Well, this was a successful night for the Philadelphia Flyers organization. The Flyers selected at seven the coveted defenseman they wanted in Ivan Provorov (detailed story coming tomorrow), and they traded to move from 29 to 24 in order to select Travis Konecky, RW from the Ottawa 67s.
Here are 10 thoughts from the first round of the NHL 2015 Entry Draft.
- Flyers Trade Up, But Not at 7. The Flyers did end up trading up, but not from the seven spot to the three spot. There were rumors swirling that the Flyers were one of four “solid offers” that Arizona had in hand to move up to the three spot. It didn’t materialize, but the Flyers got Ivan Provorov, just as they wanted to do, and he instantly becomes one of our top two prospects, along with Travis Sanheim. But the trade at 24 was the real steal of the night. Flyers traded the 29th and 61st pick (acquired in the Kimmo deal) to trade up and get 5’10” 175 pound RW Travis Konecky, who Craig Button had going to L.A. at 13. Said Button, “Konecky is a very determined competitor who refuses to be denied. He will battle for every bit of space. Has a good shot and will pay the price around net.”
- Hanifin Tumbles. Sure, he was projected to go between 3-5, but many thought that Arizona would take the top ranked D man. In the first surprise of the night, he tumbled to Carolina at five, which in hindsight might have set up the Flyers to select Provorov. Carolina was high on both Hanifin and Provorov, and they were leaning towards picking a defenseman. If Hanifin went to Arizona or Toronto, they very well might have snagged Provorov.
- Boston Bumbles Deal. The Bruins dealt Dougie Hamilton to Calgary before the draft, and ended up with three consecutive picks at 13-14-15. Rumor has it they were working on a deal to move up within the top 10, but that never materialized, leaving the flustered Bruins to select three consecutive players (D Jakub Zboril, LW Jake DeBrusk and RW Zachary Senyshyn, a player that was ranked 38th by Central Scouting).
- Werenski, Barzal, Crouse, Zacha and Rantanen. We were surprised where some players fell. The Flyers had considered taking Zacha, Barzal, Crouse and Rantanen at the seven spot, if Provorov was off the board. Thankfully, the talented Russian defenseman landed in our laps, as Zacha went to N.J. at six, Werenski to Columbus at eight, Rantanen to Colorado at 10 and Crouse to Florida at 11. Barzal tumbled to 16, which was surprising. Could it be that teams were scared off because of his injury (cracked kneecap) last season in junior?
- No Two for You. So we dealt our second rounder, secured in the Kimmo deal-looking better and better by the day-to move up to get Konecky. Players still left on the board that surprised us include Daniel Sprong, Paul Bittner and Brandon Carlo. They won’t be there when we pick o Saturday, June 27. The remaining Flyers picks are: at 70, 90, 98, 99, 128, 158 and 188. We will update the Flyers’ picks, trades and news from the 2-7 rounds tomorrow.
- Expect Goalie in Third Round. The Flyers are interested in selecting “one or two” goaltenders according to GM Ron Hextall. Keep these names in mind for the Flyers: Daniel “Darth” Vladar, Callum Booth and Mackenzie Blackwood. The Washington Capitals selected the top ranked goaltender, Ilya Samsonov, with the 22nd pick. Samsonov played in the KHL last year for Mettalurg Magnitogorsk, under former Flyers coach Mike Keenan.
- No Flyers Veterans Moved…Yet. I expect the Flyers to secure some additional draft picks tomorrow for rounds 2-7. Luke Schenn and Nick Grossman are two targets that may be moved, as both are on relatively cap friendly deals that run through next season only. Yes, we want to move Vinny, Umberger and MacDonald, but that probably won’t happen. There are some teams that are far from the cap floor, so we expect that Hextall will be working the phones hard to try and unload some salary.
- The Russians Are Coming! With the signing of Evgeni Medvedev this spring, and the selection of Ivan Provorov at the draft, there’s a good opportunity to have Provorov learn from Medvedev, at least in training camp. Medvedev is a solid puck mover with excellent offensive instincts. Check out this sick move when Medvedev played in the KHL.
- Buffalo Is Looking Good. The Sabres traded for Ryan O’Reilly and LW Jamie McGinn, selected Jack Eichel second overall. I’d say it was a good day for the Sabres, who will be set down the middle for some time. Plus, with Evander Kane fully healthy, the Sabres won’t be pushovers this season. Yes, they have questions in goal. No, Eichel has not technically decided if he will return to BU or join the Sabres, but it’s a technicality. First game vs. the Sabres is October 27. (Coincidentally, that is also the birthday of this blogger. I’d like a Flyers win, please.)
- Shooting Up the Board. The Dallas Stars took Russian sniper RW Denis Gurianov at 12. He was the seventh ranked European skater, but scouts say that Gurianov is an elite skater and just might be the top natural shooter in the draft. Sure, he will be in Russia for the next couple of seasons, but he will be a great top six forward when he makes the jump.
Rounds 2-7 start Saturday, June 27 at 10:00 a.m. You can watch the remainder of the Draft on the NHL Network.