By: Mike Moss
The Philadelphia Flyers were quiet in this year’s NHL draft only making one trade to Montreal to swap 7th round picks. The Flyers selected two potential top 6 forwards in the first round, a big body defenseman, a goalie, and 4 more skill specific players. Ron Hextall has been unbelievable at assessing talent in past drafts, selecting Ivan Provorov, Travis Konecny, Nolan Patrick, Morgan Frost, and travis Sanheim all in the first round. He is the reason the Flyers have maybe the best prospect pool in the NHL.
Joel Farabee (LW)- 14th overall pick
The Philadelphia Flyers selected Joel Farabee with the 14th pick in the draft. The Boston University commit scored 31 goals in 58 games last season as captain for the USNTDP in the USHL. Farabee is a huge threat off the rush with his blazing acceleration, quick release, excellent passing and high hockey IQ to find open ice. At 6’0” 160 lbs the Flyers switched it up selecting a smaller shoot first winger instead of a power forward. Farabee can use the two years at BU to put on some weight. Even though he is on the lighter side he still has a presence in front of the net using his high motor and puck skills. Flyers GM, Ron Hextall was ecstatic about the pick stating, "He's a real attention-to-detail player. He competes hard. He's got speed. He's got skill. He can score. He's just a good player. He's also got size in his family, so I still think there's a chance he can grow but he's certainly going to put a lot of beef on.” Hextall took a great player who I believe will be a first liner and could put up 60 points a year.
Jay O’Brien (C)- 19th overall pick
O’Brien played for the famous high school hockey factory, Thayer Academy who has produced many NHL players in Jeremy Roenick, Brooks Orpik, Tony Amonte, Ryan Whitney, and Charlie Coyle. He produced 80 points in only 30 games which sounds unbelievable. But this pick felt like a reach at 19 because he was ranked lower at 34. The reason he was ranked so low was because he played high-school hockey instead of major junior’s, where the skill level and size is incomparable.
O’Brien is committed to playing at Providence college next year hopefully proving many wrong by competing at a higher level. After hearing Hextall’s quote on O’Brien I’m all in. "We really liked his energy. He's got a really good motor... People look at it [now] and go, 'Wow, geez, you took a guy from a lower level.' When you look back in 10 years - and I'm not saying this is true with Jay -- you go, 'You should've taken that shot at him despite the fact that the hockey world felt like he should go later.’" If that quote doesn’t move the needle for you I do not know what will. The Flyers took a risk on a young player who has one of the highest ceilings in the draft drawing comparisons to Tyler Sequin. With his unreal first steps he is always the first one on the puck. In 3-4 years this kid is going to be a top 6 forward. All we can do now is wait and watch O’Brien turn into a super star.
ADAM GINNING (D)- 50th overall pick
At 6’4” 205 lbs, Adam Ginning is a shutdown defender for Linköpings HC in the SHL. He throws his weight around on the ice, has a long reach, and is a penalty killing machine. However, he will need to work on moving the puck and becoming more comfortable on his skates. He is a stay at home defenseman who could pair up well with a offensive defenseman like Shayne Gostisbehere. I love that he is 6’4” however I’m not sold with him just yet, he has to improve his game in all areas especially with the flyers depth at defense.
JACK ST. IVANY (D)- 112th overall pick
Just like Ginning, St. Ivany is another big defenseman who is almost a replica of Ginning. He is another stay at home defenseman with a high hockey IQ. He is a better passer than Ginning but lacks speed. He played on the power-play for Sioux Falls in the USHL last year and was one of the top scoring defensemen. He will need to work hard to improve his skating at Yale.
WYATTE WYLIE (D)- 127th overall pick
Wylie is a relatively smaller defenseman compared to Ginning and St. Ivany, but an all-around better skater than the both of them. He is not a flashy player, he sticks to his game and his game is to be fundamentally sound. He is not going to put many pucks in the net, he is a plus/minus type of player. Wylie is a great value pick for the 5th round.
SAMUEL ERSSON (G)- 143rd overall pick
Hextall couldn't stop himself to pick another goalie in this year’s draft stating, "We weren't chasing a goalie. But we like his size, we like his athleticism. We think there's some upside there that hasn't been tapped yet. We got him a lot later. If we needed a goalie, we would've taken him earlier. If a guy [we like] falls to a certain point, then we're going to take him.” With the rise of Carter Hart and others it is going to be a long time before he can even sniff a spot on this roster but with all of the Flyer’s goaltending problems it can’t hurt to have another one lined up.
GAVIN HAIN (C/LW)- 174th overall, and MARCUS WESTFÄLT (C/LW)- 205th overall
These are two players that are gritty and hardnosed. They are always going to be seen along the boards, in corners, and in front of the net wreaking havoc. They are both 4th line energy guys who won’t see much ice time but could provide a spark to get their team going. They both will need to improve their first couple steps and vision to be successful.
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