The Philadelphia Flyers ended the 2020-21 season sixth in their division. They started out great and looked like they were playoff bound, but sadly it wasn’t meant to be this year. Looking bounce back this upcoming season, Philadelphia chose some interesting players at the draft to invest in for the future. In an unpredictable season for scouts, let’s take a look at who the Flyers thought highly of to take a chance on.
Make sure to check out all of our other NHL Draft Recaps.
Samu Tuomaala, RW, Kärpät-Liiga (Round 2, Pick 46)
Alexei Kolosov, G, Dinamo Minsk-KHL (Round 3, Pick 78)
Brian Zanetti, D, Lugano-U20-Elit (round 4, Pick 110)
Ty Murchison, D, NTDP-USHL/USDP (Round 5, Pick 158)
Ethan Samson, D, Prince George Cougars-WHL (Round 6, Pick 174)
Owen McLaughlin, C, Mount St. Charles Academy-U18 AAA (Round 7, Pick 206)
Right before the start of the draft, the Flyers traded their first-round pick to the Buffalo Sabres in a deal for Rasmus Ristolainen. That left them with six picks overall for the draft, barring any other trades. Next, they traded Jakub Voracek to the Columbus Blue Jackets for Cam Atkinson on the second day of the draft, but no draft picks were involved in that transaction. Tuomaala is looking like he’s the most likely player to make it to the ice for the Flyers. He has a decent hockey IQ, and he’s a strong skater with a good shot. However, he needs to work on his consistency and game. Kolosov will be good in net for the Flyers, though it will be a while before he graces the ice with his competitiveness and athleticism.
Philadelphia took three defensemen to help replenish their bare cupboard. Zanetti and Samson’s offensive skills are a little questionable, and there’s nothing that can’t be worked on. Murchison appears to be the most offensive-minded one out of the three. However, some are not sure how well his play will translate to the professional level. Taking McLaughlin might appear to be strange since he isn’t the quickest player, despite being able to make plays. He’s going to have the longest path to travel out of the six, but if he can improve upon what the Flyers see in him now, he might surprise everyone.
Best Pick: Samu Tuomaala
Some have described Tuomaala as a sniper, and he’s known for his shooting ability. He’s a good skater and does well in transition. Out of all of the picks for the Flyers, he has the most well-rounded offensive game. There is a lot of room to grow and improve for Tuomaala, and he was considered a first-round pick. The Flyers got him for a steal in the second round, and in a few years, he’ll be on the ice showing why they took him.
Worst Pick: Ethan Samson
Samson does well at the junior level but seeing it translate into more will take some time. There’s still a long way to go despite an upside that includes having a physical game and flashes of puck skills. He’s considered a defensive defenseman, which isn’t necessarily bad. However, adding some offensive skills to his repertoire will serve him well at higher levels of play.
Sleeper Pick: Owen McLaughlin
He’ll be playing this upcoming season for Sioux City, and for the 2022-23 season, he’s committed to Penn State. While having a long path ahead of him, if he can focus on his play and continue working on his speed, it’s possible he might be the player others have overlooked. He’ll also need to get stronger and add weight. His creativity needs to be focused on creating more offense for himself and his teammates. While it may seem an impossible task with such a young player, there’s no factoring in determination and sheer will.
The Flyers made a few moves to shore up its roster, so fans are hoping that trading their first-round pick was worth it. They came into the draft looking at what they would need for the future and did a decent job picking players they believe will help take the franchise to the next level. Most will need a bit of time to grow and refine their skills before they have a chance in the NHL. Despite leaving some good players on the table when it was their turn, any one of them could be the next high-level player the team needs.
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