Drafting Skills: Philadelphia Flyers

Recent Draft History – Evaluating the first 3 rounds of the last 5 Drafts for each team. I’ve left out 2016, as it’s way too early to tell on 95% of the picks. Instead, this will be examining drafts from 2011 to 2015.

Philadelphia Flyers

2011 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Sean Couturier (C) 8th overall – Couturier is a big-body centre who has played over 400 games for the Flyers, and plays a physical and defensive game. He has never rounded out the offensive game he had in junior (back to back 96 point years). He’s played the second most games out of this draft, but ranks 9th in points. Overall, a pretty good pick at 8th overall for what they’ve gotten out of him.

Round 2 – Pick was traded for Dan Carcillo, along with Scottie Upshall. Carcillo didn’t do much for Philly, and has since retired. Upshall is still playing today. Nikita Kucherov was still available when the Coyotes made this selection as well.

Round 3 – Nick Cousins (C) 68th overall – Just finished his first full season in the NHL, Cousins is nothing more than a 4th line/depth centre. That’s not a knock against him, or the Flyers, as he was selected in the 3rd round. He passed the 100 game played mark this year, which ranks 51st amongst members of that draft year. Fairly solid for a 3rd round pick.

2012 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Scott Laughton (C) 20th overall – This wasn’t a great pick by the Flyers. Laughton has bounced back and forth from the AHL to NHL since being drafted; only playing 1 full season in the NHL. He’s sitting at 27 points in 109 NHL games played. There were plenty of much better players taken after Laughton, including their 3rd round selection. This was a miss by the Flyers.

Round 2 – Anthony Stolarz (G) 45th overall – Stolarz saw his first NHL action this season, when the Flyers were dealing with multiple injuries. He played very well, putting up a 0.928 SV% and a GAA of 2.07 behind a depleted Flyers defense. He’ll likely start the year with the big club next year, with Steve Mason likely on his way out. Will he ever grow into the starter? It’s too early to tell, as he’s had decent AHL numbers, but goalies are always tough to predict. We’ll likely get a better idea next year.

Round 3 – Shayne Gostisbehere (D) 78th overall – The Ghost emerged onto the scene in 2015-2016 with 46 points in 64 games. He’s had his fair share of setbacks this year, being a healthy scratch multiple times. He needs to work on his defensive game, but is most definitely an everyday NHL player. Even with his struggles this year, he managed 39 points in 76 games. What a lovely find in the 3rd round for the Flyers.

2013 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Samuel Morin (D) 11th overall – A towering defenceman, Morin plays a strong defensive game, and packs a lot of toughness into his 6’6” frame. He has played two full seasons at the AHL level now, amassing over 100 PIMS in each season. The Flyers are hoping Morin is ready to step into the NHL next season, which is well behind many others from his draft. Morin has only played 1 game at the NHL level, while 62 others from that year have played at least 10 games – and 20 have played more than 100. Surely the Flyers were hoping Morin would already be in the NHL making an impact. Surely if he can’t make the NHL next season out of camp, the Flyers would be extremely disappointed.

Round 2 – Robert Hagg (D) 41st overall – Another D-man the Flyers took in this draft that just finished a season at the AHL level, which is Hagg’s third. He improved his defensively play this season, and managed to add in 15 points in 58 games. He will never be a top-4 defender, but has shown growth in recent years. The Flyers will have openings on the blueline next season, with the hopes that MacDonald is gone, along with the departure of Nick Schultz. Can Hagg take a spot in the next year or two? Maybe.

Round 3 –Tyrell Goulbourne (LW) 72nd overall – Goulbourne played the majority of this season in the ECHL, after playing the previous season in the AHL. That’s not usually a good sign. He had 1 point in 24 AHL games this year, while only putting up 19 in 35 ECHL games. He’s likely to never make the jump to the NHL, especially with others the Flyers have in the system.

2014 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Travis Sanheim (D) 17th overall – Sanheim is the most likely candidate to take a spot on the blueline for the Flyers next year. He’s coming off his first pro season, in which he impressed with 37 points in 76 AHL games. That’s a great start for a young blueliner. He plays a physical game, one which Flyers fans adore. The Flyers are DEEP at the defensive prospect position, and Sanheim has put himself a the forefront of that.

Round 2 – Nicolas Aube-Kubel (RW) 48th overall – Kubel established himself as a goal-scorer in junior, with back to back 38 goal campaigns after being drafted. Unfortunately, that didn’t translate over to the AHL level, as he scored only 9 goals (18 points) in 71 games this year. He’ll have plenty of time to try and adjust his game, as the Flyers have a good offensive team right now, and are slotted to pick 3rd in this year’s draft.

Round 3 – Mark Friedman (D) – 86th overall – Friedman made his AHL debut this year, picking up 1 assist in 1 game. He finished his 3rd year in the WCHA (Western Collegiate Hockey Assoc. Div 1) with 26 points in 40 games. He’s a smaller, mobile d-man at 5’10”. He’ll likely get the start at the AHL level next year, where we’ll be able to see how he adjusts to playing pro hockey. It will be a step-up from his current competition, however he has excelled at all levels he’s played to this point. This was a smart pick by the Flyers, especially with the size they already possess on the blueline, to go after a smaller more mobile player.

2015 NHL Entry Draft

Round 1 – Ivan Provorov (D) 7th overall – Provorov starts out what was a stellar round 1 of this draft for the Flyers. He’s a mobile d-man, who plays a very solid two-way game. He had a great rookie season, his first full year in pro hockey, with 30 points playing a full 82 games. We’ll give the Flyers a pass that Zach Werenski was taken immediately after Provorov, as both d-man are projecting to be top pairing guys.

Round 1 – Travis Konecny (RW) 24th overall – This was a steal for the Flyers at 24th overall, as Konecny made the jump to the NHL this season, and showed big flashes of brilliance. He played in 72 games this season, his first as well, putting up 28 points. He’s a smaller guy in today’s NHL of growing speed, but didn’t seem out of place at any point in the year. He has fantastic playmaking ability, and just finished representing Canada at the World Championships. He’s a sure bet to be a top-6 forward for the Flyers for the foreseeable future.

Round 2 – Pick was traded the Islanders in a picks package that brought in Andrew MacDonald. This is an awful trade for the Flyers. MacDonald spent parts of last season in the AHL, and looked out of place multiple times this year on the ice. This pick turned into Brandon Carlo, now playing for the Bruins and much better than MacDonald. The other pick they gave up was used to select Ilya Sorokin, who had an amazing year in the KHL and is widely viewed as one of the best goalie prospects – an area where the Flyers need desperate help.

Round 3 – Felix Sandstrom (G) 70th overall & Matej Tomek (G) 90th overall – The Flyers have struggled in net for many years now. Drafting a couple goalie prospects in the 3rd round is a way to add to the pipeline with a couple young prospects. I’m looping these two together as it’s likely a year or two before we know how these two develop. Goalies are tough to judge, but the bonus for the Flyers is that it doesn’t hurt taking a chance on a couple of netminders late in the 3rd round.

 

Overall, the Flyers have improved their drafting in recent years, but struggled early on in this article. They’ve established a defense-first mentality in recent drafts, which is an area they’ve back lacking in recent years. They hold the 3rd overall pick in this upcoming draft, and if I’m the Flyers I’m trading that pick for an established player. They’re at the point where they’re ready to contend, and are likely only a piece or two away from that. They have enough defense prospects now, so if they hold on to that pick, they should focus on adding some forward prospects.

 

Sources: http://www.prosportstransactions.com/hockey/DraftTrades/Years/index.htm & http://www.hockeydb.com

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