Flyers Faithful is pleased to have Ed Miller from The Hockey Writers, Mark Edwards from HockeyProspect.com, Chris Shafer from Hockey’s Future, and Corey Pronman from Hockey Prospectus participate in the current iteration of Five Questions. This is the second of a five part series focusing on the upcoming draft.
What sleeper picks might there be in this draft that could be late-round steals?
Ed Miller: There are a couple of players that could be a steal for the Flyers as the draft moves into its later rounds. Perhaps my favorite sleeper is defenseman Nick Ebert. It was only last September that Ebert was the top draft prospect in this year’s draft, though he might have been a bit overhyped by critics. Despite winning the NHL/CHL hardest shot contest, he had a rough season with the Windsor Spitfires, just a year after the 6-foot-1; 193 pound defenseman was First Team All-Rookie in the OHL. I’d expect him to go late in the third round or early in the fourth round.
And although he has been passed over twice before in the NHL draft, winger Tanner Pearson should fly under the radar until the beginning of the third round, though that’s not exactly a late round sleeper. Pearson is a complete forward that has decent size and might just be a late bloomer. At the WJC, Pearson – a surprise pick for the event – helped Canada earn the bronze medal, notching six points in six games. The Barrie Colts were one of the top teams in the OHL this season thanks in part to Pearson who was the third-leading scorer in the league with 3 goals, to accompany his 51 assists. He did miss the last game of the season due to a broken fibula and that might cause his stock to fall a little more.
Mark Edwards: I think there are a few. D-man Jacob Slavin of Chicago in the USHL might be a little under the radar. We also have another D-man Jake Dotchin of the Owen Sound Attack rated much higher than others. Brock McGinn could end up being a great pick if he just gets a little bit bigger. Same could be said for Brendan Leipsic of Portland. Someone should draft 1992 born goaltender Colby Drost of Niagara U.
Chris Shafer: I purposely overlooked the goalie portion of the first question because it may very well be that the Flyers have moved on from drafting goalies in the first two rounds. This practice is becoming more common around the NHL, but it does not mean the Flyers will ignore the position just to find another Bobrovsky or Hovinen out on the market. With Joacim Eriksson’s departure from the organizational prospect lockbox, Paul Holmgren and his scouts could look to another big goalie looking to play a prominent role overseas next season. A guy like Richard Ullberg could spark some serious interest in later rounds.
Keep in mind that Tomas Hyka is still floating around after the Flyers tried but failed to sign him to an ELC after training camp. While Holmgren may be cursing the hockey gods, and the CBA of course, for his misfortune, there is always the chance that the Flyers extend another invitation to the recent leading scorer of the Gatineau Olympiques. While Hyka absolutely has to be on their radar at this point, there is no telling just what names Holmgren is dying to call in the later rounds. The organizational theme in recent memory seems to be guys who can skate well and bring some sandpaper while doing a little bit of everything else. That is not all that bad a place to start looking.
Corey Pronman: I can’t say who a “sleeper” is, because if I like a player, he’ll be ranked higher. You can find my rankings here.