PHILADELPHIA, PA. – The Philadelphia Flyers went into this weekend’s NHL Entry draft in dire need of providing the organization with depth at all positions. No one position was off limits to the team that despite its Stanley Cup fun lacks blue chip talent in their farm system ravaged by trades in recent years, but especially by the Chris Pronger trade.
The most glaring need of course was for a blue chip goaltender. To show you just how much the team values the position the Flyers drafted none of the weekend. Despite the rumors that a tentative agreement is in place for the rights to negotiate with Evgeni Nabokov, the Flyers lack a future number one goalie. Some published reports suggested that the team went after the Kings Jonathan Bernier but it would have taken Jeff Carter to do so.
As they did last season, the Flyers only drafted six players, two defensemen, two left wingers, one right winger, and one center. Let’s see who they drafted and what their future prospects are in a Flyers uniform.
Michael Chaput – 6’ 2” 194, Shoots left
Center (Lewiston – Quebec Major Junior Hockey League)
Third Round – 89th overall
Chaput has spent 1½ playing with Lewiston and in 97 games has 31 goals, 28 of them this past season due in large part because in 2009 he only played in 29 games, where this season he played in 68. He also had 27 assists, where last season he only had 7. In four playoff games he only one assist.
Analysis: Regardless of what happens to Carter or any other center currently on the Flyers roster Chaput is a good three years away from threatening anyone’s job. That said, if this past season was not a fluke, he could climb up the charts very quickly. He has good size and lead his team in goals and power play goals (10) so the potential is there so keep your eye on his progress.
Tye McGinn – 6’ 2” 205, Shoots left
Left Wing (Gatineau – Quebec Major Junior Hockey League)
Fourth Round – 119th overall
McGinn has already played three seasons in major juniors, once in the OHL with Ottawa and twice with Gatineau. Like Chaput this past season was McGinn’s breakout season with 27 goals and 35 assists. He won’t be in juniors next season and will either be fast tracked to the AHL or sent to the ECHL to find out just how good he really is.
Like Chaput he also led his team in goals and with 10 power play goals as well.
Analysis: If he and Chaput make the Flyers one day it wouldn’t shock me if they were put on the same line together. They are similar players but because he is a left winger and Simon Gagne and Scott Hartnell might not be with the Flyers by the time McGinn is ready. One or both of them leaving could open the door one day for McGinn. He has more time in juniors that Chaput has so he will most likely make the team ahead of Chaput but one year.
Michael Parks – 5’ 10” 188, Shoots right
Goaltender (Ceder Rapids – United States Hockey League)
Fifth Round – 149th overall
Parks has played one season in the USHL and scored 11 goals and 11 assists In 51 games. According to Parks he will play one more season in the USHL than move on to play in the NCAA’s for powerhouse North Dakota.
Analysis: Parks might surprise but it looks as if his ticket to the big time will be in a third or fourth line energy role. An interesting put nonetheless. Playing for UND wont hurt his chances, but he will most likely need time in the AHL once he is done with college.
Nick Luukko – 6’ 2” 205, Shoots right
Defense (Gunnery Prep School – Connecticut)
Sixth Round – 179th overall
It’s good to be the king, or in this case the son of the Comcast-Spectacor’s Peter Luukko. Despite being told not to draft him, the Flyers did it anyway. Still, he has good size for a defenseman. He will be attending the University of Vermont.
Analysis: Playing at Vermont isn’t such a bad gig if you can get it. It might prove interesting to see how the team handles him.
Ricard Blidstrand – 6’ 3” 202, Shoots left
Defense (AIK – Sweden)
Seventh Round – 206th overall
The Flyers love size on defense and they could have a steal in the seventh round. The problem is he was drafted in the seventh round, by the Flyers no less. Quick, name the last time a seventh round pick made the Flyers roster? Ok, I will tell you. It was Todd Fedoruk. Still, his size is what the Flyers love most so don’t thing that doesn’t count for something in South Philly. Last season the Flyers drafted another Swedish born player in Oliver Lauridsen who’s 6’ 6”’ and plays for St. Cloud State University in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA).
Analysis: One a team in dire need for depth on the blue line and an even bigger need to get younger he could be the Flyers sleeper of the draft. What might help his cause is if he decides to come overseas sooner than later. Than the Flyers will start taking a look at him more closely.
Brenden Ranford – 5’ 10” 182, Shoots left
Left Wing (Kamloops – WHL)
Seventh Round – 209th overall
Like Parks size is an issue, but he has already played two full seasons in the WHL and has improved each season. This season he had 29 goals and was second on the team in points. He also averaged a point a game in the playoffs. Like Chaput and McGinn had 10 power play goals this season.
Analysis: He could stay in the WHL one more season then go pro. He will most likely start in the ECHL than get moved up to the AHL if need be.
Overall Analysis: As they did last year the Flyers made as much use of their six picks in a seven round draft the best they could., Oddly enough the Flyers didn’t move up and decided to stay in the third round for the second year in a road. That’s either being cocky or over confident or both and in the Flyers case it’s probably both, especially when you consider the teams draft history is one not to be desired.
Overall it looks as though the Flyers drafted a few reaches in Parks and Ranford but who knows. That said McGinn and Chaput could be keepers if they progress the way the team hopes, especially in the salary cap era. Like with any draft only time or tell who was right and who was wrong. Not drafting a goaltender was a major need and for some reason they dropped the ball on this one. Their next best position of need was, well, all of the above. For missing out on a goalie let’s give them a gracious C.