Why first-round pick Tyson Foerster is a perfect fit for the Flyers

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The Flyers made big waves last night in selecting 18-year-old Tyson Foerster with the 23rd overall pick. Here’s everything you need to know about the young center.

The player

Tyson Foerster spent his time in the OHL with the Barrie Colts where he was predominantly used as a center. He tallied a whopping 80 total points (36 goals, and dished 44 assists) across 62 games. If this doesn’t highlight just how lethal he’s going to be in front of the net with some more development, I don’t know what will.

If there’s one thing that stands out in his game, it’s his ridiculous shooting. Clearly the strongest tool in his box, there aren’t many prospects who enter the Draft with such a deadly one-timer. The force he’s able to let it rip with is almost scary.

Not only that, but he’s a high-percentage passer and works best when threading the needle into the slot. While his shot is his strongest asset, it often means that defenders are quick to close on him, opening up passing lanes that the 6’2, 194 lbs, center is more than happy to take advantage of. He remains a ‘shoot-first’ player, but having a clinical passing trait in your back pocket is never a bad thing.

His skating remains a concern. He’s very much a one-speed skater as of right now, which is a problem on exits, breakaways, recoveries, and just about everything else. If there’s one thing the Flyers could’ve really benefitted from, it’s speed and there is a severe lack of it here. However, it’s something he’s already working on in preparation for the leap up to the NHL.

“Actually I’ve been working on that a lot the past six months.” Foerster said after being drafted. “I feel like it’s improved a lot. I feel like I’m that much closer to the next level and playing with the Flyers.”

Modeling his game after T.J Oshie, Tyson Foerster looks set to build on his weaknesses and develop into a more well-rounded player.

“I like that he’s a complete player. He does it everywhere. He plays penalty kill. He does power play. He does last minute. He does everything really. I try to model my game after him and try to do the same stuff he does. He’s had a hell of a career and I want to do the same.”

How he fits the Flyers

The shooting is one thing, but the prowess on special teams really stands out here. The Flyers lacked any kind of production when playing with a man-advantage last season and the early signs are that Foerster could develop into a huge special teams asset. 18 of his 36 goals last year came on the power play, which is a massive testament to how damaging that shot can be when there’s more space to work with.

The Philadelphia Flyers are yet to make an offer to unrestricted free agent centers Tyler Pitlick, Derek Grant, or Nate Thompson. It’s likely that at least one comes back, but with Nolan Patrick sent a qualifying offer and Morgan Frost developing at the speed fo sound, it may be that the team have high hopes for a trio of young centers breaking into the bottom six this season.

What the brass says

Chuck Fletcher spoke glowingly of his first-round selection after making the pick. Here are his thoughts on what Tyson Foerster brings to the table:

Tyson obviously has a lot of offensive gifts. He can shoot the puck tremendously well. Goal scorer. Playmaker. Great hockey sense. Really good size. He’s got a lot of attributes. Dale pushed him. Working on his skating. Working on his play away from the puck, which is not unusual for a junior player. I think the good thing about Tyson was very good with self-awareness, of his strengths and the areas that he needs to improve. He’s worked very hard on those areas during the pause. We expect he’ll continue to develop into a pretty good player.

I would say there’s probably many more organizations than just the Flyers, whose fan bases are clamoring for another shooter or another goal scorer. Certainly Tyson fits the bill. He’s got a lethal one-timer. He sets up on the left side there, the big right shot, and he hammers it. He gets a lot on it. He overpowers goaltenders. He also has quick hands. He makes plays around the net. I think he sees the ice really well. He’s a pretty complete offensive player. I think in his own words, he would tell you he does have a shoot-first mentality, which certainly didn’t upset me. It certainly does take time. We’re going to have to work hard with Tyson and Tyson is going to have work hard on his game to make sure he gets to the NHL. This guy, he has a pretty good all-around skill set offensively. For that time in the draft, we were pretty pleased to select him.