It was almost too easy to forget that in the midst of a headline-filled weekend, the Philadelphia Flyers were partaking in the annual NHL Draft. After trading their first-round pick in a controversial move to acquire Rasmus Ristolainen, Chuck Fletcher swapped Jake Voracek for Cam Atkinson just one day later, giving fans plenty to talk about while the first round slowly passed them by. When all was said and done, the Flyers selected six players. Here’s all you need to know.
Samu Tuomaala – Round 2, pick 46
Drafted with the 46th overall pick, Tuomaala is an 18-year-old RW who spent most of 2020 on Kärpät’s U20 team, where he put up 15 goals and 16 assists in 30 games. He played 5 games in the Finnish Elite League and will likely see more opportunities in the highest-ranking men’s league this season after a strong year with the U-20’s.
He’s a pacy player who has some electrifying skating ability, but what he lacks is the creativity and intuition to make things happen for his teammates on a consistent basis, often relying on that sheer pace to get him through trouble and into an open shot, where he can demonstrate a strong wrister. That will need to be improved before he makes the NHL jump, but with a potential full season in the men’s league, that growth can be expedited.
“Obviously very excited getting him. He was rated as a first round talent. We were able to get him in the middle of the second round, so we’re really excited about that. To us, he has elite speed and high skill. Very good shot. High-offensive upside. There’s things he’s got to work on like his overall game and obviously getting stronger. We’re really excited. We see a lot of upside there.” – Flyers Scout Joakim Grundberg
Alexei Kolosov – Round 3, pick 78
The Flyers needed to get some insurance at the goaltender position and didn’t waste any time in acquiring it. Kolosov comes out of Dynamo Minsk in the KHL where he played nine games last season, going 3-5-1 and putting up a 1.69 GAA, .911 SV%, and a shootout win. These were the best numbers of any of the four Minsk goalies.
The 6’1, 185 lbs, goaltender also spent time playing in the Belarusian men’s league, where he allowed 2.23 goals per game in 2020, and averaged a .910 save percentage in his 12 appearances.
He also helped Belarus to a bronze medial at the World Junior Championship – Division 1A, and became the second ever Belarusian goalie to be drafted into the NHL. The first? That’s fellow Flyers teammate Kirill Ustimenko, who was a third-round pick of the Flyers in 2017 (80th overall).
“He had an opportunity to play a lot in the KHL as a young goalie, which is a rarity. Not only play, but play well, while seeing a lot of shots in tough situations. He’s a talented guy, very athletic, and our goalie guys are confident they can mold him into an NHL goalie.” – Flyers Assistant General Manager Brent Flahr
Brian Zanetti – Round 4, pick 110
The 6-2, 176 lbs, defenseman spent his 2020 campaign playing for Lugano in the Swiss Under-20 league. He recorded 9 goals and 20 assists in 41 games before going on to represent Switzerland in the under-18 World Junior Championship, recording an assist through 5 appearances. In the season prior, he recorded a further 27 points in 38 appearances.
“Raw kid. We see him down the road as a D-man with size and mobility. Can be a good defender and help you with the puck.” – Flyers Scout Joakim Grundberg
Ty Murchison – Round 5, pick 158
The first prospect drafted by the Flyers this year who played in the USHL, Murchison put up 5 points (3g, 2a) through 23 appearances against USHL teams. He also scored 15 points (7g, 8a) in 48 games for the U.S National Development Under-18 Team. He will be attending Arizona State University later this year.
Murchison, (6’2, 192 lbs), projects as a strong and physical skater who right now relies a little too much on that skillset to make plays. In the offensive zone, he won’t be blowing up stat sheets anytime soon, but if he can keep building on rounding out his game, could become a valuable asset who can bring the punch to the party.
“Ty is a good-sized defender. Played two years at the NTDP in Plymouth. Good-size. Good range. Moves real well. Plays with some aggression. That’s something that we really like. Something that we think he has a future in our organization with those attributes.” – Flyers Scout Nick Pryor
Ethan Samson – Round 6, pick 174
Another defenseman, this time coming out of the WHL, Samson will also be attending Arizona State this year after posting 12 points (11 assists) in 22 appearances in the shortened WHL season. In 2019-20, he produced 2 goals and 5 assists.
Louded for his work-ethic on the top-pairing at Prince George, and his shot creation, Samson isn’t the smoothest skater and this limits his range defensively, but he flashes some occasional glimpses of NHL creativity which should at least give the Flyers reason for optimism.
“Couple things that come to mind right away is that he’s got good size. He’s close to 6’2” and his frame’s going to still fill out as he’s an August birthday. He’s got some room to develop. Right-hand shot and for a D-man it’s always an asset as we find them harder to find. I think he’s got a lot of development left. He’s going to play on a good team in PG and for a good coach. He’s got upside.” – Flyers Scout Mark Greig
Owen McLaughlin – Round 7, pick 206
The 6’0, 160 lbs, center out of Phoenixville spent some time with the USNDT this past year, playing 7 games alongside fellow Flyers draftee Ty Murchison. Outside of that, he played for Mount St. Charles, posting 54 points in 33 games, 38 of which being assists. Next year, he plans to play for Penn State university and Sioux City in the USHL.
He’s a talented kid at the high school level. Obviously he’s going to have a little bit longer path. But a highly skilled kid at that level, going to have to put on some weight and get stronger. He’s going to a good place obviously close by here, and we’re excited to see where he can get to. – Flyers Assistant General Manager Brent Flahr
Photo Credit: Alex McIntyre