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Staff Convenes in Montreal for Draft

by Kevin Kurz / Philadelphia Flyers

(Montreal, Quebec) - With the 2009 NHL Entry Draft just days away, the Philadelphia Flyers front office and scouting staff is in the process of assembling in Montreal for the annual event. While most of the hard work has been done and the staff has narrowed down who it hopes to take with the 21st pick in the first round on Friday, there is still reason for the brain trust to get together. caught up with Flyers director of hockey operations, Chris Pryor, from the team's hotel headquarters on Wednesday morning in Montreal.

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"There's a lot of possibilities that could come up in the next few days. We have to be prepared for all sorts of different scenarios," said Pryor. "We don't know what could happen. I think it's good to toss around [ideas] so we are prepared if something does come up in any situation. That's for the most part that we'll be doing in the next three days."

Should they keep their pick, Pryor said that the Flyers have a small group of two or three players they hope are still around at that time.

"We've done our due dilligence througout the year," he said. "We've pretty much dotted the 'i's' and crossed the 't's' right now. We hope that of that small group of two or three players that one of those guys is still around at 21. We like that spot. We feel comfortable there. We have an idea who we're looking at."

On paper, several NHL scouts and media types have said that this draft is deeper at defense in comparison to recent years. Still, Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren has said that the club's philosophy is to take the best player available regardless of position.

Although top defensemen are a little bit harder to come by, according to Pryor, that will not change their overall strategy.

"The particular position is secondary. If everything is equal, if there even is such a thing, [we] might lean a little bit more to a defenseman. Typically in the past, that's maybe the hardest position to find.

"Our strength today...who knows what tomorrow could bring? From the amateur side we just have to try to take the best player we can find and go from there."

With the year-long process winding down, Pryor calls the draft "our Stanley Cup, our Super Bowl." Although, the most rewarding part of the job may not come right away.

"It's rewarding when, [like] last year, we happened to see Luca Sbisa play as well as he did. We were surprised by that. It's rewarding to see Claude Giroux, and it's rewarding to see some of our later round guys get some games this year. The reward comes down the road. We feel very comfortable with the people we have working. They do a good job.

"We want to make a good solid selection and give the fans something to cheer about in the years to come."
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