ON THE TRADE FRONT…


It seems every year there’s something that materializes. The Draft is somewhat known as a second “trade deadline” of sorts with teams looking to pick up draft picks and players, as well as getting ahead of the July 1 Free Agency open market.

Certainly last year was no different as the club made three deals in a two-day span, moving up from 29 to 24 and selected Travis Konecny, trading fourth round picks with Los Angeles and picking up an additional sixth rounder, while also trading Nicklas Grossmann and the contract of Chris Pronger to the Coyotes in exchange for Sam Gagner and the previously mention conditional pick above.

“It’s similar [to the trade deadline] in terms of the chatter picks up,” added Hextall in his 1 on 1 interview with Steve Coates. “You’re talking a lot and trying to figure out what other teams want and whether there’s a fit with what you need, so it’s a busy time in terms of the chatter, but it’s different because you’re talking young players, old players, draft picks.”

5. IF NOT TONIGHT, DEFINITELY TOMORROW


The Draft merely begins with tonight’s anticipated first round, but there is plenty to like about the second and third rounds - especially considering the club will be making four picks within a 34-selection span over the two rounds.

Don’t overlook Rounds 4-7 either. Anyone who does that could let a Jamie Benn or Brendan Gallagher (both 5th rounders), or even a Henrik Lundqvist or Joe Pavelski (both 7th rounders) slip through their fingers.

“There’s still hidden gems,” said Hextall. “I think it’s fair to say guys aren’t hidden like they used to be, whether they’re in some obscure country or they play in the Quebec league up someplace where not many people are, scouts don’t get there. There aren’t a lot of secrets, there’s a lot of talk now, a lot of forums for players, scouting services and everything. There’s not a lot hidden, but they are there.”
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