Goal Scorers Philadelphia Flyers Should Target in 2014 NHL Draft
The Philadelphia Flyers were the only team that featured seven 20-goal scorers during the 2013-14 regular season.
But despite that varied offensive attack, the Orange and Black only finished tied for ninth among all 30 NHL squads in total goals scored.
Even with a roster that features Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek, Wayne Simmonds and Vincent Lecavalier, the Flyers are on the lookout for the next pure goal scorer. And what better place to claim the NHL's next great sniper than the upcoming draft?
Here's a look at five goal scorers Philadelphia should target in the 2014 NHL draft.
Jared McCann, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (OHL)
A native of Stratford, Ontario, McCann just completed his second consecutive 20-goal campaign as a member of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League.
A season after the 6'0", 179-pound forward recorded 21 goals and 44 points in 64 games, he returned with an even more impressive 27-goal and 62-point outburst in a full campaign this year.
According to Elite Prospects, the tenacious two-way forward "has the ability to produce strong numbers due to his hands, patience, shot and sense."
Ranked 10th among all North American skaters on NHL Central Scouting's final rankings, McCann would have to slip a few spots to land in Philadelphia, but he would be an awfully strong addition to the team's group of dynamic, young centers.
Alex Tuch, U.S. National Team Development Program
After just 11 goals and 26 points in 56 games a season ago, Alex Tuch returned to the U.S. National Team Development Program (USNTDP) this year with a vengeance, nearly tripling both his goals and points.
In just five additional games in 2013-14, the Baldwinsville, New York, native registered 29 goals and 64 points, finishing third among all skaters on the USNTDP's under-18 roster. What's more, the 6'3", 213-pound power forward finished tied for the team lead with seven game-winning goals and was tied for second on the roster with eight power-play conversions.
According to Elite Prospects, he "is a big power winger who skates well with strong balance and uses his frame to protect the puck and physically support his linemates."
Committed to Boston College, he was ranked 12th overall among North American skaters in NHL Central Scouting's final rankings. He projects as a mid-first-round selection, which could work perfectly for the Flyers with the 17th pick overall.
Dylan Larkin, U.S. National Team Development Program
Only two players on the USNTDP's under-18 roster finished with more goals than Tuch. One of those was Dylan Larkin.
After finishing last season with just 13 goals and 27 points, the 6'1", 190-pound forward responded with 31 conversions and 56 total points in 60 games this year. His 31 goals were good for second on the squad, while his 56 points were fourth overall.
According to Elite Prospects, Larkin's "ability to take the puck hard to the net allows for unique scoring chances most players would not be able to get because of a lack of size and strength."
The Flyers love big forwards who like to power their way to the front of the opposition's goal. As such, Larkin would be a perfect fit in the City of Brotherly Love. Committed to the University of Michigan, he was ranked 17th overall among North American skaters in NHL Central Scouting's final rankings.
Joshua Ho-Sang, Windsor Spitfires (OHL)
Ho-Sang is without question one of the most dynamic players in this year's draft.
At 5'11", 175 pounds, he's a bit undersized, but what he lacks in physical stature he more than makes up for with impressive skating and incredible hands.
In two seasons with the Windsor Spitfires, he recorded 46 goals and 129 points in 130 games, including a team-leading 32 tallies and 85 points this year.
According to Elite Prospects, he's "a crafty player that has the excitement factor in his favor...and often turns heads with his ability to handle the puck with ease in the offensive zone."
Despite a plus-26 rating this season, Ho-Sang still needs to work on his defensive game and is sometimes guilty of trying to do too much on his own. But his dynamic offensive abilities simply can't be denied.
Ho-Sang was ranked 22nd overall among North American skaters in NHL Central Scouting's final rankings.
Nikolay Goldobin, Sarnia Sting (OHL)
Goldobin is a pure finisher.
In two seasons with the Sarnia Sting, the 6'0", 178-pound winger amassed 68 goals and 162 points in just 135 games. After finishing second among all Sarnia skaters in goals and third in total points a year ago, the Russian forward paced all Sting players in both departments this season. What's more, he just completed his second straight 30-goal campaign in the OHL.
According to Elite Prospects, he "is a dangerous shooter with a wicked release on his wrist shot. He is quick and creative and can make defenders look foolish."
Surprisingly, the Flyers have never drafted a Russian-born player in the first round in the team's 47-year history. Ranked 24th among all North American skaters on NHL Central Scouting's final rankings, Goldobin could change all of that.