The Philadelphia Flyers motto is to remain patient and await the course. This is an uncommon practice in year’s past for the Flyers organization. However, Flyers fans are now beginning to see the transformation of a young Flyers team that is stocking up defensively for long-term success. Fans are hoping it pays off within the next few years with a parade down Broad Street.
Moreover, General Manager Ron Hextall is hoping that the defensive liabilities will become a thing of the past for the organization. With the likes of young defensive prospects such as Travis Sanheim, Philippe Myers, Samuel Morin, and Robert Hagg, could there be any other hidden defensive gems in the Flyers system? After recently having an exclusive interview with a young defensive prospect David Bernhardt, there is a great deal of hope that he transforms into yet another hidden gem for the Flyers.
Bernhardt was born on December 1, 1997, in Huddinge, Sweden. The Flyers drafted him in the 7th round of the 2016 NHL Draft. Bernhardt chose to stay with the Djurgardens IF J20 team after the NHL Draft. After completing the 2015-16 season with them, Bernhardt amassed 10 goals, and 28 assists for a total of 38 points in 45 games played. These numbers were very strong. He has grown each season for the Djurgardens team. So who exactly is this young man?
“I am a good skating defenseman who loves to have the puck and use my shot. I follow in offensive plays, and love to score goals..find great passes too. My dream is to play for the Flyers, and if they watch me it’s a sign that I do good things on the ice.”
The young Djurgardens product, Bernhardt has become quite a stud while playing for Djurgardens. In the 2016-17 season for Djurgardens IF J20, he amassed 9 goals, and 12 assists for a total of 21 points in 21 games played. He continued his success into this season by focusing on getting stronger in the off season.
“The offseason last was really tough, and I got stronger during the summer. When the season started I felt really strong, much stronger than the season before. It helped me a lot during the season. It was more easy to skate longer, and I could put more power in every situation on the ice. I worked hard on my defense this season, and I got better in the own zone. I had more confidence playing in the own zone.”
If a person has seen Bernhardt play for Djurgardens, one would instantly notice his smooth skating ability. Many people have helped him along the way, and he has not taken that for granted.
“Djurgardens has a very great hockey program for young players that they take in for high school. Coaches focus on small details that will make you a better hockey player. My coaches and the players here at Djurgardens helped me a lot.”
Bernhardt continued to say, “My father and oldest brother played hockey (not professional). Me and my youngest brother started to play at the same time, and we used to watch our oldest brother play. Therefore, I got involved in the sport. When my father bought me my first skates I really fell in love with the sport.”
Hopefully Bernhardt will pan out the way the Flyers envision him to. Hextall has had great success with drafting players late in the draft. Bernhardt has the heart, will, and the strength to become a hidden gem for the Flyers. Fortunately, the Flyers do not have to rush his development, and he can take his time learning the game the right way. Remember his name as Bernhardt says, “It would be a huge honor to sign with the Flyers after my contract expires with Djurgardens.”
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Mandatory Photo Credit: Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press via AP