Flyers Take Low Reward, High Risk Players at NHL DraftBREAKING NEWS, Flyers, News, NHL Sunday, June 30th, 2013
The 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.
#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.
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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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