For second first-round pick, Flyers go with a proven name

Oliver Bonk

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – When it came time to make their second selection in the first round of Wednesday night’s NHL Draft, they decided to go with the son of a former star player.

Oliver Bonk, the son of ex-Montreal, Ottawa and Nashville star center Radek Bonk, fit the bill.

The 18-year-old prodigy, who hails from Ottawa, has all the tools to follow in his father’s skateprints.

He posted 10 goals/40 points last year for London (OHL) and his defensive skills are rated highly by scouts.

“We got nervous on Bonk,” general manager Daniel Briere said after the first round ended at Bridgestone Arena. “We thought he would go a lot earlier than that. There weren’t many defensemen left that we were excited about in that range.

“We thought a right-shot defenseman like him we just couldn’t pass on.”

Radek Bonk was known for his elite skills and the Flyers are hoping some of that shows up in his son’s play.

Oliver looked a bit star-struck at the podium.

“It’s a dream come true,” he said. “I think my hockey IQ. Maybe it’s not a skill but that will help me at both ends of the ice.”

Like No. 7 pick Matvei Michkov, Bonk had some favorable interviews with the Flyers prior to the draft.

“I talked a lot to Danny Briere,” he said. “Had a couple talks with him at the (NHL) Combine (in Buffalo). They liked me.”

Of course, proud papa has made a big impression on his career up to this point.

“He’s been a big influencer on me,” Bonk said. “I’m here because of him. He coached me all the way growing up. He had a big effect on me.”

Although he isn’t familiar with Philadelphia, he’s heard enough about the Flyers to want to play there.

“I’ve never been there actually,” he said. “It will be really cool going there for the first time. I’ve followed the Flyers. They work extremely hard. They’ve got their workboots on. So definitely a good team.”

Bonk is listed at 6-2, 180 and admits there’s some room to grow.

“I have to get bigger, stronger,” he said. “I know a lot of guys say that,” he said. “I’m pretty tall but lanky still. Put some muscle on, work on my shot and skating.”

Because he grew up in Ottawa, his favorite defenseman during his formative years was superstar Erik Karlsson, who just won the NHL’s Norris Trophy for best defenseman.

The Flyers hope he might be able to bring some of that Karlsson magic to their team.

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About Wayne Fish 2473 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.