After the NHL Draft last weekend, I thought I would take a look and evaluate how the Flyers did with each draft pick, considering who was available. Here are my grades for each pick of the draft.
D Cam York- B-
I have no problems with York. In fact, I like him. GM Chuck Fletcher did a brilliant job of trading down, picking up another draft pick, and still getting the player he wanted. York projects as a top-4 defender. He is an excellent skater and set points records at his position for the U.S. National Development Program. On the surface, this pick looks almost like an “A” pick. However, the grade given here is respective of who was left on the board at the time. Some analysts really hate using this sentiment, but yet, without a doubt, leaving a specific player or players on the board is not easily forgotten, nor is their impact forgotten on a franchise.
Take, for example, the Boston Bruins in the 2015 draft. The 2015 draft was considered to be one of the deepest drafts ever. The Bruins found a way to secure three first round picks in this draft. They took the following: D Jakub Zboril at 13, W Jake DeBrusk at 14, and W Zack Senyshyn at 15. At the time, Zboril seemed liked an okay pick, DeBrusk was questionable value at this position, and Senyshyn was considered “off the board.” Years later, DeBrusk has emerged as a solid second line NHL winger, but neither Zboril or Senyshyn are NHL players at this point.
When the Bruins made these picks, here is who they left on the table: W Kyle Connor, C Matt Barzal, D Thomas Chabot, and W Brock Boeser, just to name a few. Can you imagine a Bruins’ team with three of these players? While DeBrusk has added value to their lineup, it was a huge long-term and short-term blunder by the Bruins to not draft any of these five players. Connor is a 30 goal scorer, Boeser is a star goal scoring winger, Chabot had over 50 points in his first full NHL season, and Barzal won Rookie of the Year last year and just had his second consecutive 60 point season.
For this reason, it is important to keep in mind who the Flyers left on the board to select York. In this instance, they left record setting, scoring winger Cole Caufield and highly skilled center Peyton Krebs on the board. Was there a reason for doing this? Perhaps. Defenders were getting taken earlier in the draft, and taking York at pick 14 wasn’t unreasonable. However, it became somewhat unreasonable based upon who was left on the board.
Caufield’s biggest knock is size, but so is York’s at his position. Krebs was recently injured and is out for a while, but all medical reports have come in with the expectation that Krebs would fully recover. The Flyers, unlike most teams in the draft, have a very deep prospect pool. They also have one of the youngest defensive cores in the NHL and still have some depth at the position. If any team could have taken a chance on Caufield or Krebs, it was the Flyers, and they didn’t. Is York a decent pick? Sure. But Flyers’ fans can hope this doesn’t become a 2015 Bruins situation.
My Pick: W Cole Caufield
C Bobby Brink- A
In the second round, the Flyers liked what they saw left on the board and traded the extra pick acquired by moving back from 11 to 14 along with a 3rd rounder for pick 34. With that pick, the Flyers selected Bobby Brink. Brink was a brilliant pick for the Flyers. Ranked by many to be a first round talent, Brink fell to the second round, likely due to his lack of size and unusual skating stride. Listed at 5’8” and 160 lbs, Brink had the highest point per game average in the USHL this past season. He plays with a high level of tenacity and leadership. At 34, Brink was a high value pick and has high upside as a potential top 6 forward.
My pick: C Bobby Brink
D Ronnie Attard- B+
In the third round, the Flyers selected Ronnie Attard. Attard was draft eligible the last few seasons but was not selected. Last season, Attard grew to 6’3″ and scored 30 goals as a defenseman in the USHL, setting a league record. Attard is a bit of a late bloomer, but also considered by many to be a sleeper in this year’s draft. Picking Attard in the 3rd round is a bit of a risk, but one worth taking.
My pick: W Patrik Puistola
D Mason Millman- C+
Millman was a bit of a surprise pick in the 4th round. In fact, Millman is relatively unknown by many, even within the scouting community. Last season was Millman’s first in the OHL. He put up 25 points playing on a decent Saginaw Spirit team in the OHL. Millman has decent size and analytically speaking actually projects fairly well as someone who may possibly play in the NHL. However, since he is relatively unknown, I wonder if he would have been available later in the draft as well. Other prospects with seemingly higher ceilings were available here, and the Flyers could have potentially traded down to select some of these.
My pick: W Michael Teply
RW Egor Serdyuk- B
Serdyuk put up over a point per game in the QMJHL last season. He is considered to be a small, skilled forward. The 6th round is the perfect place to take a player like Serdyuk. High risk, high reward pick for the Flyers.
My Pick: D Marshall Warren
G Roddy Ross- B-
Ross is an intriguing pick for the Flyers, even with it being the 6th round. Ross split last season between the Seattle Thunderbirds and the Alberta Junior League. In 20 games in the WHL, Ross had a .919 save percentage. Ross is 6’2″, a good size for a goalie at this age as well. While taking a chance on a goalie you think may have high upside in the 6th round is a solid strategy, the Flyers’ player evaluation seems a bit puzzling here. Both David Wolf and Trent Miner, WHL goalies, were still left on the board. I have yet to see a draft rank list where Ross was ranked higher than these two players. The Flyers obviously saw something in Ross to pick him in the 6th. Both Wolf and Miner were nabbed in the 7th, and in my opinion, have higher upside.
My Pick: G David Wolf
W Bryce Brodzinksi- B+
With the Flyers’ last pick, they selected Bryce Brodzinksi. Brodzinski is from a hockey family in Minnesota. His brother John has played for the LA Kings a bit, and his brother Michael was selected by the San Jose Sharks. Brodzinski played in the USHL and put up almost a point-per-game. He will play at the University of Minnesota next season. Picking players from the European ranks, the USHL, or U.S. College route are usually best case scenarios for teams in later rounds, particularly in the 7th. Brodzinksi has four years of college eligibility to develop and is a solid pick in the 7th round.
My Pick: C Valentin Nussbaumer
Overall, the Flyers 2019 draft was not super “flashy” in a sense, but it still yielded some decent talent. The Flyers have even more pieces to build on now, even if they did leave some valuable talent on the table in the 1st and 4th rounds.