It was more of the same for the Flyers on the 2018 draft floor as they made savvy, good-value picks that are calculated gambles in the worst case. Not a lot of flash, although this year’s crop of picks makes up for it in substance. While the team wasn’t busier and normal, for a draft day, they had some accommodations to make with their draft boards as they were without a third-round selection as that pick went to Detroit to complete the Petr Mrazek trade. On the plus side, the team had a second first-round pick due to last year’s Brayden Schenn trade and a second fifth-round pick after the lower-profile Nick Cousins trade with Arizona took place. The team started with nine picks and made selections with eight of them after having dealt one away. With those eight selections made sound investments with each relative to the rounds that the players were selected. Will have to wait and see like most prospects this side of Connor McDavid, that being said the team bolstered its depth and breadth of prospects at all positions with this draft day haul. Needless to say, Hextall and company did well with their selections.
Round 1 – 14th Overall: Joel Farabee, LW
It started at the tail end of the lottery for the Flyers where they selected Joel Farabee 14th overall. They get a good hard-nosed winger that can get his hands dirty in the corners. Bonus that he has good hands that allow him to create for others. Not unlike a lot of players on draft day, size is a concern. Addressing this caveat will only help him in future scrums along the boards. That being said, the Flyers liked what they saw leading up to the draft and have continued to be enamored with what he has to offer. See development camp notes below for more information. He has two-way forward potential in the style of a Mikael Backlund with regards to how he approaches the game. He will look to ply his trade and fine tune his craft in the coming season with Boston University.
Round 1 – 19th Overall: Jay O’Brien, C
Jay O’Brien being selected 19th overall by the Flyers was largely unexpected especially with more familiar prospects available. With how the Flyers have been procuring talent as they have I wouldn’t bet against this move. It doesn’t hurt his case to be coached by Flyer alumnus Tony Amonte who vouched for this skating and compete-level. Even if it was US high school prep hockey, his 80 points in 30 games is nothing if not intriguing. He most likely won’t be Steven Stamkos or Tyler Seguin, however, there are some similarities with respect to O’Brien’s style of play.
Round 2 – 50th Overall: Adam Ginning, D
In round two, the Flyers elected to go for steak more than sizzle selecting Adam Ginning 50th overall. To the untrained eye, this is quickly being dismissed about another project in the mold of a Robert Hagg. While they are both defensive specialists, Ginning posts deceptively good skills with the puck on his stick. He has good vision and can thread the needle when outlet passing relatively easily. It helps to know that he can complement a more offensive catalyst such as a Provorov or Gostisbehere down the road if his development progresses the right way. Ginning’s skating is his biggest concern if he wants to be a fixture on an NHL blue line in the future. If he does become an NHL mainstay, it will be due to him successfully tapping into his defensive potential.
Round 4 – 112th Overall: John “Jack” St. Ivany, D
After sitting out of round three the Flyers continued to stockpile defensemen with John St. Ivany in round four and Wyatte Wylie in round five, 112th and 127th overall respectively. John “Jack” St. Ivany was not nearly the leap off the draft board that Wylie was, having been ranked 119th overall by NHL Central Scouting. He is much better built than much of the other Flyers draft picks this year already tipping the scales at 198 pounds. He is active with his stick running disturbance on the opposition in his own zone as well as in neutral zone play. In doing so he makes it difficult for odd man rushes to materialize when he is safeguarding the Idaho Stampede goal. St. Ivany would do well to play in a way that better plays to his physical strengths to make it more difficult for opposing forwards to get coveted real estate in the slot. That being said, once he chorales the puck he can get plays going the other way in a hurry with his passing and vision. He plays for Yale University in the coming season. The Flyers are set with left-handed defensemen with the likes of Provorov, Gostisbehere and Sanheim leading the way. Wylie and St. Ivany are good fliers to take to find serviceable right-handed partners for them down the road.
Round 5 – 127th Overall: Wyatte Wylie, D
Wylie was something of a riser on the draft boards. After a tepid rookie campaign for the Everett Silvertips, he went into the previous season further down the depth chart at the WHL level and was unlikely to be drafted. He improved on his defense last season, his dominant posture, while also chipping with 31 points. His improved play made him a likely sixth-round pick, yet the Flyers liked what they saw enough to pull the trigger on him two rounds earlier. If he doesn’t pan out, his attitude will have little to do with it as he is described as a pro’s pro with his demeanor despite being rather young.
Round 5 – 143rd Overall: Samuel Ersson, G
With their second selection of the fifth round, the Flyers turned their attention to other needs by going with Samuel Ersson, the seventh best goalie among European Scouting according to Central Scouting. Even with the likes of Hart and Sandstrom ahead of him on the depth chart, it is good to have a goalie that boasts upside like Ersson does. He put up impressive numbers in the Swedish Allsvenskan league however he is still a way’s away from making an impact in the SHL. As such, he likely won’t be making serious noise in a Flyers training camp at sometime. That being said, a butterfly goalie with his zen-like composure when patrolling the crease is tough to teach so this is a good wait and see an opportunity to bolster the team goaltending at a rather modest risk.
Round 6 – 174th Overall: Gavin Hain, C
Gavin Hain from the U.S. NTDP of the USHL was the teams next selection in the sixth round, 174th overall. Hain has had some adjustments to make with his transition to the new level of competition. His skating will need to improve to better keep up with hands. The talent is there, and he can only get better overall if he works with players better than him and that is what the USHL, especially the U.S. NTDP offered on an interim basis. He is expected to continue to hone his skills playing for the University of North Dakota this coming campaign.
Round 7 – 205th Overall: Markus Westfalt, C
One of the more perplexing things about the draft weekend proceedings for the Flyers was how they managed to land Marcus Westfalt, 205th overall whom was ranked 37th among European Skaters by Central Scouting. What is more is that it is quite uncommon for a full-time SHL player to be available that late. For that reason alone an argument can be easily made for using the seventh-round pick in that fashion. It is a bonus that Westfalt is a burly six-foot-three, 203 pounds. He projects to be a good energy player that can fit in, in all situations. At what level he plateaus his development at, remains to be seen. He will resume playing for Brynas IF this coming year.
Development Camp Notes
Morgan Frost is back as though he is out on the ice with something to prove. The guy was easily 15 pounds more muscular than he was at last year’s camp, clearly indicative he is serious about getting better by addressing one of his bigger concerns. His shot was impressive before, now he’s driving nails between his release and precision.
Farabee wasted little time when making his first favorable impression as part of the Flyers organization. If anything he may have exceeded the expectations that the draft day hype provided with how he flourished after a sluggish start out of the development camp gate. He even managed to make Carter Hart look silly towards the end of camp which is no easy task.
Speaking of which, Hart, along with his fellow goaltender Felix Sandstrom had a good rhythm going involving one-upping each other. Neither really separated themselves from the other as far as how the development camp went. Be that as it may, Hart is likely the one that will be given a longer look come training given his track record in the CHL. Kudos to him for the improved lateral movement exhibited when protecting the nest.
Anthony Stolarz was given a ‘show me’ deal, and he took it. It is a one-year, two-way pact with the team. He will be facing an uphill battle as he will be shaking off rust coming back from a torn meniscus while battling Alex Lyon and the aforementioned Hart and Sandstrom for playing time.
After filing for arbitration for next month, the hearing ends up being unnecessary as Taylor Leier ended up signing a one-year deal with the team. At 24, he has to start showing the team something if he is to have a future with them beyond the coming season. He can make for an energy player, if he can cultivate some more staying power on the main roster.
Tyrell Goulbourne also landed a one-year deal with the Flyers, he is a borderline fourth-line presence as it stands and doesn’t have much fantasy upside beyond hits and penalty minutes. It goes without saying needs to be able to get called up and stay active for those contributions to be viable.
That’s all for today, be sure to tune in for tomorrow’s take on the Pittsburgh Penguins 2018 NHL Entry Draft Weekend
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