The Flyers held a slew of picks heading into the 2017 NHL draft, then struck it rich moving all the way up from an almost certain number 13 pick to 2. In a draft where many experts have said depth isn’t great, it was a propitious turn of events for Ron Hextall and company.
The Flyers are at the whim of the Devils when it comes to who they will take, but the GM says the draft isn’t only bout nailing the first pick—it’s about nailing multiple ones.
Through trades, the Flyers have accrued 11 picks in the draft with three in the fourth round. I’m not Holden or Matt, but I’m going to take a shot at it anyway
Round 1, Pick 2
Nolan Patrick, C, Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL)
It’s a toss up who the Flyers will get to take after the Devils. Admittedly, I’m unsure who I’d rather see in orange and black. Patrick was widely regarded as the number one choice for months, but injuries have plagued him for the last year. Hischier has continued to climb up draft boards and has the type of skill set I, among a large amount of the fanbase, feel like the team lacks. Still, Patrick has drawn comparisons to Jonathan Toews and is no slouch on offense. I think Patrick fits the mold of a center Hextall wants and the former Philly netminder will be blowing kisses skyward if he’s heading to the podium to take the Winnipegger.
Round 2, Pick 44
Alexey Lipanov, C, HC MVD Balashikha (MHL)
There’s plenty of talent in the second round, but looking at the players, I saw a lot of “needs to grow” or “needs more time.” The Flyers are patient, as they’ve shown with Samuel Morin, but I think Hextall and company want a guy that is ready sooner, rather than later. That and the aforementioned desire of the GM to target centers, makes Lipanov a good pick. His size and exposure have been the biggest knocks on him, but he’s got skill and something the Flyers desperately need—speed. Watch him take the puck from an opponent and accelerate down the ice here:
Round 3, Pick 75
Dylan Samberg, D, Germantown High School (MN)
He won the Reed Larson Award this past season for the best senior boy’s high school hockey defenseman in the state of Minnesota. Described as being well rounded in all aspects of the game, he’s committed to the University of Minnesota at Duluth next year.
Round 3, Pick 80
D’Artagnan Joly, RW, Baie-Comeau Drakkar (QMJHL)
Another mid-third round pick, I have the Flyers going back on offense. This may be my own bias coming through as I’ve pleaded for a winger that can score—Joly fits the bill. He’s playing for a weak team in the QMJHL, but has still managed 16 goals and 32 assists for 48 points in 66 games. Bill Placzek describes him as a “creative offensive mind” and says he needs a quality counterman to compliment him—cough, cough, Patrick or Giroux, cough.
Round 4, Pick 106
Jack Rathbone, D, Dexter High School (MI)
Round 4, Pick 107
Ian Scott, G, Prince Albert Raiders (WHL)
Round 4, Pick 108
Austin Pratt, C, Red Deer Rebels (WHL)
Three picks in a row in the fourth round, I have the Flyers taking one guy from each major position. Rathbone is smaller, but has talent. He’s committed to Harvard, where he should grow. The Flyers are obviously looking for a goalie in their future, though they have some prospects they are very hopeful on. Scott is big and is said to have strong fundamentals. His numbers weren’t great in the WHL, but his size and abilities could make him worth it. And Pratt is a high-motor player that Placzek projects as a bottom-six checker.
Round 5, Pick 137
Adam Thilander, D, North Bay Battalion (OHL)
Lots of experience in international play. Good traits but the weakness is his speed. Thilander put up some points this past year, but his +/- wasn’t great. Still, he’s got upside.
Round 6, Pick 168
Austen Keating, LW, Ottawa 67s (OHL)
Keating says he models his game after Jonathan Toews. 30 goals and 30 assists in 36 games. I’m in.
Round 7, Pick 199
Mac Hollowell, D, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL)
From the video below–yeah, he’d fit right into Philly.
Round 7, Pick 200
Trey Fix-Wolansky, RW, Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)
Not gonna lie, I just like the name.