June 24, 2017
To the surprise of nobody, the Philadelphia Flyers took the player that fell to them at the top of the 2017 NHL Draft. That player ended up being Brandon Wheat Kings center Nolan Patrick. Next, in a more surprising move, the Flyers traded Brayden Schenn to St. Louis for Jori Lehtera and a couple of first-round picks, one of which they used on center Morgan Frost.
Here’s what national writers are saying about what Ron Hextall and the Flyers were able to accomplish in the first round:
In my opinion, Pronman is the best in the business when it comes to scouting amateur hockey talent. He believes that Nolan Patrick is very much ready for the NHL, while Morgan Frost will take some time:
Was there an overreaction to a small sample because of his injury, or are there signs of stagnation in his development? If it's the former, Patrick could become a core player in the organization for years to come. He is the most NHL-ready player in the draft, and could, at the least, be a third-line center next season -- and maybe more.
Frost is a great playmaker who continues to trend up. He isn't a game-breaker, but he was one of the Soo's top players, and could be a middle-of-the-lineup player with a lot of time and good development by the Flyers.
Similar to Pronman, the league’s official website described Patrick as the most NHL-ready player in the draft. The Flyers were “clearly satisfied by his injury history,” according to NHL.com:
Patrick (6-foot-2, 198 pounds) possesses the hockey sense, vision and skill to become a top-line center in the NHL. In 2015-16, he was tied for the WHL playoff scoring lead with 30 points (13 goals, 17 assists) in 21 games and was named MVP of the WHL playoffs after helping Brandon win the Ed Chynoweth Cup.
One of Benjamin’s five takeaways from the first round is that the Flyers should be pleased:
Yes, they were guaranteed to land either Hischier or Nolan Patrick by getting the second pick. And, yes, Patrick slipped past the No. 1 spot in large part because of his recent injury history. Philly, however, has a right to be stoked. For a team that could very well have been picking outside the top 10, the Flyers ended up as well as they could have, getting the draft's most NHL-ready center and a one-time consensus No. 1 pick, then double dipping at the position with the pick of Morgan Frost at No. 27.
Woodlief, who writes for a publication called the Red Line Report, writes about a legit concern when it comes to Patrick: his injury history.
Has the size and strength to dominate down the middle. Superb passer distributes immediately to the right spot when he sees a breakdown. Elite anticipation and sees plays developing before anyone else. Makes a beeline straight for the crease looking for rebounds. Injury history is a major concern, including separate injuries that shelved him this year, and shoulder surgery in a prior season.
Iverson took a more lighthearted approach to giving out his draft grades:
Another by-the-books pick. Injuries cost Nolan the top spot, but he’ll be good if the Flyers can keep him healthy. However, we just wasted like six days fretting over these two falling. And you can never trust a man with two first names.
On a night when there wasn’t a ton of trade activity at the top of the NHL Draft (including with the Flyers’ own pick), the Orange and Black were able to strike a deal with the Blues for Schenn:
The Blues were anxious to shed Lehtera’s salary and paid Philadelphia a high price to do so. The conditional 2018 pick will be converted to a 2019 first-rounder, plus a third-rounder, if it falls in the top-10. Schenn hit the 25-goal mark the last two seasons and Hextall didn’t want to part with him. He conveyed that message during a quick phone call with the 25-year-old forward on Friday night.
Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann
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