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5 Prospects Philadelphia Flyers Should Have Their Eye on in 2014 Draft Class

Garrett BakerSenior Analyst IDecember 16, 2013

5 Prospects Philadelphia Flyers Should Have Their Eye on in 2014 Draft Class

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    Len Redkoles/Getty Images

    The Philadelphia Flyers blew another victory Sunday night. At their current pace, they'll be out of the playoffs and looking at a mid-round pick in the 2014 NHL draft.

    The 10-15 range in the draft isn't always that exciting, but there are still real quality prospects there. 

    Next year's NHL draft will be interesting because there will only be three defensemen ranked in the first half of the round, which is certainly the Flyers' biggest need at this point.

    I consulted rankings from Copper & Blue, which compiled a consensus rank based on a bunch of different analysts' lists.

    The Flyers will also be looking for wingers who can create offense. It shouldn't be a surprise to any fan that there are three defensemen and no centers on this list. 

    Here then are five prospects the Flyers should have their eye on in the 2014 NHL draft.

     

     

Haydn Fleury, D, Reed Deer (WHL)

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    Haydn Fleury is the second-ranked defenseman in next year's draft class and brings a lot to the table as a two-way defenseman.

    At 6'3", 203 pounds, he's a thick kid, but he's a really tremendous skater as well who has scored 22 points in 33 games this year for Red Deer.

    The biggest thing I look at for defensemen is their skating ability, and Fleury is a skater who is good enough to start in the NHL next season.

Anton Karlsson, RW/LW, Frolunda U20 (SHL)

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    Anton Karlsson, a left-handed winger who plays for Frolunda's U-20 team in the Swedish Hockey League (formerly Elitserien), is one of the fastest-rising prospects for 2014.

    He's solidly built at 6'2", 194 pounds and is a hard worker and solid forechecker who has racked up the points this season, scoring 18 points in 22 games.

    Karlsson is also a tremendous leader. He captained Sweden to a gold medal at the 2013 Under-17 World Hockey Championships and was an assistant captain at the 2013 IIHF World Under-18 Championships in Sochi, Russia.

Aaron Ekblad, D, Barrie (OHL)

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    He may be the second overall prospect in this class, but we can always dream, right? The Flyers are prone to making big moves, and with the draft being in Philadelphia, I'm sure Paul Holmgren would love to make a splash.

    What a splash Aaron Ekblad would be.

    He plays like a man among boys—it's hard to believe he's only 17 years old—and was only the second player ever to be granted "exceptional status" to play at 15 years old in the OHL.

    He's big, physical, and does pretty much everything well. The Flyers would have to move up to get him, but if they end up with a top-10 pick, it would be enticing.

Josh Ho-Sang, RW/C, Winsdor (OHL)

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    The Flyers have plenty of big, aggressive two-way forwards with younger guys like Tye McGinn and Scott Laughton who fit that mold.

    But they could use young, dynamic offensive talents. Enter Josh Ho-Sang, who has the potential to be a major riser in the next few months due to his exceptional skill.

    He's only 5'11", but he's a great skater and puck-handler who has 35 points in 30 games this season with Windsor.

Roland McKeown, D, Kingston (OHL)

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    This is a pretty weak draft for defenseman. After Roland McKeown, ranked No. 12 overall, Brycen Martin is the next-highest-ranked blueliner at 20.

    McKeown, like Fleury, is another great skater, although he's a good bit smaller and more of a finesse player. He has improved a lot since last season, however, and is near the top of the OHL in plus/minus at plus-21.

    McKeown has 20 points in 32 games and is a really smart player who passes well and will be able to handle the speed of play in the NHL pretty quickly.

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