The Philadelphia Flyers are smoking hot when it comes to drafting. Just who will the drafting guru in General Manager Ron Hextall select as a hidden gem. Let the games begin on June 22, 2018, as the NHL Draft returns to its grand stage in Dallas, Texas.
As seen in years past, like the slogan, “As seen on TV.” Hextall has really nailed the middle portion of the draft, in search of hidden gems. For instance, a solid prospect in Center Connor Bunnaman (Kitchener Rangers) drafted in Round 4 (2016), and Cooper Marody (Michigan University) drafted in Round 6 (2015). Moreover, Marody fielded a third round draft pick in March, as he was traded to the Edmonton Oilers. Think about this a third round draft pick, for a once sixth round draft pick. Hextall couldn’t ask for more. Just who could be a sleeper in this years draft for the orange and black? Meet a Left-Handed Defenseman from the Lincoln Stars (USHL) in Christian Krygier.
1. How does it feel to be on the cusp of being drafted into the NHL?
“It’s pretty surreal to realize that a dream of yours for so long could come true…if it comes true. If it doesn’t it doesn’t, but it’s pretty exciting to think about.”
2. What was your ultimate goal when you began playing hockey when you were younger? To make the NHL or another league for that matter?
“For sure. Every kid wants to play in the NHL when their younger, but as you get older and you start to see that you might have a chance. I think it gets more fun, and enjoyable to play because your finally working towards something you really want to do.”
3. Who helped define you into the player you are today?
“Definitely my Dad. He played pro hockey for a number of years. He’s always been there to teach and to yell, to make sure were doing the right things on and off the ice. Just from a standpoint of playing hockey he was always there to teach, and knows what it takes to do what we want to do eventually in the future.”
4. What’s your favorite food?
“Any type of Italian. I’m Polish, but my mom always made a lot of pasta and chicken dishes. (Laughing).”
5. What NHL player did you idolize when you were younger?
“Being from Detroit I always watched Nicklas Lidstrom. He was obviously unbelievable to watch. But, even today I watch skilled and hard-nosed Defenseman, kind of watch a little bit of everything to be honest.”
6. This last season for the Lincoln Stars you really took a step forward in becoming a solid stay at home Defenseman. It shows you have the skill to compete, and have a good hockey IQ. How do you top that next season, or how do you prepare for next season?
“Obviously, college is a bigger jump from playing in the USHL with a lot of younger guys. Getting to the weight room to get bigger, stronger, faster throughout the summer to compete with the older guys, and just kind of play my game the next season. I may have to simplify it more because the game is quicker for the most part. So, get bigger and stronger for the uptempo to keep up with the guys.”
7. If you were drafted by the Flyers what can Flyers fans expect from a player like you?
“I’m a hard-nosed, tough Defenseman to play against. I’m a steady shutdown Defenseman.”
8. Do you have any rituals or beliefs that you do on game day or before the game for that matter?
“For the most part before the National Anthem I usually pray. That’s about it. That’s my one game day routine that stays the same.”
9. Lastly, what player characteristics do you bring to the table? For instance, hardworking in off-season, focusing more on skating (Obviously cause your pretty speedy), a good puck handler, etc.
“I’m a hard worker in the off-season. I hit the weight room, and try to focus on a little bit of everything. For the most part I focus on skating and puck handling. More skills work, so I hit hard to the weight room and go heavy.”
This young 17-year-old Defenseman in Krygier knows what it takes to succeed at a high level. He may not be the next Nicklas Lidstrom, but Krygier can have a successful NHL career down the line. For the 2017-18 season, he tallied 0 goals, 8 assists, and was a whopping plus 10. Fortunately, the Flyers don’t have to rush Krygier’s development, and he can take his time to develop while attending Michigan State University.
Photo By Dan Hickling/Hickling Images