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.
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? Let’s not forget about a young Defensive prospect in David Bernhardt, who plays for Djurgardens in the SHL.
“I looked up to Nicklas Lidstrom when he played for Detroit Red Wings. He was so good in both D-Zone, and Offensive Zone. Of course, I watched him because he is Sweden’s best Dman of all time.” If Bernhardt can somehow replicate Lidstrom’s game, then the Flyers will be set up well in the future.
Bernhardt was born on December 1, 1997, in Huddinge, Sweden. The Flyers drafted him in the Seventh Round of the 2016 NHL Draft. Bernhardt chose to stay with the Djurgardens IF J20 team after the NHL Draft. After completing the 2016-17 season with them, Bernhardt amassed 9 goals, and 12 assists for a total of 21 points in 21 games played. These numbers were very strong. He has grown each season for Djurgardens, so just who is this young man?
“I am a skilled two-way Defenseman, who can pass great first passes, and good on handling the puck. I will work this off-season with my strength, so I can use my size better, and work more on my D-zone plays.”
Bernhardt continues, “I don’t do any special rituals before game that I have to do, but I always eat spaghetti bolognese before a game, and must have new tape on the stick. I have strong family values. My parents and brothers and girlfriend are very important to me, and they help me a lot in my hockey life. My Father loves ice hockey and he was my coach for almost 9 years when I was younger. I have played in the same team as my brother whole my life. We have always competed with each other, and that has helped me a lot to get where I am today. My parents have almost never missed a game when I’m playing.
The young Djurgardens product, Bernhardt has become quite a stud while playing for Djurgardens. In the 2017-18 season for Djurgardens, he amassed 1 goal, and 10 assists for a total of 11 points in 51 games played. He continued his success into this season by focusing on getting stronger in the off-season. Bernhardt plays in a very tough league in the SHL, so he focuses on training vigorously in the off-season to stay in tip top shape.
“The off-season last year was really tough, and I got stronger during the summer. When the season started I felt really strong, much stronger than the season before that. It helped me a lot during the season, and it was more easy to skate longer. 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. It gave me more confidence playing in our own zone. I worked a lot with my stick handling, and find good first passes.”
If a person saw Bernhardt play for Djurgardens last season, then one would have instantly notice his smooth skating ability. Bernhardt has grown so much in his years of playing for playing for Djurgardens, and he may be turning into a real steal for the orange and black. Moreover, many people have helped him along the way, and he has not taken that for granted.
“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 into the sport. We started to play floor ball in our garden, and when my father bought out me my first skates then I really felt in love with the sport.”
The young prospect continues, “The SHL is a tough league, and I play on a very good team with great coaches. They help me everyday to become a better player, and this season I played all games in regular season and did good. It’s a lot of good players who can dribble the puck, and makes good plays. But, I think that will help me reach my goal and my goal is to play in NHL with the Flyers. I think playing seniors will help me a lot.”
Hopefully, Bernhardt will pan out the way the Flyers envision him to. Bernhardt is sometimes forgotten by some as a Defenseman for the Flyers in the future. However, Hextall has had great success with drafting players late in the draft. With that being said, 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. Bernhardt leaves us with a very unique message for Flyers fans:
“It would be a huge honor to sign with Flyers after my contract expires with Djurgardens. Fans can expect a two way defenseman with good skating, and great shot. I love to find great passes, and i love to win. I have heard that flyers got the best fans in the league, so keep on cheering because I know how much it helps when your out there playing.”
Prospect Carter Hart will wear #31 for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, and #79 for the Flyers.