Let me start out by saying draft day is a crazy time. I don't know how many picks the Flyers will have come draft day, so I'm just going off the picks we have right now. Also, scouts and teams have players that they like and long term plans that they are trying to select for in the later rounds of the draft. So a player I might think would be a great fit might not even be on the Flyers radar. That being said, here's who think the Flyers could select in the 2012 NHL Draft.
ROUND 1 - 20th Overall pick
There's already a lot of discussion about who the Flyers are going to take in the first round. Right now there seems to be a lot of chatter about Olli Maatta, the Finnish defenseman from the London Knights, falling to Flyers pick at number 20. If Maatta is on the board the Flyers will take him, but it's really unlikely he'll fall that far. He might fall out of the top 10 but most likely wont fall all the way to the Flyers spot. If he does, the Flyers would be lucky to get him. Maatta was one of the top defenseman on a team that won the OHL Championship; and had the highest point per game average of any defenseman in the playoffs including 2011 Lottery picks Dougie Hamilton and Ryan Murphy. But assuming Maatta doesn't fall to the 20th pick there are still many good players to choose from. BSH selected center Brendan Gaunce in the SB Nation Mock Draft, but I don't think Gaunce will be on the board when the Flyers go to pick. I think that the top forwards in the draft (Yakupov, Galchenyuk, Forsberg, Grigorenko, Teravainen) will all go in the first eight or nine picks. That would leave Gaunce as second best forward on the board, and there is no way Gaunce gets through ten or more picks to get to the Flyers. But if he somehow does fall to the Flyers spot he would be a great pick up. I've already made my case for Czech forward Tomas Hertl, but I wouldn't be surprised if the Flyers took a defenseman like Brady Skjei or Slater Koekkoek. Since it's my mock draft I'm going to say the Flyers draft Tomas Hertl.
ROUND 2 - The Flyers don't have a second round pick. They traded their pick to Tampa Bay for Andrej Meszaros. They did get Los Angeles' second round pick in the Mike Richards deal, but they traded it to Dallas for Nicklas Grossmann. Pretty good use of those picks if you ask me.
ROUND 3 - 78th Overall (From San Jose - via Florida) - F Tomas Hyka
A lot of you may remember Hyka from the 2011 preseason where he played very well. But due to NHL rules, European players under 20 years of age must reenter the draft and can't be signed as free agents. Last season Hyka played with the Gatineau Olympiques in the QMJHL and is now the 45th ranked North American skater. While that makes it look like Hyka is destine to be drafted in the second round before the Flyers get a chance to pick him, it isn't necessarily as bad as it looks. Just cause a player is ranked in the 40's doesn't mean he will go in that high in the draft. Just look at the Flyers draft last season. Marcel Noebels was ranked 49th among North American skaters and he wasn't taken until the 118th selection. This was after the Flyers picked Nick Cousins, who was the 71st ranked North American skater, and Colin Suellentrop, who was the 140th ranked NA skater. I do think Hyka has a good chance at falling to the Flyers pick, but I wouldn't be surprised if the Flyers try to move up to pick him.
ROUND 4 - 111th Overall - D John Draeger
Draeger is a very interesting prospect. He's listed at about 6'2" and weighs 186 lbs. He's coming out of the storied prep school Shattuck-St. Mary's, the same school that had seen the likes of Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews, and Zach Parise. Draeger is committed to play for Michigan State next season, who produced Norris Trophy winner Duncan Keith. Michigan State graduated three defensemen last year so Draeger will likely get a fair amount of ice time in his freshman year. Ryan Kennedy from The Hockey News praises his physicality and foot speed. Draeger compares himself to Chicago's Brent Seabrook. I think he plays a similar style to Andrej Meszaros, who is also quick and physical.
ROUND 5 - 141st Overall - D Jake Dotchin
Dotchin is a 6'3 200 lbs defenseman who played his rookie season with the Owen Sound Attack of the OHL. Although he is more of a shutdown defenseman, he did score 3 goals and 16 assists for 19 points in his first year. In comparison Shea Weber was drafted as a 6'3 200 lbs defensive defenseman who scored 2 goals and 16 assists for 18 points in his first year in major junior. While it would be unrealistic to expect or even hope Dotchin to turn into Shea Weber (Weber came up through the Kelowna Rockets organization who are known for turning out elite defensemen) you can see how Dotchin has a lot of potential. Ranked 139th among North American skaters he should be on the board when the Flyers go to pick at 141st overall.
ROUND 6 - The Flyers don't have a 6th Round pick, they traded it to Los Angeles for Future Considerations in October of 2011.
ROUND 7 - 201st Overall - D Dean Kukan
Kukan is a Swiss defenseman who played in the Swedish junior league last year. He is 6'2" and just shy of 200 lbs. And he scored 21 points in the Swedish junior league, good enough to tie him for 20th in the league and 4th amongst defensemen. He was also the 2nd youngest player in the top 25 scorers in the the league. He is ranked 37th among European skaters, which may seem high but last year the 38th ranked European skater didn't go until the 195th pick. With an overabundance of defensemen in this draft, a European defenseman ranked this low will likely survive until the Flyers pick at 201.
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