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Draft Preview: Philadelphia Flyers – The mushy middlers

Hitting on volume of draft picks will help Flyers out of the neutral zone

New GM Chuck Fletcher has a great opportunity to remake this team in his own image, as the Flyers have 10 draft selections this summer and another eight in 2020. Fletcher brought assistant GM Brent Flahr with him from Minnesota, so he has an experienced draft guy by his side whom he trusts. The Flyers actually did well at the draft during Ron Hextall’s tenure as GM, so the bar is high.

IMMEDIATE NEEDS: Carter Hart has shown himself to be a very good NHL goaltender already, so the kid is ahead of schedule. Nonetheless, he’ll need someone to form a battery with, and as of now, the Flyers don’t have anyone else under contract. Cam Talbot’s audition wasn’t exactly a rousing one. Perhaps Brian Elliott returns at a reasonable price?

LONG-TERM NEEDS: Though the Flyers have a cadre of good young blueliners, the team was still one of the NHL’s worst defensive squads. Is it a matter of patience for a group that is still maturing, or is there something missing? That’s a challenge as Fletcher tweaks the roster of a club that is in that mushy middle between playoff team and basement rebuilder.

CAP SITUATION: The Flyers have $35 million to play with, albeit with some important contracts to put together. Defenseman Ivan Provorov is of the utmost importance, and he’ll have to decide whether to go bridge deal or mega-pact. Travis Sanheim is another young blueliner ending his rookie deal, but he’ll be more affordable. Up front, Travis Konecny is coming off his entry-level contract, and he’s due for a solid payday. Other prominent RFAs include Scott Laughton and Ryan Hartman.

IN THE SYSTEM 2019-20: The competition for spots up front will be stiff, as Philadelphia has prominent prospects ready to make their marks. Joel Farabee left Boston University after one year, while Morgan Frost and Isaac Ratcliffe are done with the OHL.

DID YOU KNOW: Linkoping has been a popular choice for Philadelphia lately. The Swedish team has had three players drafted by the Flyers in five years, including 2018 second-rounder Adam Ginning.

LATE-ROUND GEMS:
(2000-2018 drafts)
Patrick Sharp, 95th, ’01
Dennis Seidenberg, 172nd, ’01
Shayne Gostisbehere, 78th, ’12
Roman Cechmanek, 171st, ’00
Patrick Maroon, 161st, ’07
Colin Fraser, 69th, ’03
Zac Rinaldo, 178th, ’08
Nick Cousins, 68th, ’11
Alexandre Picard, 85th, ’03
Oskar Lindblom, 138th, ’14

PICKS AFTER SECOND ROUND: 115
100+ NHL GAMES: 12
PERCENT SUCCESS: 10.4%
NHL RANK: 23rd

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