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Flyers Take Low Reward, High Risk Players at NHL Draft

NHLDraft2013The consolation prize of the Philadelphia Flyers’ disappointing 2013 NHL season was that they found themselves with decent draft positioning in what has been called the deepest NHL Entry Draft since 2003.

The Flyers have done an excellent job in the last two years at the Draft, selecting players with a projected value at or after the position they were expected to be drafted.

In the first two rounds of the 2011 and 2012 NHL Entry Drafts, they made “safe” selections with players with high upsides (Sean Couturier, Scott Laughton, Anthony Stolarz).

In the third and fourth rounds, they drafted talented players that came with a little risk, but would likely just need time to develop (Nick Cousins, Marcel Noebels, Taylor Leier, Frederic Larsson).

In the final rounds, they selected players either with high potential and high risk, or utility players (Derek Mathers, Petr Placek, Reece Willcox, Valeri Vasiliev).

In spite of having better picks in a deeper draft, their overall selections could be described as “risky” at best and “disappointing” at worst.

Their selections:

#11- Samuel Morin

Morin shot up the rankings over the course of the year as his second season with the Rimouski Oceanic of the QMJHL continued. He’s a 17 year-old, 6′-6″, 200-lb. defensive defenseman with a heavy shot. He earned just 4 goals and 16 points in 46 regular games played this past season, but followed it up with 7 points in 6 playoff games.

Morin was ranked the 23rd best North American skater in the final NHL Central Scouting rankings, which is impressive considering his limited offensive tools. His skating is not considered an issue, which is invaluable for a man that tall on skates.

The Hockey Guys received some insight from Flyers prospect Petr Straka on Morin, who has the unique disposition of being both a teammate and opponent of Morin in recent years.

If there’s a knock on this pick, it’s that he wasn’t expected to be drafted until the 20th pick or later. The Flyers left top end offensive defensemen Ryan Pulock, Nikita Zadarov and Joshua Morrissey available to be drafted just a few picks later.

Then again, per Sarah Baicker of CSNPhilly, the Montreal Canadiens apparently wanted to trade up to Philly’s position to take Morin themselves. Maybe Morin truly is a #1 pairing defenseman in training.

The Flyers apparently think Morin will be ready after two more seasons, but defensive defensemen often need a lot more time to develop. Hopefully his rapid development in the Q this season will continue next season. If it doesn’t… yikes.

#41- Robert Hägg

Hägg was considered a “safe” first round pick last fall. The Flyers, expecting to be drafting late in the first round at that time, actually spoke with Mikael Renberg about the young offensive defenseman around the time of the World Juniors Championship.

The 18-year-old, 6′-2″ defenseman split time between the Swedish Elitserien (to be known as the “Swedish Hockey League” or “SHL” starting next year) and their junior league. Hägg’s skating is considered a strength, as are his puck moving abilities, but he was labelled as “inconsistent” as the year progressed and his defensive play will need continued work.

It was a fair pick at the time he was drafted, but Hägg seems to be another player that will need more time to develop. Hägg himself said that he would need “a couple years… one or two years” before he makes the jump to the NHL.

It will take a few years to properly gauge the Morin/Hägg combination selection, but a Pulock/Steve Santini (drafted immediately after Hägg by the New Jersey Devils) pairing would have arguably been a safer, less risky pairing for the organization.

#71 – Tyrell Goulbourne

OK, here’s where the train began to careen off the tracks.

Goulbourne is a 19 year-old, 5′-11″ agitator from the Kelowna Rockets of the WHL. His upsides are all intangible, unquantifiable attributes- he’s a great teammate, he shows heart, and he will drop the gloves. As Paul Holmgren apparently described him, he’s “Zac Rinaldo 2.0,” according to Flyers’ inside reporter Anthony SanFilippo.

That’s all well and good, except this was the third round pick.

Goulbourne was ranked the 171st best skater by International Scouting Services and 151st best skater by NHL Central Scouting. He was all but guaranteed to be on the board by their 6th round pick. So why take a fourth liner with so many better players on the board?

Goulbourne tallied 14 goals, 27 points, and 135 penalty minutes in 64 games played this season. Expect him to make the NHL someday, only because this is the Flyers.

#132- Terrance Amorosa

There is little information available on Amorosa because he is a fairly unknown high school student that went to Holderness Prep School in New Hampshire. He is a 6′-2″, 185 lb. defenseman from the Montreal area that will play in Sioux City of the USHL next fall. SanFilippo reported via twitter that “his assistant coach at Holderness introduced him to Flyers scout John Riley. Said MIN and DAL also had interest in him. He said he’s a good two-way defenseman who will look to continue development.”

“I’m a late bloomer, so first of all, I was never noticed by major junior Quebec leagues,” Amorosa told reporters. “I was never on the CHL list, I was never on those scouting lists, but going to school was always the right decision for me. School was very important to me, and college seemed like the best balance between hockey and school.”

Amorosa told reporters that he thinks part of the reason he was passed for so long was that he was 5′-6″ when many junior leagues were drafting players. Amorosa will be an interesting player to watch, considered just three teams contacted him after his prep season ended. Does he have the potential to be a mid-pairing NHL defenseman, or like 2010 prospect Petr Placek, will this prep school player buckle at more advanced levels?

#162- Merrick Madsen

Another high school selection, Madsen is a 6′-4″, 177-lb. goaltender from Idaho. Madsen was ranked the 26th best North American goaltender after putting up a 3.22 goals-against-average and 0.908 save percentage at Proctor Academy. He will be joining the USHL this fall as well.

As far as goaltending selections ago, this is another very high risk pick. While it is a sixth round selection, the Flyers left Patrik Bartosak (ranked 6th), Antoine Bibeau (ranked 9th), and a dozen other goaltenders on the board before taking Madsen. Again, we have to hope that Philadelphia knows something the general public doesn’t, because I suspect the organization will not give this teen the time he needs to develop if he’s just entering the USHL next season.

#192- David Drake

Drake is the third USHL product selected by the Flyers (if you count the last two picks) as well as the fourth defenseman selected in the draft by the Flyers. Drake is an 18-year-old 6′-4″ defenseman from Illinois that scored 1 goal in 12 games played this past year (to go along with a -13 rating) for the Des Moines Buccaneers.

Drake was not ranked by ISS or CSS.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The best feeling that one can take away from this draft is “wait and see.” Every pick either has a high risk of not meeting the potential for where the player was drafted or a low chance of even making an impact at the NHL level. Some of that comes with drafting defensemen and goaltenders, which are very difficult positions with which to gauge NHL talent.

They just left so, so many players on the boards that were universally regarded that you have to wonder what they saw or didn’t see to contradict those rankings.

The Buffalo Sabres, by and large, scored the best talent at the draft. Between Rasmus Ristolainen and Nikita Zadorov, they drafted two of the five best defensemen in the draft. They also added top forwards J.T. Compher and Justin Bailey and top European goaltender Juuse Saros (along with 4th ranked North American goaltender Calvin Petersen).

This is the Sabres.

As a Flyers fan, this draft was a disappointment. You can’t call it a “failure” because Morin and Hägg could eventually develop into elite talent and these late round USHL players could turn out to be respectable support players, but the organization needed slam dunk selections after the 2013 NHL season.

The organization also failed to move defenseman Braydon Coburn at the draft. There was (and still is) an offer from the Edmonton Oilers to the Flyers, but Holmgren apparently can’t get the deal that he wants. The exact deal remains a mystery, so if Holmgren is taking his time to wait until a better offer comes around, I can respect that. It just seems like the longer they wait, though, the lower that value will get.

The next milestone in the NHL world is the opening of free agency on July 5. The Flyers have around $4 million in cap space and still need to find a goaltender.

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Profile photo of Josh Janet Posted by on Jun 30 2013. Filed under BREAKING NEWS, Flyers, News, NHL. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

26 Comments for “Flyers Take Low Reward, High Risk Players at NHL Draft”

  1. Uneventful, disappointing day. Homer needs to be fired & Snyder needs to relinquish the team. More non-skilled goons, to add to the team, with 2 out of the 1st 3 picks, & they wonder why they haven’t won the cup since the mid 70’s. GTFO!!!!

  2. Flyers need bodies, could have even traded down with their 1St Roundercand got additional Players and still could have grabbed Morin or Haag sine they were reaches where the Flyers selected them at..
    Sound the Foyers are followings the aeagkes Deaft Steategy of recent NFL Drafts…

  3. Reports are that Montreal was going to grab Morin so if they wanted him trading down wasn’t an option.

    But yes, that 3rd round pick was questionable. I do believe Holmgren is the worst GM in Philly. Yes, even worse than Amaro.

    • The more I learn about Morin, the better I feel about him. However, there is no question that he was a riskier pick at #11 than the other players I mentioned. I have to trust that the scouts did their jobs and that this risk isn’t as bad as it looks, but that’s what concerns me.

  4. WTF? These looks like an Andy Reid draft. Why are they always smarter (by that I mean dumber) than every other GM in the league? Everyone else rated the other defensemen higher for a reason. Just because the kid looks like Pronger doesn’t mean that he is going to play like Pronger.

    what is the offer from Edmonton for Coburn?

    It seems like Homer is on another team’s payroll the last 2 years. Going into the off season after the the 2 amnesties were in place, they should be doing well cap wise. Instead they signed Timmonen for another year at $6 mil and then this ridiculous deal for Streit. Why didn’t they try to retain Carle if they were going to pay Streit that much money. At least he will be able to play for the 4 years. And Philly.com had a report about LeCavilier? No thanks. That guy can’t stay healthy.

    This team is being held hostage. Tech is right, he is the worst GM in the city and Winkie is gonna make him look worse when the Flyers are still paying 50 year old dudes $5-6 million per year.

    • The offer from Edmonton is unknown, though it is believed Magnus Paajarvi may be part of the deal. Holmgren and MacTavish were seen talking four or five times during the draft, but nothing came to fruition. Holmgren suggested that it wasn’t what they were looking for for Coburn.

      As for letting Carle go and signing Streit to a similar deal a year later… poor hindsight. They elected to aim for the top free agents rather than settle for their own.

      Lecavalier met (or will have met) about a dozen+ teams. Holmgren stated after the draft that he had no idea what Lecavalier will do.

      • Streit is certainly a big-ticket item for them, but Carle’s contract was 50% longer at $0.5M/yr greater, or $12M more. That’s not as similar as you’re implying. Moreover, the fate of Pronger was a lot less clear than it was when they made the decision to walk away from Carle. Perhaps that would have led to a different outcome.

        • Pronger’s career was long over at the time that Carle reached free agency. It should not have affected Carle’s negotiations.

          While the contract demands were not ideal either, the organization did not have any realistic options of replacing his minutes and his puck-moving abilities through free agency, trade, or in-house prospects. So instead of having a 28 year-old, second pairing puck moving defenseman for 5 more years, the organization now has a 36 year-old third pairing puck moving defenseman for 4 more years at a comparable price.

          They thought they could sign Ryan Suter, when he never expressed any intentions of coming to Philadelphia. I still consider it poor hindsight.

  5. Forget getting high-priced,overvalued and often injured Veteran Free-Agents..
    Build thru the Draft and get Younger, more Skilled/Athletic & Stronger Players
    Can they skate,check,pass and shoot.. It’s not that difficult…

  6. all i know is salary caps, nhl and the flyers are not a good mix

    • Flyers have been slow to adjust to evolving SPort of Hockey and are still stuck in the Dark Ages with too many big,slow, physical Players who can fight (Woppee) but are not very athletic, skilled or can rasition from Defense to Offense and it’s been this way for many years now.. The Sport is like all other Sports and built around Speed,Athleticism and Playmaking abilities and the Flyers have done well in Drafting/Developing Forwards but terrible in Drafting/Developing Defensemen & Goalies for 25 + Years
      and it has more than caught up with them so know on to blame but themselves and the local media/fans are finally just beginning to realize this after giving the Flyers Organization a free-pass for years..

      • I think your reply took about 8 years for the Internet to process and post. What you wrote was true when Clarke was still in charge, but not so much under Homer. As for the draft, their record, even under Clarke shows a fantastic ability to draft and develop NHL-caliber talent from their first-round selections, and paltry results thereafter. If they had a credo in their executive offices, it should read “don’t trade first-round picks; trade all other picks for something else.” It’s not catchy, but it rings true. Where defenseman and goaltenders are concerned, what you wrote is completely accurate: they haven’t developed goalies and defensemen at remotely the rate they have forwards. But I don’t think that matters too much. You can always trade a valuable asset; you can’t trade an AHL-quality player. So it behouves the team as a rule to draft players most importantly who they think can play at the NHL level above the position they play.

  7. Poluck was the guy that I wanted.

  8. I think you mean high-reward, high-risk, Josh. If you meant what you wrote (low-reward, high-risk), then your article is entirely satire. “Low-reward, high-risk” is another way of writing “Homer sucks.” My kingdom for an editor!

    • The intent of the headline was to convey that the players selected were either high risk players or low reward players, which I thought was reiterated with each player selection. If that wasn’t clear, my apologies.

      I would have preferred it if they were low risk, high reward picks, but that wasn’t really the case. This draft was all over the place.

      • The first two picks were not reaches. Morin maybe a 4 picks early but no reason he should not have been picked where he was, hagg was a projected first rounder so not a reach. My only problem with yesterday is the 3rd round pick, but lets revisit in 4 years. Would have liked to have seen pk sub bans brother with the 3rd round pick and grab the goulbourne with the 5th if they liked him that much.

        • The more I learn about Morin, the better I feel. There is still more risk involved than Ryan Pulock or Josh Morrissey, though, as those players each had two seasons under their respective belts that suggested their results were reproducible. With Morin, he had a fantastic second half of the year by which he is being judged. Was that just a glimpse of his potential, or just sample size benefitting him? He’s young enough to realistically expect he’ll only get better, but it’s still less safe of a pick at #11.

          I would have liked Jordan Subban as well.

      • It was clear usage of the English language Josh, and Pet yes that was kinda the impression homer sucked . Then again these guys could all be stars and we have no faith. We shall see in 5 years.

  9. It’s funny how everyone expects the Eagles & 76ers Draft Prospects to be productive immeadiately or are declared ‘Busts” by their 2nd Seasons.. but not Hockey or Baseball Prospects… Typical Fan Reaction..

    • not really a fair assessment Paul considering rookies frequently make impacts in the NFL because its a young mans game mostly… and in the nba you’re team is comprised of 15 guys ( i think ) so if you’re 1/15th of the team yea you’re expected to play…

      also in football and basketball it is pretty obvious by the end of the rookie season if you can play or not, if you dont pass the eye test that first year most of the time you wont cut it.

      but in mlb and nhl youre drafting 17 & 18 year olds in sports were players typically peak around 30 as opposed to the prior 2 sports where you peak at 25-27…

      • also football and nba dont really have aaa, aa, a, high a… or minor leagues…

        • Which makes it even more difficult for a Rookie to make it..
          When you think about NFL Rookies making an impact, I disagree with you
          Out of the Apprx 250 Players Selected each Draft, how many do you really think make an impact in their 1st Seasons… 10 Players would be a lot in my opinion, which represents about 4% of the 250 Players Drafted and only about .05% of the 1,700 total NFL PLayers on a Active Roster in a given Season…

          • i suppose your definition of impact is like a superstar? i mean is 4 sacks an impact? how about 3 ints? or 500 rushing or receiving yards? bottom line is if a rookie rb drafted in a low round makes an impact to me if he has 300 rushing yards, thats something…

            nhl and mlb you go to aaa, aa, a or ahl for a few years

            so to your initial point yea fans expect rooks to be productive b/c they are on the squad and getting playing time in nhl and mlb they disappear for a few years

            • all I am saying is very few Rookies period in any SPort make a major Impact.. Last year was an exception in NFL with QB’s Luck,RGIII, R Wilson, RB Morris from Redskins having fantastic Rookie Seasons as well as a few other Handful players.. But the Reality of of Professional SPorts is that it takes a 18-19-20-21-22 Year old Athlete a good 2 Years to adjust to the “Big Leauges” and to expect a quick return from any Draft Pick in any Sport is typically an unrealistic wish by the Fans & Media
              Football definitely has a shorter shelf life for the Athlete and then again, they are typically 21-22 Years old and have finished growing and maturing physically for the most part..
              other Sports with 18-19-20 Years old, many of these kids are just not physically strong enough yet to last a “Professional Season” let alone mature enough to handle the attention, money, the 6-7 months Seasons,travel,etc,etc.. Of course, there are always exceptions, but I am generally speaking ..
              In the NFL – there may be 10-12-14 Rookies that are Starters in the NFL.. and usually some of these are OL, and usually on Teams with a lack of Talent, but at the skills positions, it’s rare for a Rookie to step in and Start right away..

    • Unfair Paul- Football average age of a player in the draft is 20+. NBA is ruined by drafting kids sorry but FIX the NBA by not allowing anyone to go pro till 21 years of age. (I promise you would have much more competitive basketball) Hockey is similar drafting young kids to develop but unlike basketball there is the AHL and other leagues to play kids in to develop.

      Football draft is for PRO Football NOW not in 5 years and that is a big Big difference.

      Baseball also is a developmental draft. Very different concepts.

    • Hockey players are younger and don’t get drafted after completing college. Difference of about 3 or 4 year. Hard to rate 17 and 18 year olds. That is why we say revisit in 3 to 4 years

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