In the eye of many hockey fans out there, the Philadelphia Flyers are quite unfortunate to hold two first round picks at the upcoming National Hockey League Entry draft. And they are: the Flyers have two picks in the top 20 for the first time in 40 years. It is the first time since 1978 that the Flyers can count on two early selections; back then, they had picked defenseman Behn Wilson and center Ken Linseman with back-to-back picks in the top 10.
While the upcoming draft is full of young promising prospects, John Boruk of NBC Sports Philadelphia speculates Philadelphia Flyers GM Ron Hextall could attempt to move up in the first round of the 2018 NHL Draft order.
“We’ve seen enough players where it’s a good draft and we’re going to get a couple of good players if we make those picks,” Hextall said last week. “In terms of options, yeah, it gives you more options. If you want to move up, I would envision the chance to move up.”
We can all remember last summer when Hextall “engineered the Brayden Schenn deal with St. Louis, which netted the Flyers a pair of first-round picks — the 27th overall selection in 2017 that was used to select Morgan Frost, who finished second in the OHL with 112 points in 67 games.” He hence managed to load up on picks, as he also jumped up nine spots in the second round to snag big scoring winger Isaac Ratcliffe, which gave the Flyers three picks in the top 35 of last year’s draft.
The Flyers have loaded up on great prospects, so it may be time for a blockbuster trade on June 22.
“We have a good depth chart right now,” Hextall said. “Would I like it to be a little better? Yeah, I would. Get a little greedy, I guess.”
A potential approach for Hextall and Flyers management is to use one of those first-round selections to potentially acquire an established player from another team. For example, the Chicago Blackhawks, Los Angeles Kings and Minnesota Wild all have to deal with limited salary-cap space and are looking to get a younger roster and shed a contract.
“We’ll look at everything with those picks," Hextall added. "I’m not saying we move them or move up. I don’t know. I don’t know what’s going to come our way. You sit here and you might want this or that. Someone else is going to want the same things you want.”