Briere nabbed a prospect with better value than their draft position twice in the first round of the 2023 NHL Entry Draft. First, Matvei Michkov. Then, Bonk, who was the 20th-ranked North American prospect, landed with the Flyers.
“I’ve never been to Philadelphia, actually. It’s going to be a cool going there for the first time. The Flyers, I know they work extremely hard. They got their workboots on. Definitely a good team to go to.”Oliver Bonk; 6/29/2023
Bonk fits the kind of defenseman the Flyers needed to add to their unit. He is a right-handed shot, confident with the puck, and makes crisp passes in transition to the offensive zone. Bonk is sound with the puck but prioritizes defense first. He is proficient with the puck, but his skating, defensive positioning, and active stick make him stand out.
Radek Bonk influenced his game. You know the adage, ‘like father, like son.’ His father played 14 seasons in the NHL, spending a decade with the Ottawa Senators. Crediting his father, Oliver had this to say after being drafted by the Flyers:
“He’s [Radek Bonk] had a huge influence. I’m here because of him; thanks to him. He coached me all the way, growing up. A lot of life lessons from him. He had a big effect on me.”Oliver Bonk; 6/29/2023
Keith Jones supports the prioritization of the Flyers’ defense. Briere and Jones investing in Bonk is a commitment to aiding goaltending with hard, shutdown defense. Agreeing to this entry-level contract puts Bonk in a timeline with Cam York, Yegor Zamula, Adam Ginning, Ronnie Attard, and Emil Andrae.
Coming to the entry-level contract terms with Bonk terminates the risk of losing his signing rights. The Flyers are well ahead of schedule.
Standing at 6’2″ and 180lbs, Bonk will fill out his frame but already has the size to win puck battles along the boards. He thrived on the penalty kill in the OHL. A two-way defenseman, John Tortorella could learn to rely on a workhorse skater like Bonk to handle heavy minutes. Last season, Tortorella strived for his lineup to grind opponents into the later periods. Once Bonk establishes a role on the Flyers roster in 2025-2026, he could take a spot in the top four.
(AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)