Flyers get defensive with second-day draft picks

Adam Ginning

DALLAS – Apparently you can never have too many defensemen.

Although the Flyers are already well-stocked with backliners, they went out and added to that talented pool by grabbing three defensemen out of their first four picks in the second day of the NHL Entry Draft on Saturday at American Airlines Center.

The parade began with the acquisition of physical backliner Adam Ginning with the 50th overall pick in the second round.

Later, they added Jack St. Ivany in the fourth round and Wyatte Wylie in the fifth round.

One other noteworthy development: This marked the first time in their 50-plus-year history they did not draft a Canadian-born player.

General manager Ron Hextall explained he was satisfied with how the day went. Fortifying his defense is important, partly because one of his top prospects, Sam Morin (a physical player), is probably lost for the rest of next season due to injury.

“It (defense) fell on our list,’’ Hextall explained. “Ginning, we like his size. We like his upside. He moves pretty well for a big guy. Solid puck skills and the range you need to be a solid defenseman.’’

Ginning, who played in the Swedish League last season, is 6-2, 196 pounds.

He is NHL Central Scouting’s third-ranked defenseman among international players, trailing only No. 1 overall pick Rasmus Dahlin and No. 8 Adam Boqvist and fifth international skater overall.

“I play physical, I play tough,’’ Ginning said. “My best play is in the defensive zone.’’

One draft expert compared Ginning to current Flyer defenseman and fellow countryman Robert Hagg, who was among the NHL leaders in hits and blocked shots this past season.

Ginning was also paired with Boqvist at times on Swedish national teams.

“I think it was a good experience,’’ he said. “He’s more of an offensive guy and I’m more defensive. So we worked good together.’’

He’s always had his eye on making it all the way to the top of the sport.

“It (playing in the NHL) has always been a dream that’s been a little bit closer each year,’’ Ginning said. “Now it’s going in the right direction, I think.’’

Asked who he might model his game after, Ginning mentioned Adam Larsson of the Edmonton Oilers.

“I’m just trying to focus one season at a time and we’ll see what happens,’’ he said.

Philadelphia had no selections in the third round and then finally landed a right-shot defenseman in the fourth round when they took St. Ivany, a California native who played for Sioux Falls of the USHL last year, with the 112th pick.

St. Ivany played for the L.A. Junior Kings and is said to be headed to Yale University in the fall. He turns 19 next month. He was not in attendance at the draft.

“He’s kind of a steady-Eddie type,’’ Hextall said. “Solid with the puck. Good fit for our group.’’

Shortly after, the Flyers went to another right-shot defenseman, Wylie, with the 127th selection. He was a teammate of Flyers goalie prospect Carter Hart, who is expected to be in the NHL in a year or two.

Hextall wasn’t “going after’’ a goalie but found one he liked in Samuel Ersson of Sweden, who came to the Flyers in the fifth round.

“We didn’t chase him,’’ Hextall said. “We like his athleticism. We think there’s some upside that hasn’t been tapped yet. But if we needed a goalie, we would have taken him earlier.’’

Overall, Hextall said there were a couple things he would have liked to have gotten done but “that’s the way the draft goes, you can’t get them all. I like the mix we got. . .three D, four forwards, a goalie. I like the mix and the fits.’’

 

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Short shots: Hextall said he wasn’t really close to making any trades, other than shipping one of his seventh-round picks to Montreal’s seventh next year. . .Sixth-rounder Gavin Hain, headed for North Dakota in the fall, was asked if he had spoken to ex-UND coach Dave Hakstol yet. “At North Dakota, I spoke to him a long time ago,’’ Hain disclosed.

 

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Flyers’ draft thumbnails

 

(Name, Age, Position, Height, Weight, Team, League, Scouting Report)

 

>Round 1 (14th overall): Joel Farabee, 18, LW, 6-foot-1, 161 pounds, USA-U-18, USHL. His game is marked by speed, his shot and strong two-way play.

 

>Round 1 (19th overall): Jay O’Brien, 18, C, 6-0, 174, Thayer Academy, USHS-Prep. Registered 80 points in 30 games. His quickness gets him through traffic, strong hockey IQ.

 

>Round 2 (50th overall): Adam Ginning, 18, D, 6-2, 196, Swedish League. Physical player compared to countryman and current Flyer rear guard Robert Hagg.

 

>Round 3: No selections.

 

>Round 4 (112th overall): Jack St. Ivany, 18, D, 6-1, 190, Sioux Falls, USHL. A right-shot defenseman, something Hextall said he was looking for at pre-draft press conference.

 

Round 5 (127th overall): Wyatte Wylie, D, 18, 6-0, 190, Everett Silvertips, WHL. Played with Flyers’ goalie prospect Carter Hart on the Silvertips. Another right-shot, who played on the left side last season but went back to right side eventually.

 

>Round 5 (143rd overall): Samuel Ersson, G, 18, 6-2, 176, Brynas, Swedish Elite League. Posted a .920 save percentage in 40 games.

 

>Round 6 (174th overall): Gavin Hain, C, 18, 5-11, 174, U.S. U-18 Team, USDP. Overcame a lot of adversity this past season. Looks forward to playing for the University of North Dakota (where Flyers coach Dave Hakstol used to work) in the fall.

 

>Round 7 (190th overall): Traded to Montreal for the Canadiens’ seventh-round pick in 2019.

 

>Round 7 (205th overall): Marcus Westfalt, C/LW, 18, 6-3, 191, Brynas, SHL. Uses his size to create space for scoring.

Wayne Fish
About Wayne Fish 331 Articles
Wayne Fish has been covering the Flyers since 1976, a stint which includes 18 Stanley Cup Finals, four Winter Olympics and numerous other international events.

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