Easily one of the most interesting parts of the National Hockey League, the entry draft provides teams an opportunity to add the best young players in the world to their rosters, trade picks and players to improve their team, and agree to contracts with some of the most coveted players in the league.
Since I already covered some players to target come free agency, I am left to take a look at some upcoming draft eligible talent that I feel would greatly improve the Philadelphia Flyers organization. First, we must take a look at the strengths and weaknesses within the organization.
Top NHL Centre:
Sean Couturier (26 Y/O, 80GP-33G-76P, 53.3 CF% 98.8 PDO)
Weakest NHL Centre:
Jori Lehtera (31 Y/O, 27GP-1G-3P, 46.1 CF% 94.7 PDO) *Leaving*
Top Centre Prospects:
Morgan Frost (19 Y/O, 58GP-109P Ontario Hockey League, Playmaking centre)
Tanner Laczynski (21 Y/O, 27GP-30P NCAA, Two-Way centre)
German Rubtsov (20 Y/O, 14GP-10P American Hockey League, Physical & Well Rounded)
Marcus Westfalt (19 Y/O, 12GP-10P SuperElit Sweden, Two-Way)
The depth at centre starts off very strong but vanishes quickly. Scoring centres are a much-needed commodity.
Top NHL Winger:
Claude Giroux (31 Y/O, 82GP-22G-85P, 53 CF% 101.1 PDO)
Weakest NHL Winger
Justin Bailey (23 Y/O, 11GP-0G-1P, 44 CF% 102.9 PDO)
Top Winger Prospects
Isaac Ratcliffe (20 Y/O, 65GP-50G-82P OHL, Power forward)
Matthew Strome (20 Y/O, 68GP-28G-79P OHL, Fiesty two-way forward)
David Kase (22 Y/O, 40GP-8G-23P AHL, Speedy playmaker)
Nic Aube-Kubel (22 Y/O, 54GP-16G-30P AHL, Speedy goal scorer)
NHL depth is lacking, and very top-heavy. The same can be said for prospects. High-quality depth on the wings is a need.
Top NHL Defender:
Shayne Gostisbehere (26 Y/O, 78GP-8G-37P, 52.2 CF% 97.1 PDO)
Weakest NHL Defender:
Andrew MacDonald (32 Y/O, 47GP-0G-9P, 47.7 CF% 99.3 PDO)
Top Defensive Prospects:
Philippe Myers (22 Y/O, 54GP-9G-33P AHL, Physical two-way D)
Yegor Zamula (19 Y/O, 61GP-10G-56P Western Hockey League, All offense all the time)
Wyatt Kalynuk (22 Y/O, 37GP-9G-25P NCAA, Solid offensive presence)
Adam Ginning (19 Y/O, 48GP-1G-5P Swedish Hockey League, Physical Shutdown D)
Wyatt Wylie (19 Y/O, 67GP-11G-47P WHL, Solid two-way presence)
NHL depth is a major concern, but there are some solid prospects in the system. High quality, skill-first prospects are a need.
Top NHL Goaltender:
Carter Hart (20 Y/O, 31GP-16W-2.83 GAA-.917SV%)
Weakest NHL Goaltender:
Michal Neuvirth (31 Y/O, 7GP-1W-4.27 GAA-.859SV%) *Leaving*
Top Goaltending Prospects:
Samuel Ersson (19 Y/O, 36GP-1.95 GAA-.933SV% Allsvenskan)
Felix Sandstrom (22 Y/O, 19GP-2.16 GAA-.911SV% SHL)
Kirill Ustimenko (20 Y/O, 46GP-1.78 GAA-.927SV% MHL)
Ivan Fedotov (22 Y/O, 26GP-1.67 GAA-.929SV% VHL)
Depth is solid all around, with some really good goalies emerging as late round gems. For the first time in a long time, goaltending is not a major need.
Round 1-Pick #11
Personal Favourites at #11:
Arthur Kaliyev (LW), Victor Soderstrom (D), Cole Caufield (RW)
Arthur Kaliyev (17 Y/O, 6’2″ 190 lbs, 67GP-51G-102P OHL, AVG Rank #17)
A Zach Parise type player, Kaliyev is strong scorer who excels at creating (and acting on) high danger scoring chances.
Kaliyev possesses strong shooting ability, offensive instincts, and puck handling skills.
Kaliyev’s main weaknesses are his play in the defensive zone and keeping up with game pace. Both of which are going to improve with age, as Kaliyev is only 17 and dominating the OHL.
Round 2-Pick #41
Personal Favourites at #41:
Nathan Legare (RW), Graeme Clarke (RW), Jackson LaCombe (D)
Jackson LaCombe (18 Y/O, 6’1″172 lbs, 54GP-22G-89P USHS, AVG Rank 46)
LaCombe is an all offense all the time defender that is excellent at rushing the puck. The biggest concern is that LaCombe played in high school this past season, which, judging by his production, is far below his skill set and may cause problems when he struggles to adjust in the NCAA next season.
Strengths include speed, passing ability, and shooting
Jackson’s main weakness is his responsibility in the defensive zone. LaCombe seems to be a very high-risk, high reward pick, but one that would certainly be worth it.
Round 3-Pick #65 (From EDM for Cooper Marody)
Personal Favourites at #65:
Alexander Campbell (C), Samuel Fagemo (F), Daniil Gutik (LW)
Sam Fagemo (19 Y/O, 5’11” 194 lbs, 42GP-14G-25P SHL, AVG Rank 70)
Fagemo excels in all offensive situations, although he is very independent on the ice and tries to do a lot by himself. Fagemo is a very interesting pick because some (such as Jokke Nevalalainen of DobberProspects) believe that the Swedish winger should be closer to a second-round selection.
Fagemo’s strengths include shooting, puck handling, and speed
Fagemo has some injury history and expected defensive issues. Overall a very good bet anywhere in the draft, Fagemo has very high potential.
Round 3-Pick #72
Personal Favourites at #72:
Alexander Campbell (C), Daniil Gutik (LW), Layton Ahac (D)
Alexander Campbell (18 Y/O, 5’10” 148lbs, 53GP-21G-67P BCHL, AVG Rank 71)
A small forward that is able to use an impressive combination of elite stick handling skills and speed to execute plays quickly and effectively. These skills strike me as building-block strengths similar to that of league superstars Connor McDavid and Johnny Gaudreau.
Campbell’s major strengths include speed, puck handling, shooting ability, and passing skills.
To use these skills, something in Campbell’s game must suffer. That something is his defensive play, which is extremely lacking. However, if Campbell can fully realize his already strong potential, the Flyers could be looking at a steal here.
Round 4-Pick 103
Personal Favourites at #103:
Trevor Janicke (RW), Arseni Gritsyuk (LW), Josh Nodler (C)
Josh Nodler (17 Y/O, 6’0″ 196lbs, 54GP-17G-42P USHL, AVG Rank 108.5)
A playmaking centre with fair size, Nodler possesses fantastic offensive sense and skating ability. Nodler is also a very good possession player to my understanding and is very good at finding high-danger passing opportunities.
Strengths include puck-control, passing, and speed
I couldn’t find any specific drawbacks of Nodler’s game. Although I would be concerned about Josh’s adjustment to the NCAA.
Round 5-Pick 134
Personal Favourites at #134:
Dustin Wolf (G), Nathan Dunkley (C), Danil Antropov (RW)
Danil Antropov (18 Y/O, 6’2″ 190lbs, 66GP-15G-52P OHL, AVG Rank #156)
The son of former NHLer Nikolai Antropov, Danil possesses a wide variety of well-rounded skills that make him a very complete player. An above average passer (0.35 primary assists per/GP) and shooter (0.23 G/GP), Antropov’s offensive game is fairly strong and is completed by a James VanRiemsdyk-like net front presence.
Danil’s well-rounded offensive game makes taking a chance on the 18 year-old even more worth it.
The only real issue that I could draw from looking at Danil’s advanced stats was his lack of (expected) shots per game (1.58), and low TOI per game (12:29). Both aspects are confusing but seem to work for Antropov’s game, but leaves the question of possibly better production if he was deployed differently.
Round 6-Pick 165
Personal Favourites at #165:
Jackson van de Leest (D), Juuso Parssinen (C), Martin Lang (W)
Jackson van de Leest (17 Y/O, 6’6″ 223lbs, 67GP-21P WHL, AVG Rank 158)
A true shutdown defender, Jackson van de Leest posses a strong physical and defensive game for a 17 year-old WHL rookie. The left-handed defender logs big minutes for the Calgary Hitmen and provides a stable presence on their backend, which is littered with offensively minded players, like Flyers prospect Yegor Zamula.
van de Leest is strong at most defensive aspects of the game, and provides a mature presence for his age. Offense is coming along, although it’s not a main focus of his game.
Round 6-Pick 169 (From ARI for Jordan Weal)
Personal Favourites at #169:
Juuso Parssinen (C), Martin Lang (W), Johnathan Yantsis (F)
Martin Lang (17 Y/O, 5’11” 172lbs, 65GP-11G-22P WHL, AVG Rank #177.6)
Mainly a playmaking winger, Lang had an impressive rookie season in the WHL on the poor Kamloops Blazers.
While receiving third-line minutes, Lang averaged a poor 0.17 G/GP but a very good 0.18 A2/GP (secondary assists per game). Essentially, this means that Lang is a very good playmaker but his shot needs some work.
Round 7-Pick 196
Personal favourites at #196:
Ilya Konovalov (G), Kalle Loponen (D), Ludvig Hedstrom (D)
Personal selection at #196:
Ludvig Hedstrom (18 Y/O, 5’11” 174 lbs, 43GP-2G-12P SuperElit, AVG Rank #198.4)
An offensive defender with excellent passing ability, Hedstrom was a key part of Djurgardens’ success this season. The small defender excels at moving the puck and overall offensive zone play. Defensive holes are expected and very much apparent.
Hedstrom’s strengths include puck control, passing and skating. His weakest attributes are his defensive play and overconfidence.
Round 7-Pick 201
Personal favourites at #201:
Kalle Loponen (D), Ilya Konovalov (G), Maxence Guenette
Ilya Konovalov (20 Y/O, 6’0″ 194lbs, 45GP-1.89GAA-.930SV% KHL)
This is easily the least accurate pick I will make in this mock-draft. Konovalov, a goaltender whom I mentioned in my very first article on Puck77 (KHL free agent targets), is one of the best goaltenders in (arguably) the second-best league in the world. In my opinion, this would make Konovalov a bit of reach in the seventh round, but most scouting reports I saw didn’t even have the Russian being drafted. A low risk, high reward pick, Konovalov has already been excellent against NHL-comparable competition and, if his potential is realized, could be a steal as a seventh rounder.
There a wide variety of very talented players available in the deep 2019 NHL Entry Draft that fill the desperate needs of the Flyers.
Statistics, information, and analytics retrieved from nhl.com, hockey-reference.com, eliteprospects.com, draftsite.com, prospect-stats.com, whl.ca, capfriendly.com, sportsforecaster.com, dobberprospects.com, and puck77.com,
Featured Image Photo Credit: Nikos Michals