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Meltzer: 5 Steps for a Successful Draft

A deeper look at the Flyers checklist as they head into Draft week

by Bill Meltzer @billmeltzer /

It takes three to five years after an NHL Draft for an organization to gain a reasonably reliable sense of how many picks in a given year have (or are likely to) become NHL regulars, which ones might provide system depth as fill-in callups and which ones either were not offered entry-level contracts or are otherwise not part of the plan moving forward. The 2018 Draft is the fifth since Ron Hextall became the Flyers' general manager.

Here are 5 keys to a successful 2018 Draft for the Flyers:

NOTE: The first three steps will be in place by the time the organization holds its final pre-Draft meetings in Dallas leading up to the first round of the Draft. The other two will primarily take shape over the two-day Draft itself, but the groundwork may be laid beforehand.

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Flyers Kick Off Summer-Long Community Caravan Tour

Family-friendly pop-up festival and clinic to launch this week, Make multiple stop across Delaware Valley

by @NHLFlyers /
The Philadelphia Flyers are stepping off of the ice and hitting the road this summer! The club announced today the schedule of stops and locations for its summer-long Community Caravan Tour, a family-friendly pop-up fan event featuring games and prizes, clinics, autograph signings, and more.
With eleven stops across the Greater Philadelphia Region, including a three-day Jersey Shore tour, this year's schedule is designed to bring summer fun and Flyers action to home towns and vacation spots alike.
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Dahlin, Svechnikov, Tkachuk, Zadina top mock drafts

Frolunda defenseman unanimous No. 1, forwards expected to go next but order uncertain

by @NHLFlyers /

Rasmus Dahlin remains the unanimous pick to be the No. 1 selection of the 2018 NHL Draft in the latest mock drafts. writers Adam Kimelman, Mike G. Morreale and Guillaume Lepage agree that the Buffalo Sabres will select the defenseman from Frolunda of the Swedish Hockey League with the first pick of the draft, which is June 22-23 at American Airlines Center in Dallas.

The writers also agree that the next three players selected will be forwards Andrei Svechnikov of Barrie (Ontario Hockey League), Brady Tkachuk of Boston University (Hockey East) and Filip Zadina of Halifax (Quebec Major Junior Hockey League). The order, though, was in dispute.

That wasn't the only place they disagreed; the three writers totaled 37 players for 31 draft slots.

The first 15 picks were set by the NHL Draft Lottery, which was won by the Sabres. Picks 16-27 were determined after the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, with the eliminated teams slotted in inverse order of regular-season points. The 28th and 29th picks went to the teams that lost in the conference finals, in inverse order of regular-season points. The 30th pick will go to the losing team in the Stanley Cup Final, with No. 31 going to the winning team. For this exercise, the Washington Capitals were given No. 30 based on having fewer regular-season points than the Vegas Golden Knights.

The Golden Knights pick belongs to the Detroit Red Wings, who acquired it in a trade for forward Tomas Tatar on Feb. 26.

The Red Wings are one of six teams with multiple first-round picks. The New York Rangers have three picks; in addition to No. 9, they have No. 26, acquired from the Boston Bruins in a trade for forward Rick Nash on Feb. 25, and No. 28, which they got in a trade with the Tampa Bay Lightning for defenseman Ryan McDonagh and forward J.T. Miller on Feb. 26.

The Philadelphia Flyers have No. 14, and No. 19, acquired from the St. Louis Blues; the New York Islanders have No. 11, and No. 12, acquired from the Calgary Flames; the Ottawa Senators have No. 4 and No. 22, which they got from the Pittsburgh Penguins; and the Chicago Blackhawks have No. 8 and No. 27, which they acquired from the Nashville Predators.


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What Went Down... Bob Clarke reflects on his Draft Day moves

From Gagne to Ricci, Pitkanen and even Jagr, former Flyer GM analyzes moves that did and did not happen during his tenure

by Bill Meltzer @billmeltzer /

Over the course of his 49 years in the National Hockey League as a Hall of Fame player, general manager, team executive and member of the Hockey Hall of Fame selection committee, the legendary Bob Clarke has seen and done it all. Recently, the Flyers senior vice president reflected on the aspects of the NHL Draft.

"Scouts are like players. Sometimes you need to make changes. How can you tell if someone is a good scout? You look at the players they've recommended and if they've come up with players who've become good contributors in the NHL. That's where the trust is built up," said Clarke. "You want scouts who have the courage to step up and push for kids they believe in. But they also have to be team players. Your scouts have to work together for what's best for the organization. That's the whole key right there. You don't want a guy who has a personal agenda and pushes to get his way just because he wants to be a general manager someday."
Clarke points out that the scouting realm has grown exponentially over the years. There is now a global pool of players to assess, from all across Europe as well as North America. With 31 teams in the NHL, it vital to leave no stone unturned when trying to build organizational depth.
"We've had a lot of really good scouts over the years, right up to this day with the staff we have with Hexy as the GM and Sarge [Chris Pryor] as assistant GM. If you look at our drafts the last four years, five years, with the guys who are now in the NHL, there's been good work done on the amateur scouting side," Clarke said.
In any career as long as Clarke's, there are bound to be some hits and misses - and some tantalizing or agonizing what-if scenarios - that arise at the Draft.
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2018 Draft: Top 5 Takeaways from Hextall's Pre-Draft Press Conference

by Bill Meltzer @billmeltzer /

Flyers general manager Ron Hextall met with the media at the Skate Zone in Voorhees on Thursday to discuss the organization's outlook on the upcoming 2018 NHL Draft. The Flyers contingent will travel to Dallas on Sunday and, over the next three days, conduct a series of meetings to finalize a strategy and set internal rankings ahead of the Draft's first round on Fri. June 22.

As expected, Hextall kept his pre-Draft intentions close to the vest. However, he did provide, in broad terms, some insights about how he views this year's Draft class and his overall philosophy on drafting and development.

Following are 5 top takeaways from Hextall's press conference, and some news and notes on other topics the GM touched upon.

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Flyers Release 2018-19 Preseason Schedule

Flyers will play an eight-game preseason slate against three opponents

by @NHLFlyers /

The Philadelphia Flyers today released their 2018-19 preseason schedule, according to general managerRon Hextall.


The Flyers will play an eight-game preseason slate again this year, doing so entirely against the New York Islanders, the New York Rangers and the Boston Bruins. The preseason will begin with four games in four days, the first three of which will be against the Islanders in three different venues - Sept. 16 at Nassau Coliseum, Sept. 17 at the Wells Fargo Center and Sept. 18 at Barclays Center.


After concluding that opening run with a visit to the New York Rangers on Sept. 19, the Flyers will host the Islanders on Sept. 21 at PPL Center in Allentown, the home of the Flyers' AHL affiliate, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. It marks the fourth consecutive preseason that the Flyers are making a visit to the Lehigh Valley.


After the busy start, the Flyers will play three more contests, two of which are at home. They'll welcome in the Bruins on Sept. 24 and then the Rangers on Sept. 27 before concluding the preseason on Sept. 29 in Boston.

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What Went Down: A look back at the trade that shook the 2011 Draft

Bill Meltzer gets a first-hand account of the trades that changed the Flyers history

by Bill Meltzer @billmeltzer /

"The LA and Columbus deals were closed within minutes of each other," recalls Flyers President Paul Holmgren, who was the general manger behind both deals. "We closed out the Richards trade with the Kings and, before we could even register the paperwork on the deal with the League, Howson was ready to finalize a deal for Carter."


The components of the LA and Columbus trades would shape the Flyers' roster for years to come. Less well-known, however, is the scouting back story of two deals. But let's start from the very beginning on how and why the deal was made...


Regardless of how many picks a team has in the NHL Draft or where those picks are located within each round, an organization's scouts prepare the same way each season. The process takes nearly a calendar year - starting from summertime tournaments involving Draft-eligible players such as the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament through the postseason NHL Scouting Combine and final internal pre-Draft meeting to determine the organization's rankings of the Draft-eligible players and finally ending after the final pick is made on the second day of the Draft.


Generally, by the time the final scouting meeting takes place, an organization has homed in on a few players it figures will eligible in the range of their first-round pick(s). 


However, just as within a hockey game itself, sometimes there are strategic changes on the fly in the final hours before Draft time or even on the Draft-floor itself. Often, the shifting of gears is precipitated by the organization making a trade that involves draft selections changing hands.


"It's kind of funny. When you acquire picks, especially first-round picks that are pretty early in the Draft, the scouts get really jazzed up because then they can really do their thing," said Holmgren.

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DRAFT 411: The Top Goaltenders

Get to know who's who of NHL Central Scouting's top rated draft eligible prospects

by @NHLFlyers /

Parts 1 & 2 of our series looked at the skaters available across both continents. Today, we round out NHL Central Scouting's list of the top two goaltenders that could be available to the Flyers in the first round and beyond.

PART 1: North American Skaters (click here)
PART 2: European Skaters (click here)
PART 3: NA & EU Goaltenders




VITALS: 6'1" | 159 lbs
BORN: July 6, 2000 | Chicoutimi, QUE 

* Rodrigue tied for second in the QMJHL with 31 wins last season... He also posted a 2.54 goals-against average, .903 save percentage and three shutouts. In doing so, he helped Drummondville to a 44-20-4 record and 92 points to post the franchise's most wins in a single season in seven years.

* In the playoffs, he helped Dummondville to a five-game series win over Cape Breton in the first round before falling to Victoriaville in Round 2... He finished the playoffs with a 5-4 record to go along with a 2.50 GAA and .891 SV%. 

* Internationally, Rodrigue was part of Canada's Gold-medal winning team at the 2018 Ivan Hlinka Memorial, where he posted a 1.00 GAA and .942 SV%... He also made three appearances for Canada at the 2018 Under-18 World Championship where he was named among the top three players on his team after he recorded a 1.33 GAA and .949 SV%. 

 The Hockey Writers

"Although he doesn't boast immense size, Rodrigue's fiery demeanour and determination to succeed more than compensate for this perceived deficiency. A true battler in the crease and desperate to win each and every time he graces the ice, Rodrigue denies opposing shooters through strong positional play and the ability to react quickly to well-placed shots and dangerous scoring chances."



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DRAFT 411: The Top European Skaters

Get to know who's who of NHL Central Scouting's top rated draft eligible prospects

by @NHLFlyers /

Part 1 of our series looked at the prospects in North American leagues. Today, we take a look at who NHL Central Scouting ranks as the top eligible European skaters:

PART 1: North American Skaters (click here)
PART 2: European Skaters
PART 3: NA & EU Goaltenders (June 10)


VITALS: 6'2" | 181 lbs
BORN: April 13, 2000 | Trollhattan, SWE

* Highly favored to be the No. 1 overall pick by scouts throughout the hockey world and a franchise defenseman… He is looking to become the second swedish-born player selected 1st overall in the NHL draft (Mats Sundin: 1989 Quebec). 

* As a 17-year-old, Dahlin recorded 20 points (7g-13a) in 41 games in Sweden's top pro league (SHL) and earned Swedish junior hockey player of the year honors… He won a silver medal with Team Sweden at the 2018 World Junior Championship, where he was named "Best Defenseman" and a tournament All-Star. 

Scouting Report - NHL Central Scouting

"Dahlin has the skating, skills and elite hockey sense that can dictate the style of play and the pace of a game with or without the puck. He finds ways to contribute in all situations, is ultra-competitive and a high-character person who leads by example."



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DRAFT 411: The Top North American skaters

Get to know who's who of NHL Central Scouting's top rated draft eligible prospects

by @NHLFlyers /

Two weeks out from the NHL Draft and the Flyers hold a unique, and fortunate position, by owning two first round picks that are both in the Top 20. Throughout the next three days, will get you accustomed to a group of players ranked by the NHL's Central Scouting Bureau that could don the Flyers Orange & Black by the end of the first round of the NHL Draft on June 22 in Dallas.


PART 1: North American Skaters
PART 2: European Skaters (June 9)
PART 3: NA & EU Goaltenders (June 10)




VITALS: 6'2" | 188 lbs
BORN: March 26, 2000 | Barnaul, RUS

* He ranked first among OHL rookies in goals (40) and overall points (72) in just 44 games last season with Barrie... He averaged 1.64 points per game, also placing first among rookies and fifth overall in the OHL... He posted 11 points (5g-6a) in eight postseason games with Barrie last season.

* Internationally, he recorded five assists in five games in his first World Junior Tournament in 2018 for Russia.

Scouting Report - NHL Central Scouting

"Svechnikov has a consistent and competitive power game that gets the puck through checks and to the net with speed and skill. He's able to create and finish scoring chances in a timely manner and quickly established himself in the OHL as an offensive impact player."

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