Some thoughts on round one

Scott Laughton

Is it me or does it look like Scott Laughton could be related to Chris Farley? (Courtesy Getty Images)

  • First off, kudos to everyone who covered the draft live last night. People may joke every time a tweet pops up about a GM working the phones but those reporters worked their butts off last night. Today will be even more hectic. Well done folks.
  • The Penguins got a lot better on paper last night and that worries many people in the Atlantic Division. The Penguins also got a lot better on paper in 2010 when they reshaped their defense by acquiring Zbynek Michalek and Paul Martin. How did that work out? Michalek was traded back to the Phoenix Coyotes last night and the Penguins are trying to move Martin too.
  • Reportedly, the Penguins are in the hunt for Zach Parise. The team is looking for a winger to play with Sidney Crosby, which seems to be something the Penguins are looking for every offseason. One has to wonder what will happen if Parise ends up playing for his home team, the Minnesota Wild after the Penguins shed so much salary to make a play for him.
  • In 2011, the Flyers stole Sean Couturier after the player slid much further down the draft than he should have. Numerous high-ceiling players slid down the board during the first round of the 2012 draft but the Flyers remained at the 20th spot. Whether this is because they did not want to move up or could not work out a trade to move up is unclear.
  • If the Flyers intentionally did not move up in the draft, one could speculate that the team thinks there are sleepers late in the draft, that the team is keeping picks to use in a trade, or that they really felt they were in the right spot to land their top target.
  • With Keith Yandle in play and Weber an possible but not probable target, expect the Flyers to be busy today.
  • Pierre McGuire suggested that the Flyers really wanted Tom Wilson. Wilson was the easily most physical player drafted in the first round (the Capitals drafted him with the 16th overall pick) but, according to Corey Pronman, he has third line skills.
  • If the Flyers did indeed want Wilson, the Capitals saved Paul Holmgren from himself. Wilson is a power forward who has the frame of a prototypical Flyer but would take a while develop and likely would not live up to the hype fans would inevitably surround him with. Let’s put it this way, if you are unhappy with James van Riemsdyk, you would really hate Wilson. (N.B. Kudos to @pelle31lives for making the Biff Tannen joke about Wilson last night.)
  • Moving up to draft Matthew Dumba, who was selected seventh overall by the Minnesota Wild, might have solved a lot of problems for the Philadelphia Flyers. The 17-year-old right-handed defenseman put up 57 points in 69 games in the WHL and 12 points in 7 games for Canada in U18 last season. The Flyers do not have a strong track record of developing or being patient with defensemen, though. If the Flyers are going to fix the defense, it will likely happen via trade.
  • The Flyers kicked off draft day by trading Sergei Bobrovsky to the Columbus Blue Jackets for a second- and two fourth-round picks yesterday. Bobrovsky has a lot of raw talent and his lateral movement is nothing shy of impressive. However, this trade works best for both the player and the team. Bobrovsky was an expensive backup who would not get the playing time he needed to develop into the goalie he could become. The Flyers did right by him by giving him the opportunity to be a starter while easing the team of some of its cap burden.
  • When asked if a player in the system could be the backup next season, Paul Holmgren replied that Michael Leighton is in the system. Let’s not forget that Holmgren is a master of doublespeak.
  • For the first time in a decade, the first-round pick made by the Flyers failed to impress me. Of course, there have been plenty of years when the Flyers simply did not have a first-round pick but Laughton does not seem to be a late-round steal on par with the likes of Claude Giroux and Mike Richards. I hope I am wrong, of course, but this is a thin draft class and the team might have been better off trading away this pick one way or another.
  • Bobby Ryan’s desire to get out of Anaheim and be traded to Philadelphia is well documented. A lot of teams may pursue the Collingswood native but this puts the Flyers in the driver’s seat. Holmgren assembled a great, young group of forwards in Philadelphia and he has no pressing need to dismantle that core to acquire the unhappy winger. Whether it happens today or in 2015, Ryan will eventually be a Flyer. It really is only a matter of time. So Holmgren can play it cool and make Bob Murray sweat like he’s in a sauna if he wants. Sitting back and letting the situation play itself out is the best way of handling this particular case.
  • Fans have zero reason to be upset with Paul Holmgren last night. Numerous people posted tweets about Holmgren defecating on his bedsheets. Why? All the trade targets that could help the team are still available and if the price was too high for Holmgren to move up in the draft, then he did the right thing by not giving up known commodities for variable ones.
  • The offseason is only getting started. A lot can happen between now and October. Although it is not in our DNA, we need to be patient.