Let’s get this draft party started already. C’mon June can’t come fast enough. Who will the drafting guru in General Manager Ron Hextall select throughout the draft? Well, no one knows but Hextall himself.
The Flyers have hit on mid-round draft picks in the past with the likes of Matthew Strome, Maksim Sushko, Connor Bunnaman, and Mikhail Vorobyev. Hopefully, the same fortunes of success can continue this draft season. Just who might be Hextall’s target in the fourth round? Meet a Center from the Kelowna Rockets Kyle Topping.
This razzling and dazzling playmaker just might be the answer for the Flyers in the future, “Expect a 200ft player that can create scoring for my teammates and myself. A good reliable Centerman,” Topping states when describing himself.
Topping was born on November 18, 1999, in Ganges, BC, CAN. He started playing hockey at a young age, or like some natives of Canada might call it…from birth. Topping eventually found himself playing for the Kelowna Rockets in 2016-17. He had a solid season scoring 14 goals, and 15 assists for a total of 29 points in 59 games played. So how would Topping characterize himself to people who don’t know him?
“I’m a big stir fry guy (Laughing). Teriyaki stir fry is my go to. My mom is pretty good at making it (Laughing). I’m good on faceoffs and does whatever it takes to win…to hopefully get a Stanley Cup. Confidence is a big thing. Especially in the Junior ranks, and as you get older. Just being able to do what you want to do, and not being afraid to make a mistake. Coming into next season I’m going to have another year under my belt. I kind of want to be the guy to win or score a big goal.”
Topping continues, “Any kid’s dream is to go into the NHL. It was kind of my goal. I think when I started to move up the ranks I realized I was a good player to make a living like this. I really started going after it, and I’m still working towards that right now.”
Heading into his second season for the Rockets, Topping wanted to improve from the year before. He trained and worked hard in the off-season trying to build up his muscle. It paid off in a big way as he enjoyed a career for the Rockets in 2017-18. For the season, he tallied 22 goals, and 43 assists for a total of 65 points in 66 games played. According to Topping, he wanted to, “Follow in his brother footsteps,” but he realized how good he could be, as well. Topping doesn’t forget the people that have gotten him to this point in his career either.
“Numerous coaches have helped me along the way, and really did whatever they could to help me develop. But, within my family, my brother he’s two years older. He also plays hockey, and I kind of wanted to follow in his footsteps. I tried being like him when we were younger. Little stuff like shooting pucks in the backyard, and just someone to eat, sleep, hockey was pretty cool. Definitely without him I wouldn’t be the player or person I am today.”
This Rockets prospect in Topping continues, “If it’s a Saturday night, and my brother and I are both playing. My family and I do a group chat. We text each other to say good luck, and love you. Will talk to you after the game.”
If one has seen Topping play for the Rockets the past few seasons, then one would notice how he has improved as a player. Topping has become a solid two-way player that razzles and dazzles between opponents on a nightly basis, and he’s not afraid to score some dirty goals. His determination and grit for the love of hockey supersedes all. However, he works his tail off in the off-season, and hopefully it pays off with his name called at the draft.
“I try to work on my all around game. Also, still work on stuff in the off-season that I’m not very good at. I can always get better at every aspect of the game. Do the work and stuff that needs improvement to make the jump to pro’s in a few years.”
The young prospect in Topping continues, “It’s pretty exciting obviously, it’s a waiting game for the draft but still. Calm down my nerves for sure to see if I get picked. It’s pretty special, and I’m definitely excited for sure.”
Most teams covet a Center that can play both Center and Wing. The Flyers could use some Centers that are versatile in the future. Fortunately, Topping can play both positions effectively. His attitude, and willingness to win just might be what the doctor ordered for the organization moving forward. If Topping is still on the draft board when the Flyers pick in the 4th or 5th rounds, one can expect Hextall to take a long hard look at him. Topping leaves us with this unique message for the blue collar fans of Philadelphia:
“Thank you for supporting my future team. I’m gonna come in, and do whatever it takes to win. I’m excited to help you out too.”
Mandatory Photo Credit: Chris Mast via AP Images