Flyers’ draft spot not high but their hopes are

Brent Flahr
      Carter Hart, Travis Konecny, Oskar Lindblom and Shayne Gostisbehere have something in common besides calling the Wells Fargo Center their hockey home.
      All four young Flyers stars were taken 24th or higher on NHL Entry Draft day.
      Which is worth noting when skeptics suggest the Flyers really shouldn’t get too excited about having the No. 23 pick in the first round of this year’s draft, which kicks off on Tuesday night.
      Through the years, the Flyers have always found “hidden gems,’’ be it Hart (48th), Lindblom (138th) or even stars from yesteryear, such as Mike Richards (24th, 2003), Patrick Sharp (95th, 2001), Justin Williams (28th, 2000) and, oh yeah, Ron Hextall (119th, 1982).
      The point is, Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher probably doesn’t have to trade up. He can find a diamond in the rough at 23, although he hasn’t ruled out the possibility of moving up if the right deal presents itself.
      Meanwhile, the task of assistant general manager and scouting department chief Brent Flahr is to thoroughly vet worthy candidates and come up with a budding talent such as Morgan Frost, who was taken 27th overall in 2017.
      Flahr says the Flyers probably will stick to that age-old philosophy of “best player regardless of position’’ in the first round, then address particular needs when rounds two through seven of the draft are held on Wednesday.
      That said, it’s no secret the Flyers are in the market for another scoring type, possibly along the lines of a Konecny, who has been in the league only four years but already led the team in goals this past season with 24.
      Flahr sounds like he wants to keep his options open in the first round but talent, regardless of position, probably remains prevalent in his mind.
      “If players are equal, we may look for different positions, different needs,’’ Flahr said in a media conference call on Tuesday. “At the same time, I think we have to go with best player going forward. We’ll look at a number of different scenarios and what falls to us. In reality, we’ll go with best player at 23.’’
      As for the later rounds, the Flyers appear to have good depth at each position, so there isn’t a great need to target a specific spot.
      Still, the Flyers can always use a raw talent with potential.
      “After (the first round), sometimes you go with maybe more positional needs if the players are equal,’’ Flahr said. “Obviously with our depth chart, you can take a look at it. In left defense, we have some players coming. In right-shot defense, we’re getting a little thinner. We can maybe address that if it makes sense.
      “Sometimes there’s just not players available when you are picking. Obviously up front, whether it’s scoring, would be something you want to address and it’s something you like to address every year. I don’t think it changes much. We’ll see how it plays out. We have guys targeted at each tier of the draft. We’ll try to do the best we can based on that.’’
      A number of publications and websites put out mock drafts. Some have suggested the Flyers could take forward Ridly Greig, the son of former Flyer player and current scout Mark Greig, if he’s available.
      Here are some players potentially slotted between Nos. 20 and 25:
      >No. 20: Dylan Holloway, C, Wisconsin (NCAA).
      >No. 21: Ridly Greig, C, Brandon (WHL).
      >No. 22: Connor Zary, C, Kamloops (WHL).
      >No. 23: Tyson Foerster, RW, Barrie (OHL).
      >No. 24: Jeremie Poirer, D, Saint John (QMJHL).
      >No. 25: Brendon Brisson, C, Chicago (USHL).
      As always, after the first 10 prospects go off the board, there can be a few surprises.
      “I think there’s some depth through the first round,’’ Flahr said. “Lots of different types of players. Again, it’s going to be real interesting after a certain point to see where these players go and see who’s left when we’re picking at 23.
      “We’ve done our research, seen what players have been doing, where they’re at physically. Without the (NHL) combine, there’s certainly information that you just aren’t able to get. All the teams are in the same position. That’s just the reality of it. We’ll have to deal with it.’’
      The Flyers do not have a pick in the third round and have an extra pick in the seventh round.
      >Elliott signed
      The Flyers announced on Saturday they have signed goaltender Brian Elliott to a one-year, $1.5-million contract extension.
      “Brian is a quality, veteran goaltender who is also an important part of our leadership group,” Fletcher said. “His preparation and work ethic are exemplary. With Brian and Carter (Hart), we believe we have a strong goaltending duo who have each had success and work very well with each other.”
      Elliott signed with the Flyers as a free agent in 2017.
      “I’m proud to remain with the Flyers,” Elliott said. “I believe in this group and I’m excited for the future and what we can do as a team.”
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About Wayne Fish 2446 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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