Biggest Takeaways from Philadelphia Flyers' 2013 Draft

Dan FremuthContributor IIIJuly 2, 2013

Biggest Takeaways from Philadelphia Flyers' 2013 Draft

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    A total of 211 players were selected in Sunday's NHL draft.

    And of those 211 NHL hopefuls, six were tabbed by the Philadelphia Flyers as part of the team's quest to return to a perennial playoff contender.

    It's unlikely any of those six selections will have an immediate impact on the Orange and Black, but those six picks do say quite a bit about where this team's focus is both now and in the future.

    Here are the biggest takeaways from the Flyers' 2013 draft.

Defense Was a Priority

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    What had previously been a secondary option on draft day for Philadelphia quickly became a priority for the Flyers on Sunday.

    A dearth of difference-makers on the blue line coupled with a lack of overall defensive depth was the greatest weakness for the Orange and Black a season ago. The club clearly wanted to address that in this year's draft.

    Philadelphia used four of its six selections on defensemen, including the team's first- and second-round picks. It marked the first time since 2008 that the Flyers had used their first two selections on blueliners and the first time since 1980 that the club spent both its first- and second-round picks on defenders.

    And Philadelphia went after all types of defensemen.

    With the 11th overall selection, the Flyers grabbed the hulking, 6'6", 200-pound, Chris Pronger-idolizing Samuel Morin. The product of Rimouski Oceanic is big, mean, nasty and has the frame to be a bruising shutdown defenseman in the NHL for many years to come.

    The club then swung toward the offensive side of things on the back end with the 41st overall pick when the Orange and Black claimed Swedish defender Robert Hagg. In 28 games with Modo's under-20 team last year, Haag recorded 11 goals and 24 points while serving as the team's captain.

    Philly rounded out its defensive approach in the draft with 6'1", 185-pound blueliner Terrance Amorosa with the 132nd selection followed by 6'3", 155-pound defenseman David Drake with the 192nd pick.

    It seems unlikely any of these selections will help the Flyers immediately, but it absolutely shows the team's understanding of its critical lack of defensive depth overall.

Draft Picks Were Too Valuable to Trade

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    In the end, Sunday wasn't nearly as filled with blockbuster transactions as the predraft speculation led us all to believe.

    Still, there were deals to be had, but surprisingly, the traditionally active Flyers weren't overly involved.

    Clearly, draft picks in general, but particularly the club's 11th overall selection, were simply too valuable to surrender in any draft-day swap.

    In the days leading up to the draft, Philadelphia had been linked to trade rumors surrounding Anaheim's Bobby Ryan. The Ducks' forward has long been on the Flyers' radar, but the asking price to pull off such a transaction would surely have involved Philly's first-round pick in Sunday's draft. The Flyers simply weren't willing to pay that price.

    Then, on draft day itself, the New Jersey Devils claimed goaltender Cory Schneider from the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for their opening-round selection—a pick just two spots ahead of the Flyers.

    Philadelphia's goaltending issues are well documented, and it seems hard to believe the Flyers couldn't have pried Schneider away from the Canucks with a package comprised of the team's first-round pick coupled with an NHL-ready player.

    But those conversations appear to have never taken place because Philadelphia and its team of scouts felt this draft was simply too deep and too talented to part with any of its picks.

    Only time will tell if that was the right decision.

The Flyers Trust Their Young Forwards

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    With Philadelphia focused on acquiring defensemen on draft day, it meant the Flyers garnered just one forward with their six selections on Sunday.

    In Round 3, with the 72nd overall pick, the Orange and Black tabbed 5'10", 185-pound left winger Tyrell Goulbourne.

    A veteran of the Kelowna Rockets of the Western Hockey League, Goulbourne is projected as a bruising, physical third-line pest. With 244 penalty minutes in 127 games over the past two seasons, the Edmonton, Alberta native is viewed as a younger version of Zac Rinaldo.

    And while Goulbourne could evolve into a depth forward, he's certainly not slated to be a difference-maker down the road.

    There was plenty of forward depth and talent available in this year's draft class, but the Flyers opted to go the defensive route based not solely on need but because Philadelphia trusts its young up-and-coming forward corps.

    Captain Claude Giroux is just 25. Blossoming power forward Wayne Simmonds is 24. Emerging dynamic offensive star Jake Voracek is only 23.

    Meanwhile, youngsters Brayden Schenn and Sean Couturier are just 21 and 20 years old, respectively.

    Philly may not have much in the cupboard on defense, but the Orange and Black appear to have a forward unit that could guide this team for many years to come.