NHL Draft 2012: What This Means for the Future of the Philadelphia Flyers

Kevin W. Ryan@@kevry88Contributor IIIJune 23, 2012

NHL Draft 2012: What This Means for the Future of the Philadelphia Flyers

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    Following a disappointing exit from the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs, the young and exciting Philadelphia Flyers turned to the 2012 entry draft as the first place to address immediate needs. 

    From the stoic Claude Giroux to the always entertaining Ilya Bryzgalof, the Flyers will certainly be one of the top teams in the NHL's Eastern Conference once the 2012-13 campaign begins.

    Heading into the first bit of the offseason, the Flyers front office will look to the 2012 draft and free-agency pool to add to the promising depth on Broad Street. 

    After the completion of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, here is a complete Philadelphia Flyers offseason report.

2012 Entry Draft Picks

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    While the Flyers may not have been able to land immediate help drafting 20th overall, keep in mind that Simone Gagne and Claude Giroux were both drafted higher than 20th overall not too long ago—meaning that the Flyers will probably need some patience following the draft results. 


    Round 1

    20th Overall: Center Scott Laughton, Oshawa Generals (OHL) 

    Scott Laughton will be a terrific role player for the Flyers in the near future, as his two-way ability and balanced style of play adds to the Flyers penalty kill.   

    Drafting Laughton was a bit of a shock due to Philadelphia's seemingly everlasting defensive needs.

    The Flyers have strong depth at center and perhaps shouldn't have passed on Olli Maata, a Finnish defenseman who was still available at the end of the first round.

    If the Flyers keep Laughton and add him to the third or fourth line while maximizing his ability on the penalty kill, he should have a very positive effect on the club. 

    However, keep in mind that the Flyers front office could shop Laughton for an already developed defenseman. 


    2012 NHL Draft, Day 2:

    Round      Player Drafted    Position Country      League 
       2     Anthony Stolarz     Goalie   USA      NAHL
       3 Shayne Gostisbehere Defenseman   USA      ECAC
       4     Fredrik Larsson Defenseman   SWE Sweden-Junior 
       4          Taylor Leier    Left Wing   CAN       WHL  
       5      Reece Wilcox Defenseman   CAN      BCHL
       7      Valeri Vasiliev Defenseman   RUS  Russia-Junior


Continuing to Develop Prospects

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    The Flyers have been excellent at developing prospects up to this point. 

    After trading team captain Mike Richards and leading goal scorer Jeff Carter, the Flyers were left to churn their young talent. 

    Promising play from forwards Brayden Schenn and Sean Couturier is a bit surprising, as they cannot even legally drink beer, while 26-year-old Matt Read contributed 47 points during the regular season. 

    In the 2012 playoffs, the trio combined for 18 points in the 11 Flyer postseason games. 

    While the front office will look to add depth on defense, the Flyers have an extremely impressive young core of forwards to step up in 2013. 

Trade Rumors

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    The move pondered before the trade deadline was finally concluded, as James van Reimsdyk has been traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs for defenseman Luke Schenn. 

    The Flyers front office previously expressed interest in swapping forward James van Reimsdyk perhaps in an effort to make a run at Columbus superstar Rick Nash.

    It was also speculated that JVR was dodging a trade to Columbus; however, he has confirmed that he had been "more than willing" to accept a trade to the Blue Jackets

    While Nash continues to be the hottest topic of the offseason, as the Canadian gold-medal winner has proven to be a prolific goal scorer, trading Van Reimsdyk to the Jackets would have been a surprise to Flyers fans. 

    The Flyers have already shipped Bobrovsky to the Jackets in exchange for three draft picks, so unless they added another young forward with JVR, it's not too likely that Nash will be dining on Geno's Steaks.

    However, if the Flyers can wiggle in some cap room, the free-agent market is still flooded with talent.

    Landing a Zach Parise or a Ryan Suter would be nothing short of monumental. 

Claude Giroux

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    Giroux is fresh off his most productive season of his career—one that merely hints at the budding star's potential. 

    Despite missing five games of the 2011-2012 campaign, the future Captain still managed to finish the regular season with 93 points. 

    However, once the playoffs rolled around, "G-Sus" was literally the best player in the league. 

    He finished the playoffs as the only player to be on the offensive league-leader board that was not in the Stanley Cup Finals. His 17 points overall were eclipsed only by Kopitar, Brown and Kovalchuk, who each played an incredible 13 more games than Giroux. 

    Giroux's 2012 season shines a light on his future MVP campaigns with the Flyers—talent around which the front office can truly build a Stanley Cup roster. 

Bryz Is Officially No. 1

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    Can Ilya Bryzgalof take the Flyers to the Stanley Cup Finals? 

    After trading Sergei Bobrovsky, the Flyers have made it clear to Bryzgalov that he is their No. 1 goaltender.

    As proven by the Kings and Rangers, strong goalies can power weak offenses to playoff success.

    However, in the Flyers' case, prolific scoring has to overpower weak goaltending.  

    With Chris Pronger out for the season last year, the Flyers had to turn to young, inexperienced defenseman to step up in the playoffs. In the final four games of the Flyers' 2012 Stanley Cup run, Bryzgalov and his defenseman gave up countless preventable goals and were purely outplayed by the New Jersey Devils

    Bryzgalov recently stressed the need for a defenseman via twitter, then promptly returned to posting about bears and their hockey ability. 

    While the Flyers have one of the league's strongest offensive cores, the majority of the pressure this season will be on Bryzgalov and the Flyers defense.