With the NHL Entry Draft completed and the future of the Philadelphia Flyers a couple of years away, the Flyers can begin to look ahead to free agency to fill some major needs in their current rosters. Still, with the draft fresh in our minds, its time to review what the Flyers did that will hopefully help return them to respectably.
The team had several needs heading into the draft: left wing, goaltender, center, and defense. Left wing was definitely the worst position in terms of depth for the Flyers heading into the draft. Needless to say, the Flyers addressed the position with four of their seven picks with left wingers.
With the second pick overall, the Flyers wasted no time in addressing their left wing need by taking James Van Riemsdyk from U.S. hockey’s under-18 program. At 6’ 3” and 191 pounds, JVR is a prototypical Flyer. Some comparisons are being made to former Flyer John LeClair, only with speed. A better comparison could be made to Rick Nash from the Columbus Blue Jackets.
The Flyers could have addressed their need for a number one center by taking probably the most gifted player in the draft in Kyle Turris, who the Phoenix Coyotes selected right after the Flyers passed on him with the third pick overall. Only time will tell if the Flyers made the right choose, but for now, Flyers fans should be more than happy with the pick of Van Riemsdyk.
Here is a breakdown on all of the Flyers picks (profiles courtesy of the Philadelphia Flyers):
James Van Riemsdyk
First Round (second overall)
6’3”, 200 pounds
USDP, USA Under-18
Notes: Was selected by the Flyers in the first round (second overall) of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. Born on May 4, 1989 in Middletown, New Jersey…6’3”, 200 pounds…Shoots left…Played this past season for the United States Under-18 National Team Development Program team…Recorded 33 goals and 30 assists for 63 points and 81 penalty minutes in 42 games…Led the team in goals (33), points (63), penalty minutes (81), power play goals (11) and game-winning goals (6)…Was second on the team in assists with 30…Was a member of bronze medal-winning Team USA at the 2007 World Junior Championship tournament, scoring a goal in seven games…Played for the U.S. Under-17 NTDP team during the 2005-06 season, recording 42 point s (26G ,16A) in 55 games…Won a gold medal with Team USA at the Under-18 World Championships…Helped Team USA to a silver medal at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, where he posted nine points (5G, 4A) in seven games and was named to the All-Tournament Team…Will attend the University of New Hampshire for the 2007-08 school year…Ranked third among North American prospects on Central Scouting’s final report.
Central Scouting on Van Riemsdyk: “A power forward with great physical presence and ability to protect the puck…shows good stickhandling skill…is a good skater with great acceleration…does not give up on the play and has an impressive work ethic…can play in all situations and has a hard shot.”
JVR is a very good pick for the Flyers; he most likely will never see a day in the minors, but there is a small chance he could be in the AHL if he leaves college after only one year, otherwise he will go straight to the NHL.
Second Round (41st overall)
6’1”, 191 pounds
Notes: Selected by the Flyers in the second round (41st overall) of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft…Born on March 10, 1989 in Boucherville, Quebec…6’1”, 191 pounds…Shoots left…Played this past season for the Lewiston MAINE-iacs of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League…Registered five goals and 27 assists for 32 points and 141 penalty minutes in 141 regular season games for the MAINE-iacs…Led the team in penalty minutes with 141…Posted seven assists and 38 penalty minutes in 17 playoff games as Lewiston won the QMJHL Championship…Was one of 40 draft-eligible players selected to play in the 2007 CHL Top Prospects Game and played for Team White…Attended the Team Canada Selection Camp for the 2006 Junior World Cup…Ranked 63rd among North American prospects on Central Scouting’ s final report.
Central Scouting on Marshall: “A stay-at-home defenseman with a good work ethic…has good balance and agility…has a steady style and likes to keep it simple…moves the puck well…needs to improve his puck handling skills…needs to make better offensive decisions.”
If he can have a career like his idol Chris Chelios, Marshall will be a great pickup for the Flyers. Once Marshall is finished at major juniors, he will most likely go straight to the AHL with the Phantoms for at least one season.
Third Round (66th overall)
6’6”, 225 pounds
Notes: Selected by the Flyers in the third round (66th overall) of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft…Born November 27, 1988 in Regina, Saskatchewan…6’5”, 235 pounds…Shoots left…Played for the Saskatoon Blades this past season… Recorded two goals and two assists for four points and 107 penalty minutes in 63 games…Was named the Blades’ Most Improved Player for the 2006-07 season…Was acquired by the Blades from the Red Deer Rebels on June 22, 2006…Registered two goals and 26 penalty minutes in 32 games for Red Deer during the 2005-06 season.
What a shock, the Flyers took another big guy. Oddly enough, he is known as a very good skater for his size. If he makes it all the way to the NHL, it might be as either a third or fourth-liner. Once he is finished at Regina, he will most likely go straight to the AHL, but could start in the ECHL with whomever the Flyers new ECHL affiliate turns out to be.
Fifth Round (122nd overall)
6’0”, 179 pounds
St. John’s, QMJHL
Notes: Selected by the Flyers in the fifth round (122nd overall) of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft…Born September 19, 1988 in Kramfors, Sweden…6’ 0”, 180 pounds…Shoots left…Played this past season for St. John’s Fog Devils… Recorded 23 goals and 19 assists for 42 points and 51 penalty minutes in 62 games…Was second on the team in goals with 23…Was tied for sixth among QMJHL rookies in goals (23) and 11th in points (42)…Played for Team Sweden at the 2006 Under-18 World Championships…Ranked 50th among North American prospects on Central Scouting’s final report.
Central Scouting on Kempe: “A skilled forward who works hard every shift, has good puck sense and the ability to beat a defender one-on-one, not afraid of playing in traffic and needs to utilize his linemates more often and needs to be more consistent with his physical play.”
Despite the Flyers already being deep with right wingers in the system, Kempe could turn out to be a steal. It is hard to say right now if his pro career will start in the ECHL or AHL, but he is a prospect that he will no doubt be closely looked at by Flyers brass.
Sixth Round (152nd overall)
6’1”, 175 pounds
Minnesota St., NCAA
Notes: Selected by the Flyers in the sixth round (152nd overall) of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft…Born May 25, 1987 in Bonnyville, Alberta…6’1”, 175 pounds… Shoots left…Played this past season for Minnesota State University of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association…Recorded 17 goals and 10 assists for 27 points and 74 penalty minutes in 37 games for Minnesota State…Led the team in shorthanded goals with four…Tied for first on the team in goals (17) and game-winning goals (3)…Was second on the team in plus/minus (+4) and shots (93) and third in penalty minutes (74)…Received Minnesota State’s Most Improved Player award for the 2005-06 season…Registered four goals and seven assists for 11 points in 30 games as a freshman…Was second on the team in plus/minus at +8 during the 2005-06 season.
Kalinski will most likely begin his pro career in the EC