We’re less than a week away from the 2020 NHL Draft! The landscape of many teams across the league will change as players will effectively be on the trading block, blockbuster trades will take place, and future superstars will be hand-selected by their new franchise. One team that’s among discussion of a potential draft-day move is the Philadelphia Flyers. Chuck Fletcher made it known that Shayne Gostisbehere is openly available. To make a splash, Fletcher will have to package players and a pick together to gather a worthwhile acquisition.
Will the Winnipeg Jets trade Patrik Laine? Laine wants to play on the first line with Mark Scheifele, but that means moving above Blake Wheeler. The Winnipeg Jets are focused on securing scoring depth throughout their top-six forwards. It sounds like Laine’s demand to be on the top-line comes with a “do that, or trade me” tone. Suddenly, it seems like the Philadelphia Flyers should steer away from Laine because he wouldn’t be great for the locker room.
A week ago, I approached my 2020 NHL Mock Draft 2.0 with the concept of trading for Patrik Laine in the second round. The package I came up with featured sending Shayne Gostisbehere, Nolan Patrick, and the second-round pick to the Winnipeg Jets for Patrik Laine. In doing so, the Jets would receive a second-pair defenseman along the blue-line with a powerplay focus, a young center with top-six potential in the NHL, and the second-round pick to draft another defenseman or a winger to replace Laine. On Thursday, Patrick returned to the ice in a scrimmage in Manitoba. If the Philadelphia Flyers missed out on Laine (to which the Jets receive help on the cap space,) the grass is still green on the other side.
Two days removed from the first day of the 2020 NHL Draft, I present my final mock draft. No trades included; this one is about making the right draft picks. The Philadelphia Flyers have seven picks at their disposal on October 6th-7th. A little bit of everything should get attention if done correctly. The tool I used for this particular mock draft is courtesy of NHLEntryDraft.com‘s Future Considerations tool.
Round 1; Pick 23: Jack Quinn, RW, OHL
Jack Quinn is a high-end talent in this draft class. In the OHL, Quinn played with Marco Rossi and picked up on the strengths of his game. His high hockey intelligence means that he plays at a high level on both sides of the puck. During his time with the Ottawa 67s, Quinn was routinely one of the best players on the ice due to his ability to control the pace of play and shift away from defenders to create space.
Throughout the 2020 Stanley Cup playoffs, the Philadelphia Flyers powerplay was abysmal. Young players who can strike on special teams needs to be a focus for the Flyers. In Philadelphia already are Joel Farabee, Morgan Frost, and Kevin Hayes. Notably, Jack Quinn is a dual-threat special teamer who can score on the powerplay or penalty-kill.
Round 2; Pick 54: Luke Tuch, LW, USHL
Luke Tuch has a high motor that allows him to consistently move through the offensive zone. He skates through defenses and makes heads up plays with the puck on offense. Tuch creates shots that are tough for goaltenders to see with a quick-release wrist shot. Something that the Philadelphia Flyers would love about Tuch is his ability to get in on the forecheck with his 6’2″, 203lbs frame.
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves; Luke Tuch is not quite as good as his brother, Alex Tuch. In saying that, he does not have major weaknesses. Every bit of his offensive skill set is good, but just not spectacular. The Philadelphia Flyers should draft Tuch because he is versatile as a power forward. As he develops in the system through a brief tenure with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, Tuch has every tool to become a permanent fixture with the Flyers.
Round 4; Pick 116: Yan Kuznetsov, D, NCAA
Yan Kuznetsov is a blue-line bodyguard with NHL size at 6’4″, 209lbs. In addition to his pure size, he’s accurate with his outlet passes in transition too. Kuznetsov keeps his feet active and showcases good speed to the boards. His game is not flashy, but he plays a physical brand of hockey. The Philadelphia Flyers need a defenseman who can bring a classic bodycheck, which Kuznetsov does.
Over the last two years, Yan Kuznetsov played college hockey with the University of Connecticut and the Sioux Falls Stampede of the USHL. In his one season with UConn, Kuznetsov appeared in 34 games, tallied eleven points, and finished with a plus-minus rating of -7. He improved offensively in his transition from the Stampede to UConn, but his defensive game will continue to become more efficient. If the Philadelphia Flyers draft Kuznetsov, I would expect him to develop in the AHL through the extent of an entry-level contract.
Round 5; Pick 147: Wyatt Schingoethe, C, USHL
Wyatt Schingoethe is a selection the Philadelphia Flyers should make because Nolan Patrick’s ability to play hockey at the NHL level is still unknown. It is great to see Patrick back on the ice, but the show does not stop in the front office of an NHL team. Schingoethe is a smooth-skating center with solid stickhandling. He’s a playmaker that can be on the powerplay. What needs work is his effort in getting involved on the forecheck.
If he is available this late into the 2020 NHL Draft, then he is a value pick. It would not be strange if Wyatt Schingoethe were off the board in the late-third or early-fourth round pick. In the fifth-round, the Philadelphia Flyers certainly are not losing with this selection. Schingoethe can be a serviceable NHL role-player. The Flyers have deep forward depth, which directly correlates to scoring depth.
Round 6; Pick 178: Jan Bednar, G, Czech-2
Jan Bednar is a goaltender that fits my agenda about the Philadelphia Flyers becoming a goaltender factory. The Philadelphia Flyers have starved for an elite starting goaltender for so long but have that with Carter Hart. What is the Flyers plan for a backup to Hart after Brian Elliott? Elliott has another year of quality hockey to give to Philadelphia before the Flyers should move on. Drafting Bednar to compete against Alex Lyon, Felix Sandstrom, and Kirill Ustimenko keeps Philadelphia’s options open.
In the NHL, goaltending can work as part of a trade package. Nico Daws is a goaltender that is highly touted in the 2020 NHL Draft, and Jan Bednar has a similar size. Bednar has natural raw talent but needs development. He’s played one game in 2020-2021 and secured a 95.8% save percentage.
Round 7; Pick 202: Daniel Baker, D, WHL
Daniel Baker is another tall defenseman who makes smart plays in the neutral zone. He’ll be a project within the Philadelphia Flyers system. Baker is athletic, and his confidence is on the rise in the offensive zone. The key to his development rests in defensive fundamentals. With the right coaching, Baker’s inconsistencies on the ice will level out.
Round 7; Pick 209: Jeremie Bucheler, D, BCHL
Jeremie Bucheler is who I have penned in at the final pick for the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2020 NHL Draft. Similar to Daniel Baker, Bucheler is a project player who needs development with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. He was undrafted in his first year of draft eligibility, but a head coach like Alain Vigneault may be the right person to make the game click for Bucheler. He has the size for the NHL at 6’4″ and 201lbs. His peak style in the NHL would be a sixth or seventh defenseman.
Mandatory Credit – Richard A. Whittaker/Icon Sportswire