FanPost

Why the Flyers shouldn't move up in the Draft to pick a defenseman

There are no sure things in the draft, especially when you are talking about defensemen. The idea that the Flyers could move up in the draft looks to be a great one; the top ten is loaded with great defensive prospects. But the problem is that trading up probably isn't worth it. Now I don't have a crystal ball, if Griffin Reinhart is a Norris Trophy candidate in three years this post will look pretty stupid, but taking a defenseman in the first ten picks rarely works out as well as the team would like. Since 2004 there have been very few defensemen taken in the top 10 who have gone on to become super stars. Probably the only two that have really broken out have been Drew Doughty, drafted 2nd overall by the Kings, and Alex Pietrangelo, taken 4th overall by the Blues, both selected in 2008. A few other defensemen benefited from break out post seasons, like Karl Alzner drafted 5th overall in 2007 and Oliver Ekman-Larsson drafted 6th Overall in 2009. Most of other defensemen taken in the top 10 are known for being disappointments, like Zach Bogosian and former 1st overall selection Erik Johnson, or worse they aren't known at all. If Tampa Bay came to town would you be saying "oh no, we really have to look out for former top ten draft pick Brian Lee"?Top 10 defensemen rarely out play other defensemen taken later in the first round.

It's hard to judge defensive prospects, guys who thrive in juniors or in Europe could be overwhelmed in the NHL, while players who may look like nothing special turn into dominant defensemen. In the 2003 Draft Shea Weber was the third defenseman taken, not third defenseman taken in the draft, he was the third defenseman selected by the Predators. The Predators believed that Ryan Suter and Kevin Klein were better prospects than Shea Weber, Suter is a great player but he isn't Shea Weber. It's part of Flyers lore that Bobby Clarke was passed on by every team in the draft at least once, and one team even passed on him three times, well in 2003 one team, the Los Angeles Kings, passed on Shea Weber 4 times. What I'm trying to say in that long rant is that selecting defenseman is a crap-shoot, and that there is nothing guaranteeing that Olli Maatta, Griffin Reinhart, Matthew Dumba, or Jacob Trouba will be better than Brady Skjei or Slater Koekkoek three or four years down the road.

Another problem arises from trying to move up in the draft and that is the Flyers would have to give something up. I imagine that a deal that most Flyers fans have in mind would involve packaging Jakub Voracek, Sergei Bobrovsky, and/or our 1st Round pick to move up, but that probably doesn't get the Flyers into the 10 picks. First, Bobrovsky isn't as big as a bargaining chip as one might think. He dropped off considerably in his second year, and he isn't as celebrated of a prospect as Josh Harding who is a UFA or Jonathan Bernier, the back up in Los Angeles. After last season people in Los Angeles we're calling for the Kings to trade Quick and make Bernier the stater; now Bernier is expendable, so if any of the teams in the top ten are looking a young goaltender they are probably going with one of those two options. Voracek could help the Flyers move up, but no team going through a rebuilding phase will drop 10 or more picks for Jakub Voracek. For the Flyers to move up they would probably have to trade a major piece or a top prospect, probably along the lines of a player like JVR or Brayden Schenn.

One final thing to consider with the Flyers is that they are great at scouring college hockey to find hidden gems, such as Matt Read. The best defensive prospect in the Flyers system, and the heir apparent to Kimmo Timonen, is Erik Gustafsson who the Flyers signed undrafted out of Northern Michigan in the NCAA. Who is to say a player like Gustafsson, Blake Kessel, or Matthew Konan who the Flyers signed undrafted from the Medicine Hat Tigers of the WHL isn't going to be the next big defenseman?

Moving up in the draft is an move where the benefits aren't worth the expenses.

This item was written by a member of this community and is not necessarily endorsed by <em>Broad Street Hockey</em>.

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