Why It Makes Sense for the Flyers To Trade Down from No. 21

RonnybrookCorrespondent IJune 26, 2009

MONTREAL, QC - JUNE 25:  NHL Draft top prospect Victor Hedman answers questions from the media during the NHL Top Prospects Media Luncheon June 25, 2009 at the Marriott Montreal Chateau Champlain in Montreal, Canada.  (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

There was an interesting bit from Paul Holmgren’s conversation with Ed Moran in this morning’s Philadelphia Daily News:

According to Holmgren, the Flyers will first look to move up but are more likely to move down. As of yesterday afternoon, Holmgren said he has had conversations with teams but that nothing is likely to happen before the draft actually begins.

“Other than teams asking would you have any interest in moving up or down, a lot of that happens as you get closer to your pick, or the teams you’re talking to get closer to their pick,” Holmgren said yesterday.

“The teams that are ahead of us, they probably have a certain player or two players that are no longer on the board, so they might be in a position to move back and we might be in a position to move up.

“Similar to us, as we get closer to our pick, we might say to whoever, ‘Do you have any interest in this pick for something later on?’ “

The Flyers mantra leading up to today’s NHL Entry Draft has been to select the best player on the board with their first-round selection, No. 21 overall.

Any skater drafted by the Flyers in the first round today will likely have a very long road to the NHL.

Draft a center? The Flyers have Mike Richards locked up through 2016, Daniel Briere through 2015, and Jeff Carter isn’t going anywhere when his contract expires in 2011.

Skating five minutes a night and playing between Gordie Goonchuk and Scrubby McGillicutty somehow doesn’t seem befitting of a player selected in the first round.

Draft a winger? Scott Hartnell and Joffrey Lupul are locked into expensive, long-term deals. Claude Giroux and James van Riemsdyk won’t lose their new car smell for a while, and big things are expected out of them.

There might be an opportunity to slide into a third line slot if Andreas Nodl doesn’t bounce back and show the Flyers something next season. Or if Patrick Maroon doesn’t advance any further up the depth chart. Or if the Flyers don’t sign any one of a million wingers available through trade or free agency in the off-season.

Draft a defenseman? According to Hockey’s Future, six of the organization’s top 10 prospects are blueliners: Luca Sbisa, Kevin Marshall, Ryan Parent, Michael Ratchuk Mark-Andre Bourdon, and Denis Bodrov.

There’s also Danny Syvret to deke past, who just happened to be one of the best defenseman in the AHL last year.

Draft a goalie? NOW we’re talking.

Of course, it doesn’t help that this is one of the crappiest draft classes of netminders in recent memory, to the extent that any team using their first round pick to select a goalie is certain to be laughed out of the Bell Center by 29 other General Managers.

According to Kyle Woodlief at the Red Line Report, there are some legitimate goaltending prospects in this year’s draft, safe picks in the second round and beyond.

In his report for USA Today, Woodlief sees Jean-Francois Berube, Igor Bobkov, and Oliver Roy as the best of this year’s class.

Unfortunately for Philadelphia, after their first-round selection, the Flyers do not pick until the third round (No. 81 and No. 87).

If the Flyers are willing to trade their first-round selection to a team with multiple second-round picks, it’s possible they could begin restocking their barren cupboard between the pipes as early as this year.

In this year’s entry draft, seven teams hold multiple second-round selections:

If the Flyers were to trade their first-round pick to another team for multiple second-round picks and could somehow land two of the top three ranked goaltending prospects in this year's class, Philadelphia would take a significant step toward addressing its most glaring organizational need.

With the Flyers depth at forward and a logjam of defensive prospects, it makes sense for the Flyers to trade out of the first round this year and finally consider their future between the pipes.

Even if it means passing over the best player available at No. 21.


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