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 fifth of a five part series focusing on the upcoming draft.
At one point this season the Flyers had a first, (potentially) two seconds, and two third rounders in the first three rounds of this year’s draft; but they now find themselves with just a first and a third. How would you rate the depth of this year’s draft? Do you think Flyers may come to regret trading those picks?
Ed Miller: With Chris Pronger and Andrej Meszaros missing significant time this past season, the Flyers were in need of help at the blue line when they traded away their picks. It was done in the hopes that it was all that was keeping them from going deep into the playoffs but it wasn’t the case. Those trades worked well as quick fixes but in the long run both Nicklas Grossmann and Pavel Kubina weren’t the answer due to turnovers in their own end and the inability to get the puck through the neutral zone. Having said that I think the first two and a half rounds of this draft are fairly deep and offer a wide range of talent especially at the defense and winger positions. The Flyers might wish they had one of those picks back by the time the draft is finished but I certainly don’t fault the team for trying to bring in guys mid-season in the hopes of solving an injury bug.
Mark Edwards: We don’t really like the overall depth of this draft. I know for instance that some teams were trying to trade for 2014 picks rather than this year’s picks. In short, if there was a year to ever trade away picks, this was as good as any. We really like the top 25 or so players but feel it falls off a little after that. There will still be some good players drafted from the 2nd round on, but it’s a little tougher to find them this year.
Chris Shafer: I do not think the Flyers’ organization would regret these kinds of trades. The best thing about the staff running the Flyers behind the scenes is that winning is always their top priority. If some things do not work out, then the fans will always complain often times forgetting how good they have it. Paul Holmgren and his staff do an excellent job of scouting and consistently icing a team that can compete with anyone. It stands within reason of course, but the draft picks lost in the wake are normally inconsequential. As always in cases like the one with Kubina, hindsight is 20/20. Even so, the Flyers, as arguably the best drafting organization in the NHL, still cannot guarantee a second round pick will ever see NHL ice.
A first and a third this year is good enough to nab a defenseman who will potentially be a long-term anchor for your organization. You can also possibly get Tomas Hyka back to Philadelphia, having already seen what kind of potential he has. Any day you can get two potential NHLers in the draft is a good outing.
A few more picks in the first in order to stockpile young defensemen would be nice, but every organization would say that. Once you get past the top 15 or so defensemen this year, the quality drops substantially. Having a high second might help, but those late second rounders do not always amount to much more than a third.
Corey Pronman: The depth is fine, not leaning in either direction on it. The Flyers’ pipelines have become rather thin the last few years, and while they’ve been able to sign a few good college free agents, being able to put more young talent on their reserve list would bode well for their distant future when they need to fill the roster with cheap production. Right now it’s hard to see much in their system that could potentially be a top 6 forward or top 4 defender, and that is an issue.