Only one other time have the Philadelphia Flyers drafted number two overall in the NHL Draft. That was in 2007 when James van Riemsdyk followed future Hall of Famer and number one overall pick, Patrick Kane.
Ten years later, the Flyers are without ‘JVR’ but have the second overall pick in the NHL Draft. Friday night at the United Center in Chicago, GM Ron Hextall has a monster chance to elevate his Flyers team forward after a season that saw the franchise take a giant leap backwards.
The Flyers are expected to select Halifax center Nico Hischier, who played in Halifax this past year. Although unlikely, if the New Jersey Devils select the Swiss forward we will likely see the Flyers opt for Nolan Patrick of the Brandon Wheat Kings.
Personally, Hischier is the best fit for this team moving forward. The Flyers already have dead weight on their roster in Claude Giroux and Jake Voracek and will unfortunately have to continue paying their outrageous contracts. Why? Because no other team in the league wants either player with their respective cap hits.
Nonetheless, Hextall, Hakstol, and the Flyers have to push on and put other guys in the right place the best they can and it starts with Friday’s number two overall pick.
At 6-1, 175 Hischier is tremendous. He’s a dynamic skater who’s quickness separates him from everyone else in his class. He has good speed and has an elite hockey sense. He seems to always know where to be on the ice and is a magnet for the puck.
Hischier rocketed up the rankings after raking in 86 (38G, 48A) points in 57 games for the Halifax Mooseheads this past year. Over the last few years his offensive output and growth have risen aggressively.
There’s been heavy comparisons to Pavel Datsyuk. That’s a bit excessive, however, not bad to at least be mentioned in that conversation. Still, the Flyers could most certainly use a scorer of that caliber on a team who registered one 30-goal scorer and only four players over 50 points. The anemic Flyers offense needs a shot of skill and production, Hischier is that player.
It will be nice to see the likes of Travis Konecny and Wayne Simmonds play alongside this 18-year old kid.
Steve Kournianos of ‘The Draft Analysis‘ had this to say about Hischier:
“Hischier is an elite center with off-the-charts puck artistry and swift skating that combine into a lethal package. Sly and dangerous, he can strike at a moment’s notice. His agility and escapability are unmatched among draft peers, and at 18 years old his hockey sense is on par with the world’s best young players of any level. And he’s far from just a finesse player — Hischier is a fierce competitor who hates losing whether it’s a one-on-one puck battle or a seven-game series. He can kill penalties, lend support down low and do his best at physically moving opponent’s off the puck. Hischier has a good, accurate shot but it’s the way he fakes and jukes that makes beating goalies all the more simple. Blessed with sick hands, poise and a keen sixth sense, he is next to unstoppable once he takes the puck below the hashmarks.”
Mike Morreale of NHL.com:
“Hischier’s elite skill and hockey sense is combined with a complete level that allows him to be effective in any style of game. Hischier (6-1, 176) was 10th in the QMJHL with 86 points (38 goals, 48 assists) in 57 games and was named rookie of the year and best pro prospect in the league.”
I personally believe the Flyers are going to end up with the best player of this draft. Nolan Patrick is real good player, don’t get me wrong, and the Devils will have themselves a franchise player to build around. All things considered, Hischier is the complete package in my book and based off the people I have spoken to about him, I don’t seem to be in the minority at all.
Let’s hope the Flyers get this one right.