While Flyers GM Paul Holmgren spent Saturday in Los Angeles discussing potential moves with his peers, a group of young players sat waiting to hear their name called as the newest pick in the draft. Holmgren announced the names of six of those NHL hopefuls as the Flyers looked to strengthen their prospect pool in the future.
With their first pick, coming second to last in the third round, at 89th overall, the Flyers selected Michael Chaput.
After speaking with nearly a dozen teams, Chaput had high hopes coming into day two of the draft. Strangely, one of the teams he never met with was the one to take him.
Choosing to fashion his game after the Canucks’ Alex Burrows, the QMJHL (Quebec Major Junior Hockey League) rookie center says he brings a high energy level, occasionally chipping in with goals. At the NHL level, his production of 65 points in 97 games would be sure to drop, reducing him to a third line grinder. Fortunately, he recognizes this and still has his sights set on making the NHL roster within the next 3 to 4 years.
The next round, at 119th overall, the Flyers selected Tye McGinn.
Playing left wing for the Gatineau Olympiques of the QMJHL, the 6’2″, 19 year old McGinn posted 62 points in 50 games.
In the fourth round, the Flyers 149th overall pick was Michael Parks.
Smaller in stature than the previous selection, coming in at only 5’10”, Parks plays right wing for Cedar Rapids of the United States Hockey League (USHL), the premier junior hockey league in the United States. In 51 games with the team during his rookie season, Parks managed 22 points, split evenly between goals and assists.
During the 5th round, 179th overall, Holmgren announced an interesting pick to say the least. That pick was the son of Flyers president Peter Lukko, Nick Lukko.
Despite Peter’s wishes for his son not to be drafted by the Flyers and be faced with criticism and pressure over being the president’s son, Holmgren and his colleagues made the decision nonetheless. After graduating from a Connecticut prep school this year, Lukko will be entering the USHL to continue his development. Lukko was the first defenseman drafted by the Flyers.
After a quiet day free of moves, Paul Holmgren pulled the trigger on a trade to send Phantom’s center Jonathan Matsumoto, buried under a long list of centers in the Flyers organization, to the Carolina Hurricanes for their 7th round pick.
Using their 206th overall selection, the Flyers GM chose Ricard Blidstrand.
Their second defender in as many picks, the Flyers chose Blidstrand, a solid D man playing with the AIK club in the Swedish Juniors. He’s known to play a physical game and couple it with a mean point shot. Should he mature and come into his own, Blidstrand can become an effective force in the NHL in time.
At 209th overall, with the second to last pick of the day, the Flyers selected Brendan Ranford.
At only 5’9″, 182 pounds, the 18 year old Alberta native is well undersized for the much larger, much more competitive NHL. Playing in the Western Hockey League (WHL), Ranford notched 65 points over the course of a long 72 game season. With training and time to mature, Ranford could make a run at the NHL in a few years. But we’ll just have to wait and see.
With those players now under the wing of the Flyers organization, they will hopefully be guided and pushed down the path of NHL success. Right now, it’s impossible to say who will make it from these later round picks and who will toil away in the minor leagues before calling it quits.
For now, the Flyers continue to try to strengthen themselves both on the defensive end and in the goal crease. Mark your calendars for July 1stand the free agency frenzy that ensues, because any number of moves could take place and change the direction of this team.