Flyers general manager Ron Hextall held a pre-draft media availability on Tuesday at the club's practice facility in Voorhees, N.J. As a result, Flyers columnist Jay Greenberg looks at what he perceives the Flyers must do this weekend as the Wells Fargo Center takes center stage for the hockey world and ultimately hockey's future stars.
|Scott Laughton has already played 5 games for the Flyers and returned to his junior team where he recorded career-highs in every offensive category. |
At No. 17 of the first round, go for the best player available. Since 1998, these are all their picks made at No. 15 or below in the first round: Simon Gagne, Justin Williams, Mike Richards, Claude Giroux, Luca Sbisa, Steve Downie and Scott Laughton (who should be playing for them by 2015-16 the latest).
Because Sbisa, who went in the Chris Pronger deal, has been often hurt, he remains a third-pair defenseman for Anaheim, while Downie, who came back to the Flyers last year for what looks to be a one-and-done, has managed 20-plus goals just once -- 22 for Tampa Bay in 2009-10. But in Gagne and Giroux, the Flyers twice got their best player of a generation with a late first-round pick. What other franchise can say the same?
“You’ve got to approach it that you take the best player, “ said Ron Hextall Tuesday.
Why wouldn’t he? The same scouts who drafted Gagne, Williams and Richards still work for the organization.