Ron Hextall nails it on NHL Draft weekend

philadelphia flyers trade rumors

The Philadelphia Flyers look like a completely different team after the NHL draft this weekend. Here is an analysis of the changes facing the Flyers next season, and what we can expect next.

How else can we put this? The Flyers struggled last season, finishing 12th in the Eastern Conference with a 33-31-18 record. After solidifying what appears to be a reliable Steve Mason in net, the club was weak on defence, and the depth at forward was lacking.

Their weak record landed them the 7th overall pick on Friday night in Ivan Provorov–widely regarded as the best draft-eligible defenceman in the Canadian Hockey League. Ivan Provorov finished with 61 points in 60 games from the blueline and finished 4th among all WHL defencemen in points during the 2014-15 season. He’ll immediately become the club’s best defensive prospect, ahead of 2013 1st round pick Samuel Morin and 2014 1st round pick Travis Sanheim.

The Flyers also moved up in the draft order and selected OHL forward Travis Konecny at 24th overall with their second 1st-round pick of the draft. Konecny is a smaller forward who possesses amazing skating and stick-handling skills. He has shown an ability to dominate at younger levels and scored 68 points in 60 games in the OHL this season, after scoring 70 points in 63 games last season on route to winning the OHL Rookie of the Year award.

Fast forward to today and the Flyers have put together an incredibly group of young defensive prospects and followed up by adding at the forward position with the inclusion of Sam Gagner. Gagner has showed flashes of brilliance early in his career and scored 15 goals and 41 points in a full season last year with Arizona. His career +/- should be alarming, which is why it is still possible the Flyers buyout Gagner. But at only 25 years-old, he could someday find himself fitting into the core of this club.

So what’s next for the Flyers this summer? CSNPhilly has reported that GM Ron Hextall is apparently looking to move Luke Schenn and Vincent Lecavalier prior to free agency in order to clear up more cap space. Only time will tell whether the Hextall can pull it off, but management has sent a clear message this weekend: they have identified their needs and are not afraid to make moves to address them.