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Flyers view 2015 NHL Draft as critical moment

NHL.com @NHL

Philadelphia Flyers general manager Ron Hextall said Friday he sees the 2015 NHL Draft as an important point in his tenure.

The Flyers have 10 picks at the draft, including No. 7 and No. 29 in the first round.

The 2015 draft will be held June 26-27 at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla. The first round is June 26 (7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, SN, TVA Sports); rounds 2-7 are June 27 (10 a.m. ET; NHLN, TVA Sports).

"This is a very critical draft for us," Hextall said Friday in a video on the Flyers website. "I think one of the more critical drafts in years. We've got to hit. We have to hit here. We do have a lot of picks and we have some holes to fill. We need to keep young players coming. So this is a critical point for us, that's for sure."

Hextall wouldn't commit to picking to fill any need, saying he will stick with his philosophy of taking the best player available.

"We're going to take the best player," he said. "You start looking at fits and stuff like that, you go by a player that's a better player. In the end, I don't believe in that. So we're going to take the best player."

The Flyers' top four prospects are defensemen, but there is a chance one of the top three defenders in NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters, Noah Hanifin of Boston College, Ivan Provorov of the Brandon Wheat Kings and Zachary Werenski of the University of Michigan, could be available.

If the Flyers elect for a forward, among the possibilities are Kingston Frontenacs left wing Lawson Crouse, Sarnia Sting center Pavel Zacha and right wing Mikko Rantanen of TPS in Finland.

Because of the depth in talent, Hextall said it was unlikely he would try to move up from No. 7. He also said it was very doubtful he'd look to move down.

"I think everybody knows the top two players in the draft are special," Hextall said. "I think after that there's arguments. … I think there's a lot of guys that are similar-level players. Different identity, maybe different positions, different type of player, but they're similar level of players. So to move from seven to move up, we would consider it at the right price. But I'm not sure it's worth it just because I think you're going to get a similar-level player that you would at those other picks."

In addition to expecting to get a top player at No. 7, Hextall said the depth of this year's draft has him hoping to find another important player at No. 29, the pick acquired from the Tampa Bay Lightning for defenseman Braydon Coburn.

"We've got some guys at 29 we're excited about," Hextall said. "We don't know how they're going to fall. … I believe in five or seven years we'll look back at this draft and go wow. It's a bumper draft. Scouts typically, every year is a bad draft, and there's one out of five where you say, 'Whoa, this is a good draft.' Truly four out of five are typical drafts, but this is a really, really strong draft. I think there's going to be a lot of players coming out of this draft, not only from the first and second round, even deeper than that."

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