Despite trading first pick, Flyers happy with draft results

Brent Flahr

Giving up their first-round draft pick in Friday’s trade to secure Buffalo defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen was a pretty big sacrifice but the Flyers believe they compensated for it with some savvy picks in Saturday’s later rounds.

For the first time in decades, the Flyers went with European players on the top three picks they had available, including a goaltender.

Later, they took three defensemen.

Assistant general manager Brent Flahr, who oversees amateur scouting, sounded satisfied with what the Flyers were able to secure in rounds two through seven.

“It’s tough on the scouts when you give up a first (rounder),’’ Flahr said in a media Zoom call. “I don’t like to give up a first but hopefully we made up for that today.’’

In the second round (46th overall), the Flyers went with right wing Samu Tuomaala of Finland. The 5-foot-10, 176-pound Tuomaala registered 15 goals in 30 games in Finnish Junior League play. Scouts say he’s a quick skater with excellent shooting ability.

“We thought he would go in the first (round),’’ Flahr said. “He’s talented, has real dynamic speed. Loves to shoot the puck. He has real good offensive upside.’’

The Flyers’ third-round (78th overall) pick was goaltender Alexsei Kolosov from Minsk, Belarus.

The 6-foot-1, 185-pound netminder became the youngest goalie (at 18) to record a shutout for Minsk in the Kontinental Hockey League.

The scouting report: “Plays an athletic butterfly style with smart feet and quick reactions.’’

In three games at the 2020 World Juniors, he posted a .930 save percentage.

Flahr said: “Young goalies in the KHL are a rarity. He not only played but played well. Talented guy, very athletic. In the third round, we were hoping to get him and it worked out.

With their pick in the fourth round (110th overall), the Flyers selected Swiss defenseman Brian Zanetti.

Zanetti, listed at 6-foot-2, 181 pounds, was taken in the Ontario Hockey League’s Peterborough Petes and intends to play with them next season.

In a media Zoom call from Switzerland, Zanetti said he wasn’t all that surprised he was taken by the Flyers because they had been in contact over the past year.

“I knew I had their support,’’ Zanetti said.

That said, he was a bit taken aback that he went this early.

“I thought I could be a bit later,’’ he said. “But it’s a dream come true. I’m super happy to be part of the Flyers.’’

Zanetti describes himself as a two-way defender that likes to make plays with his skating ability. He knows how to use his long reach. He still needs some work on his shot. He’s more “dangerous’’ on the power play than five on five.’’

Round 5 saw the Flyers take defenseman Ty Murchison from Corona, California. He checks in at 6-foot-2, 172 pounds.

A British Columbia product, defenseman Ethan Samson, was the Flyers’ sixth-round pick. He goes 6-1, 180.

“Zanetti coming to Peterborough is great for his development,’’ Flahr said. “He can defend, move the puck, a real interesting kid. He’s a guy we’ll certainly develop. Murchison has very mobility, plays an aggressive style, probably has to pick his spots when to be aggressive. Samson moves the puck, our scouts like him.’’

In the seventh round, the Flyers took a Pennsylvania kid, center Owen McLaughlin from Spring City.

About Wayne Fish 1410 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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