The Philadelphia Flyers had a solid chance to reignite the future of their franchise when they held the second overall pick last week. They drafted who many considered the consensus number one player in the draft, Nolan Patrick of the Brandon Wheat Kings.
Yes, many preferred Nico Hischier, including myself. However, it’s not difficult to seek and find just how big of a piece Patrick will be for the future of the Flyers organization.
I’ve said to many of my friends in and out of the NHL that Patrick sharply reminds me of Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews. Everything about Patrick oozes characteristics similar to the 3-time Stanley Cup winner.
I can easily envision Patrick becoming the next Flyers captain in 2-3 years once the Flyers find a way to rid themselves of Claude Giroux and his heinous contract. He won’t light up the scoresheet at the end of the season but Patrick will do everything right. His ceiling could be 80-point seasons while I expect him to consistently range in the 70-75 point area.
Nonetheless, head coach Dave Hakstol has plenty to play with once the Flyers start the season back up October 14th against the Washington Capitals.
That directs me to the other ‘big move’ out of the Flyers. Brayden Schenn was dealt to the St. Louis Blues for Jori Lehtera and multiple draft picks.
Let’s be real about Schenn. He’s a dime a dozen. There’s loads like him in the National Hockey League. Will it be difficult to replace 25 goals? Of course. Especially on this team. His 17 power-play goals were tied for most in the league. However, he was putrid even strength when the Flyers really needed him most.
Schenn never found his niche with the Flyers as he was always radically inconsistent and unreliable. Plus, in terms of assets and contract, Schenn was the most logical piece to move. Can’t trade Wayne Simmonds as he’s the Flyers best overall player right now. Unfortunately, both Giroux and Jake Voracek cannot be traded due to their large contracts.
So, in the NHL a 25-goal scorer who’s available is much easier to trade. GM Ron Hextall made the right move on this one. More importantly, this made room for Patrick to slide right in to center either the second or third line for Hakstol this season. It was logical but widely unpopular for some reason.
The primary focus for the Flyers moving should be securing a quality starting goaltender not named Steve Mason. There are a few free agent veteran netminders on the market, but I’m not sure if any of them are the answer right now. If it were me, I’d ride it out with Anthony Stolarz and see what he can do. Just never know. He’s 23 and is ready to go.