We're 16 picks through SB Nation's annual NHL Mock Draft, which means it's time for the host team to step up and make their selection with the No. 17 pick. Sorry, we didn't trade up to No. 1.
On behalf of the City of Philadelphia, Broad Street Hockey welcomes everybody to the Wells Fargo Center for the 2014 NHL Mock Draft. We congratulate Jewels From The Crown and one-third of Battle of California on their Stanley Cup title. We look forward to a prosperous offseason full of Rangers buyouts, P.K. Subban rumors and Ron Hextall brilliance.
With the 17th selection in the 2014 NHL Mock Draft, the Philadelphia Flyers are proud to select ...
Dylan Larkin, a center from the US National Team Development Program
*cut to Pierre McGuire's voice over the below highlights*
PIERRE: Oh boy, fellas. This is a prototypical Philadelphia Flyers draft pick right here. Strong two-way center out of the USA National Team Program in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Committed to the Michigan Wolverines where he'll play Big Ten hockey and grew up in the Belle Tire AAA program. Skates with the best of 'em, has amazing hockey sense and should be a Mike Richards-style leader for Craig Berube's bunch for years to come. Just a beautiful pick for Philadelphia guys.
Team: USNTDP (USHL)
Position: Center / Left Wing
Born: July 30, 1996
Weight: 190 pounds
Rankings: Central Scouting (17), ISS (15), McKeen's (14), THN (15), TSN (21)
Larkin is indeed the perfect, safe Flyers pick. He's a US program guy, which the Flyers are always comfortable and familiar with thanks to Paul Holmgren's deep involvement in USA Hockey. He'll be playing college puck at the University of Michigan beginning this fall, which means he's still a few years away from the NHL, and since the Flyers are stacked at center, they can use that buffer and let him develop naturally.
He's a versatile center who can also play the wing position, another strong set. He still has offensive weapons that need developing but he's a very strong defensive player who utilizes his speed and plays bigger than his 6'0, 190 pound frame. Playing for a strong college program like Michigan should give him the time to bulk up and grow the offensive side of his game, which can be improved easily by simply learning to take more chances with the puck.
Ideally, the Flyers would be able to draft another young defenseman, but there's a difference between drafting for need when it's simply a weak draft for defensemen. Haydn Fleury, the defender out of Red Deer in the WHL, was the other player we debated taking with this pick, but frankly it seems more likely that the Flyers take a guy like Larkin over a guy like Fleury, simply because of track record with drafting defensemen and their love of two-way centers. Not that Fleury would be a bad pick if he fell to the Flyers at No. 17. Not at all.
Here's the draft thus far:
- Florida Panthers select defenseman Aaron Ekblad of the OHL.
- Buffalo Sabres select winger Sam Bennett of the OHL.
- Edmonton Oilers select center Leon Draisaitl of the WHL.
- Calgary Flames select center Sam Reinhart of the WHL.
- New York Islanders select winger Michael Dal Colle of the OHL.
- Vancouver Canucks select winger Jake Virtanen of the WHL.
- Carolina Hurricanes select winger Brendan Perlini of the OHL.
- Toronto Maple Leafs elect winger Nikolaj Ehlers of the QMJHL.
- Winnipeg Jets select winger William Nylander of Modo in the Swedish Hockey League.
- Anaheim Ducks select center Robby Fabbri of the OHL.
- Nashville Predators select winger Kasperi Kapanen of KalPa in SM-liiga.
- Arizona Coyotes select winger Nick Ritchie of the OHL.
- Washington Capitals select defenseman Julius Honka of the WHL's Swift Current Broncos.
- Dallas Stars select winger Kevin Fiala of HV71 in the Swedish Hockey League.
- Detroit Red Wings select forward Alex Tuch of the US National Team Development Program.
- Columbus Blue Jackets select forward Ivan Barbashev of the QMJHL's Moncton Wildcats.
- Philadelphia Flyers select forward Dylan Larkin of the US National Team Development Program.