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Flyers likely to keep No. 2 pick in 2017 NHL Draft

GM Ron Hextall will listen to trade offers but anticipates choosing Nolan Patrick or Nico Hischier

by Adam Kimelman @NHLAdamK / Deputy Managing Editor

Philadelphia Flyers general manager Ron Hextall expects to keep the No. 2 pick in the 2017 NHL Draft but said Friday he's keeping all his options open regarding potential trade offers.

"We'll listen," Hextall said. "I'm not doing my job if I don't listen. You never know what's going to come along. … I don't anticipate trading the pick, but you never know what comes along. You've got to be open to making your franchise better. If something comes along that makes us better, we'll consider it. But I do anticipate making the pick."

The Flyers moved up from No. 13 to No. 2 at the NHL Draft Lottery on April 29. The 2017 draft is at United Center in Chicago on June 23-24.

Philadelphia is expected to choose either Brandon center Nolan Patrick or Halifax center Nico Hischier, the top two players in NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters.

Patrick (6-foot-2, 198 pounds) was limited to 33 games this season because of upper-body and lower-body injuries. He had 46 points (20 goals, 26 assists) and his 1.39 points per game ranked 10th in the Western Hockey League. He won the Canadian Hockey League top professional prospect award.

Patrick said Wednesday he passed his medical testing and was cleared for full participation in the fitness testing portion of the combine Friday and Saturday.

Hischier (6-1, 176), a native of Naters, Switzerland, led Quebec Major Junior Hockey League rookies in goals (38), assists (48) and points (86) in 57 games. He was named rookie of the year in the QMJHL and Canadian Hockey League.

Hextall said the Flyers interviewed Patrick and Hischier at the NHL Scouting Combine in Buffalo.

"I can say that both kids seem like terrific young men," Hextall said. "They conducted themselves like pros. Very mature kids. And they were both very impressive."

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