Philadelphia Flyers 2012 Draft: Analyzing Six Top Prospects for the Flyers
So far, offseason rumors have been in full force surrounding the Flyers and GM Paul Holmgren. They will reportedly pursue Zach Parise and Ryan Suter, while the fates of Jaromir Jagr, Matt Carle, James van Riemsdyk and Chris Pronger all lay in the balance.
There are many different ways the offseason will go depending on who gets signed, released and traded, so it is difficult to predict exactly who the Flyers will target in the upcoming draft.
I think the most likely pick is a defenseman, but they could very well go after a power forward, and I'm not ruling out them taking a goalie either. Here's an in-depth look at six prospects that should be on the Flyers' radar in the first round.
Slater Koekkoek, D
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Koekkoek is an extremely solid all-around defenseman who could eventually be a top-line player if he stays healthy. The biggest knock on Koekkoek is that he missed 40 games last season due to a shoulder injury.
The Peterborough Petes star is 6'2" and 184 lbs and skates very well. He uses his big frame well in front of the net but also handles the puck well and could be a power-play quarterback in the NHL.
His big upside will entice teams to take him in the first round even with the concern about his shoulder. His coach has compared him to Shea Weber and Drew Doughty, so that in itself would have Flyers fans excited about this young defenseman.
Tom Wilson, F
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Wilson is a power forward who already boasts an NHL body. The Toronto native stands at 6'4" and 205 lbs and has an intimidating presence on the ice.
Last season, playing for the Plymouth Whalers of the OHL, Wilson registered 27 points in 49 games while leading the team with 141 penalty minutes and is the 15th ranked North American skater by Central Scouting.
At only 18 years old, Wilson will need at least a season or two to improve his offensive game, but he could definitely mature into a second-line power forward in the mold of Milan Lucic.
Matt Finn, D
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Finn is a little small at 6'0" and 185 lbs, but if he had a couple years to learn from another undersized guy like Kimmo Timonen, the sky is the limit for Finn. In 60 games last year in the OHL, he registered 47 points, an impressive total for a defenseman.
Finn was ranked as the 16th-best North American skater in the draft by Central Scouting, and he is a terrific two-way defenseman.
He has a very high hockey IQ and is a very good leader, winning a gold medal in the 2011 U17 World Hockey Challenge. He could quarterback the power play in a few years, which the Flyers will definitely need once Timonen retires.
Malcolm Subban, G
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The brother of Montreal Canadiens star P.K., Malcolm Subban is the top-rated North American goalie by Central Scouting. He plays for the Belleville Bulls of the OHL.
Malcolm is athletic and big, and he only started playing goalie when he was 12 years old, so the word "upside" is used in every scouting report you can find on him. But Malcolm is more than just a project, he has proven in the OHL that he can make an impact and be solid right now.
Another goalie that some scouts have ranked ahead of Subban is Andrei Vasilevsky. The 17-year-old Russian is very talented and would have an easier transition to America learning from fellow Russian Ilya Bryzgalov.
Hampus Lindholm, D
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Lindholm, the fourth-ranked European skater by Central Scouting, is an intriguing two-way defenseman. He has good size at 6'2" and 196 lbs, and he skates very well.
Lindholm has drawn comparisons to the Red Wings' Niklas Kronwall for his defensive style of play. He can lay down some big hits but also joins the offensive rush well. Lindholm is lauded for his passing, which Mckeen's Hockey described as "quick, accurate...NHL elite."
The Swede may be ready for the NHL this upcoming season and could eventually develop into a top blueliner for the Flyers.
Brendan Gaunce, C
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Over at SB Nation, Broad Street Hockey selected Gaunce with the 20th overall pick for the Flyers, and for good reason. Gaunce, who plays with Malcolm Subban on the Belleville Bulls, is a big, skilled forward who could make an impact in the NHL soon.
Gaunce led the Bulls in goals, assists and points this past season. The 18-year-old stands at 6'2" and 206 lbs, and he uses his big body well along the boards and in front of the net.
He is the 13th-ranked North American skater by Central Scouting, possessing a big shot and hard-nosed attitude. Though he does not skate particularly well, he is also a viable penalty-killer.