If you’ve kept up with the four targets for each of the first three rounds, you know the Philadelphia Flyers have many defensive options in a deep draft class.
Now, onto the fourth round. Here, the focus settles into the bottom-six forward depth. Alain Vigneault should consider making a fourth-round decision based on position versatility and forechecking. Those qualities make sense due to Vigneault’s requirement of a two-hundred-foot game.
Through three rounds, the Flyers have flexibility. They could trade the first-round pick, then make up for it in the next two rounds with a good forward and defenseman selection. Or, if Philadelphia doesn’t send the thirteenth overall in a package, Mason McTavish could be there. The popular opinion is to trade the first-round option with a player and a prospect for an RD1. The defense needs work, and the Flyers could retool through this draft.
Later in the draft, as positions become less valuable, Philadelphia needs to entertain other interests. Following the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft, an RD1 and a G2 won’t be the only holes in the lineup. Chuck Fletcher should have a plan for overall forward depth.
Here are the first three rounds (1, 2, 3) of draft targets. The following require attention in the fourth round:
Standing in at 6’3″ and 209lbs from HC Prerov, Martin Rysavy is shifty and creative with the puck while physical on the forecheck.
He spent the majority of his 2020-2021 season with HC Prerov, playing nineteen games. During that span, he accounted for nine points (3G, 6A) and a minus-one rating.
What Chuck Fletcher should like about Rysavy is his ability to play any forward position. Primarily a left-winger, he can also occupy the center and opposite wing. That’s great for the bottom-six in the Philadelphia Flyers lineup. If he can play with more discipline than Nicolas Aube-Kubel, but provide the same energy, it is not foolish to believe Rysavy could find his way onto the fourth line.
In all likelihood, Rysavy will make his home with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. The exception to that rule is if Alain Vigneault believes he can serve a role on the fourth line. Following a season where seven forwards didn’t contribute a point in lineup reshufflings, Rysavy could find his way.
Ethan Del Mastro
Standing in at 6’4″ and 205lbs from the Mississauga Steelheads, Ethan Del Mastro is a physical left-handed defenseman who activates offensive transitions.
While he is a guide in transition with possession, his physicality is his greatest strength. Already, Alain Vigneault should be in Chuck Fletcher’s ear about adding a physical defenseman to the left side in this draft. The only true defensive defenseman on the left side is Robert Hagg, who has been criminally underused.
Due to the OHL not having a 2020-2021 season, Del Mastro played with the Canada U18 team during the World Juniors. Through seven games, he tallied two assists and a plus-seven rating. Del Mastro contributed towards a gold medal performance from the Canada U18 team at the World Juniors. We would have to go back to 2019-2020 to understand how he recently performed in the OHL. Two seasons ago, Del Mastro played in 57 games, amassing seven assists and a minus-six rating.
Fletcher was crucial about the defensive makeup of the Philadelphia Flyers, especially after Erik Gustafsson. Del Mastro could be a gem considering his size and physicality on the left side.
Standing in at 5’10” and 150lbs from the Edmonton Oil Kings, Jalen Luypen is one of my favorite stories ahead of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft.
He was considered a long shot to perform at a high level in the WHL. Since he joined the Oil Kings at 16-years-old, he’s only drastically improved. Be honest with me. His size triggered you:
“We don’t need these small forwards! We need size!”
In 2020-2021, he played 23 games while notching 29 points (16G, 13A) and a plus-fifteen rating. Luypen, the longshot, is averaged more than a point per game!
Unless David Kase, Matthew Strome, Isaac Ratcliffe, or Max Willman start separating from the pack, the Philadelphia Flyers have next to no impactful depth at left wing. Carsen Twarynski is an RFA this season. He’ll likely receive a qualifying offer but is expendable. There’s nothing to lose by drafting Luypen in the fourth round. The scoring potential with Luypen is arguably higher than Martin Rysavy’s.
Standing in at 6′ and 181lbs from the Calgary Hitmen, Sean Tschigerl is another left-wing target in the fourth round, finding a happy medium between Martin Rysavy and Jalen Luypen.
This season with the Hitmen, Tschigerl played 21 games, scoring the same amount (13G, 8A.) His point per game approach is valuable, but should he command more attention than Luypen, who scored more than a point per game?
Heading into the WHL, Tschigerl, and Luypen were opposites. Tschigerl was the sixth-ranked prospect heading into his WHL draft class. Remember, Luypen was considered a long shot to make it in the WHL. As they both ready for the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, on paper, Luypen may edge Tschigerl.
What is more crucial to Chuck Fletcher and Alain Vigneault at left-wing? If James van Riemsdyk is traded or selected by the Seattle Kraken, scoring becomes the primary focus. That opens a lane for Fletcher to draft Luypen in the fourth round. However, if no changes are made at the left-wing ahead of 2021-2022, Vigneault may prefer Tschigerl because of his tenacious two-way delivery. Tschigerl may be the most well-rounded left-wing target for the Philadelphia Flyers in the fourth round.
Photo Credit: Alex Mcintyre