Philadelphia Flyers: When Each Draft Pick Will Crack the Flyers' Roster
Following the stunning trades of Jeff Carter and Mike Richards, the team's supporters looked to general manager Paul Holmgren to pick wisely in the draft, especially with regards to the eighth overall selection, acquired from the Columbus Blue Jackets for Carter.
While none of the Flyers six picks will make a mark this season, here are my estimates for when you can expect to see each of them crack the roster.
Sean Couturier, C, Drummondville Voltigeurs
With the eighth selection in the entire draft, the Flyers selected Couturier, whom most people expected to be taken well before Philadelphia would have a chance to select him.
Coming off a season in which he posted 96 points in 58 games, the physically impressive Couturier (6'3", 198 pounds) joins a deep Flyers team in all aspects and will one day be expected to fill the roles left by Jeff Carter and Mike Richards.
Couturier is perhaps the most impressive two-way player in the draft and on many teams would be able to make the opening day lineup immediately.
On the Flyers, however, he will not.
After one more year in juniors, expect Couturier to be signed by the Flyers and make the opening night roster in 2012-2013.
Nick Cousins, C, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
Cousins, who at just 17 years old scored 68 points in 68 games last season, is still very much a work in progress.
He is known as a very scrappy player, which considering his size (5'10", 168 pounds) is a very good thing to hear. If he continues to augment his scoring touch and puts on a few pounds, he could be a very effective player in the NHL.
The Flyers will likely give him a few years to develop in the OHL and AHL, so I would expect Cousins to crack the Flyers roster as full time in 2014-2015.
I wouldn't be surprised if he plays sparingly in 2013-2014, but by 2014-2015 he should be a capable checking line player at the AHL level and be ready for duty with the Flyers.
Colin Suellentrop, D, Oshawa Generals
With the first of their two fourth-round picks, the Flyers selected Suellentrop.
He is a strong defensive defenseman who, in time, could develop into a solid offensive threat as well. He plays the type of physical game that will translate well into the NHL.
Given the Flyers' current depth at the position, however, it may take some time for him to break into the lineup.
Look for him to start to make an impact around the same time Nick Cousins does, in 2014-2015, and to eventually become either a second or third pairing defenseman for the team.
Marcel Noebels, LW, Seattle Thunderbirds
Noebels, the Flyers' second pick in the fourth round, was recently signed to an entry-level contract.
This doesn't mean that he'll be playing for the Flyers—or even the Phantoms—this season, but it's always good to see the team get prospects officially on board.
Noebels is a German-born left winger with a good scoring touch, but has only played one season professionally in North America.
Some analysts think the Flyers may have gotten a steal by getting him at this point in the draft, and I would tend to agree.
Look for him to play a few games with the team during the last year of his entry-level contract, 2013-2014, before playing a more prominent role in 2014-2015.
Petr Placek, RW, Hotchkiss School
In the sixth round, the Flyers tabbed Czech-born right winger Placek.
Placek is an imposing force on the ice (6'4", 210 pounds) who—with time—could develop into a very good player. He has chosen to attend Harvard instead of turning professional immediately, which should be of great benefit to his development.
He missed most of his senior season due to injury, so, like Noebels, he could be a big steal here.
Because he is so young and raw, the Flyers may let him play out his career at Harvard before signing him, and so he will likely not make an impact for quite some time.
Look for Placek to break onto the scene during the (gulp) 2015-2016 season.
Assuming he plays four years at Harvard, which he seems set on doing, he should be capable of immediately fighting for call-ups during that season, while becoming a main fixture for the team in the years to follow.
Derek Mathers, RW/D, Peterborough Petes
I linked this video in an earlier article that I wrote, but I feel I can get away with it since it perfectly defines Mathers.
Mathers will not put up big offensive numbers—just five points in 55 games this season—but if he can even slightly improve on that, he could rapidly ascend the ranks of the system since a cheap enforcer is always a nice thing to have.
With Tye McGinn and Tom Sestito in the system, Mathers will certainly need to improve his game to have the enforcer role on the Flyers.
Rising through the system will be easier for him if he becomes a right wing instead of a defenseman, as right wings are more acceptable defensive liabilities than defenseman.
Regardless, Mathers should make an impact by 2014-2015.
If he hasn't done anything by then, he likely won't ever do a whole lot.
Let me know what you think in the comments—I appreciate all the feedback!