After trading Ivan Provorov in a three-team deal, the Philadelphia Flyers possess two first-round draft picks in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft. The Flyers are in good hands with the seventh overall selection, but Daniel Briere will add another talent from a loaded class at 22nd overall.
Nate Danielson ranks seventh amongst North American skaters per NHL Central Scouting. He wore the ‘C’ on his sweater for the Brandon Wheat Kings in 2022-2023. In 68 games, Danielson totaled 78 points (33G, 45A) with a -12 rating. He was a top-ten forward in the WHL in terms of point production.
Danielson possesses many qualities that GMs want out of a C. Standing at 6’2″ and weighing 185lbs, his frame takes up space, complementing his reliable two-way game. Though he finds his name on the scoring sheet, Danielson takes a more conservative approach in the offensive zone.
Defense is the name of the game for Danielson. He uses his frame to battle for pucks along the boards, checking aggressively to keep players along the perimeter. In the transition to the defensive zone, Danielson disrupts passing lanes with an active stick while closing the gap on entering skaters.
On offense, Danielson has a healthy, accurate shot. He likes to wait in the left faceoff circle to uncork a dagger on the powerplay. A wrist shot finish to a one-timer describes the wheelhouse for Danielson.
He isn’t the fastest skater, but his positioning throughout various zones helps compensate. Due to his stature, Danielson isn’t the fastest skater, but he takes up space. Tage Thompson is comparable in this aspect. Danielson won’t be one to catch an opposing skater if trailing, nor will he blaze past on a breakaway, but while carrying the puck, he uses his power to drive the net.
His playmaking abilities are decent. Danielson extends possessions and helps cycle the puck with his passing. An opportunistic skater in the offensive zone, Danielson can facilitate assists or size up against a skater in the dirty areas to set a screen on a goaltender.
The aforementioned skating mechanics require improvement. Danielson has power, but adding speed will make him more effective and dynamic.
Danielson needs to get involved in the offense more often, which he can do below the hash marks. Defensive responsibilities are vital for a C in the NHL, but a lasting impact on the offense keeps Danielson from becoming one-dimensional. A focal point for Danielson is his ability to drive plays, whether that means cycling the puck in the offensive zone or entering cleanly.
Does he fit Philadelphia?
John Tortorella wants his skaters to be strong on both sides of the puck, and because of that, Danielson is a fit in Philadelphia. His large frame adds size down the middle of the ice, and his two-hundred-foot game would be greatly appreciated. He won’t be selected seventh overall, however.
The Flyers will select one of the more skillful, high-end talent forwards at seventh overall. Danielson could slide to the 22nd overall pick; then Briere will choose. The wise decision would be to select a right-handed defenseman at 22nd overall, fulfilling an organizational need with high-end skill.
(Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press via AP)