The Flyers are out of cap space for next season, but there’s a bit of promise for the future. They lead the league with 10 draft selections, including seven in the first 100 picks.
The Flyers aren’t picky about where their talent comes from or where those players are going as long as they have potential. Prep schoolers and kids destined for mid-table NCAA schools such as Bowling Green and Connecticut have all been selected lately, as was NAHL goalie Anthony Stolarz. Curiously, no players from the OHL – a traditional hotbed – have donned the Orange and Black the past two drafts.
Round 1, picks 7 and 29
Round 2, pick 61
Round 3, picks 70 and 90
Round 4, picks 98 and 99
Round 5, pick 128
Round 6, pick 158
Round 7, pick 188
Philly’s defense has been abominable for several years. Shayne Gostisbehere and Robert Hagg are almost ready, while Samuel Morin and Travis Sanheim will follow, but there’s a gap requiring immediate help.
Goaltending has kinda been a thing in Philadelphia since Ron Hextall left – and now he’s the GM. Steve Mason has done some yeoman’s work to little effect and will eventually need a replacement. Stolarz is basically the only option in the system now, and that’s a big problem since he just completed his first year of pro and didn’t blow the doors off with AHL Lehigh Valley.
The most terrifying aspect of Philadelphia’s cap situation is that nearly all of 2014-15’s lineup is locked up for next year and often beyond. That’s a non-playoff roster, don’t forget. Other than UFA backup goalie Ray Emery and freewheeling RFA defenseman Michael Del Zotto, these are your Flyers. Of course, there are moves to be made that could alleviate space (Vincent Lecavalier, for example), but they won’t necessarily be fun.
IN THE SYSTEM 2015-16:
Gostisbehere will get a chance to crack the top six on defense and probably would have been there already had he not needed knee surgery. Hagg is another option, providing more physicality to Gostisbehere’s skill and skating prowess.
DID YOU KNOW:
Travis Sanheim, who more than doubled his offensive output year-over-year, was joined on the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen this season by his twin brother, Taylor. Blueliner Travis is 6-foot-3, though, while Taylor plays up front and is just 5-foot-11.