With the season over for the Flyers, all attention should go to the NHL draft. With little cap space and a plan that has the Flyers staying away from costly free agents for the time being, the biggest noise Ron Hextall will make this summer is yet again at the draft. With the Flyers picking either 17 or 18 (If Nashville wins their series, they pick 17), they have a chance to pick yet another solid prospect to continue the retooling process. Below is my first 2016 NHL mock draft which assumes Toronto gets the first overall pick, Edmonton the second, etc. In this draft, the Flyers are predicted to take…
Toronto – Auston Mathews (Center), Toronto is in the midst of a rebuild and the chance to get a potential franchise changing center in Mathews is a no brainer for the brain trust in Toronto.
Edmonton – Jacob Chychrun (Defense), New General Manager Peter Chiarelli finally gets it, the Oilers need defense, and Chychrun has the potential to be Edmonton’s defensive anchor for years to come.
Vancouver – Patrik Laine (Winger), Jared McCann, Jake Virtanen, and Bo Horvart are all good tough forwards, but the Canucks need skill upfront, and Laine will give them that quickly at the NHL level as the Canucks try to rebuild on the fly.
Columbus – Pierre-Luc Dubois (Center), After trading away Ryan Johansen for Seth Jones earlier this season, Columbus needs a new number one center, and Dubois can be just that for them soon.
Calgary – Jesse Puljujarvi (Winger), The line of Gaudreau, Monahan, and Puljujarvi for years to come will be too much for Brad Treliving to pass up on. Also young centre Sam Bennett will need some help on the wing in the future.
Winnipeg – Mathew Tkachuk (Winger), With Mark Scheifele showing number one centerman potential, he’ll need a young skilled winger to work with, and Tkachuk offers that potential, possibly as soon as next year.
Arizona – Mikhail Sergachev (Defense), With the youngsters Dylan Strome, Anthony Duclair, Max Domi, Christian Dvorak, and Brendan Perlini ready to upgrade the Coyotes offense, Arizona should look to get younger on the backend and takes the big Russian defenseman Sergachev.
Buffalo – Jake Bean (Defense), Buffalo needs defense and the chance to get a Justin Faulk comparable is too much to pass up on for GM Tim Murray.
Montreal – Alex Nylander (Winger), Montreal is desperate for top 6 scoring talent, and the chance to get that through the draft makes this pick all too easy for Marc Bergevin.
Colorado – Olli Juolevi (Defense), Colorado is need of another puck moving defensemen besides Tyson Barrie, so they elect to take Dale Hunter’s best defensemen in London.
New Jersey – Michael McLeod (Center), New Jersey needs forwards in the system, and the chance to get a centerman to play with Pavel Zacha will make this decision easy.
Ottawa – Dante Fabbro (Defense), The Sens can score like Dallas, but can’t keep the puck out of their net, AKA they are picking a defenseman this year.
Carolina – Tyson Jost (Center), The Hurricanes need to replace Eric Staal, and what better player to replace him than someone who plays almost just like him in Jost. Carolina has the defense in place for years to come,, they need offense.
Boston – Julien Gauthier (Winger), A big boy who can put the puck in the net, exactly the type of player Boston needs right now.
Minnesota – Riley Tufte (Winger), From Minnesota and brings a rare combination of size and skill. Minnesota looks to find a future winger to play with Joel Ek-Eriksson in a couple of years.
Detroit – Logan Brown (Center), With Pavel Datsyuk likely gone, Detroit gets a chance to replace him with a huge 6’5 center in Logan Brown later down the road.
Nashville – Max Jones (Winger), Nashville needs scorers and needs it fast before Shea Weber and Pekka Rinne are out of their prime. A previous top 10 prospect in this draft, Nashville looks to add this power forward so he can play in the NHL relatively soon.
Philadelphia – Clayton Keller (Center), With a loaded amount of defensive prospects in the system, the Flyers look to upgrade their forward prospect pool. Keller brings a combination of speed and skill, something the Flyers desperately need up front in the future.