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NHL draft 2015: The pros and cons of defensemen available with the 7th pick

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Explaining why the Flyers will either take the defenseman you really want, or the guy who you really hate. Or why they pass up both of them.

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The Philadelphia Flyers enter the 2015 NHL Draft with a number of organizational needs, both at the NHL level, and in their overall pipeline. Of course, this makes the Flyers a very intriguing team for draft analysts.

Holding the seventh overall pick in the first round, Philadelphia will have an opportunity to add a legitimate blue chip prospect to the fold at this draft.

Luckily for the Flyers, the 2015 draft is very deep at the top. Unluckily for mock drafters, that means that there are a number of plausible options for Philadelphia to take at seven. So rather than wildly guess which single prospect ranked in the consensus 6-14 range the Flyers will add to the organization, let's take a more comprehensive look at each possible option.

One thing is for certain -- the Flyers' pick is not a slam dunk, obvious choice. So here at BSH, we've provided a justification for why Philadelphia will take nine different players. And then for balance's sake -- an explanation as to why they might pass on each one as well.

We'll start off with two defensemen, Ivan Provorov of the Brandon Wheat Kings and Zach Werenski of the University of Michigan.

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Note: Connor McDavid, Jack Eichel, Dylan Strome, Mitch Marner and Noah Hanifin were purposely excluded for this exercise. None of these players are likely to be available at seventh overall, and if one did slip, it's fair to assume that the Flyers would snap up whichever player dropped, just as they did when Sean Couturier fell in 2011.

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Ivan Provorov :: D :: Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL)

Community Board Ranking: Sixth

ivan provorov

Why the Flyers will take him

Quite simply, he has the best chance to be the consensus top player available when the Flyers pick at seventh overall. The top five picks (McDavid, Eichel, Hanifin, Strome and Marner, in some order) should be locked in barring an unforeseen slip.

At six, New Jersey seems to be targeting a forward to fill their largest organizational weakness. If the Flyers are truly planning to go with the top player on their board, regardless of position, Provorov seems like a decent bet to be that guy.

The combination of production and glowing scouting reports make him an obvious top-ten talent in the draft. Provorov actually averaged more points per game in the WHL than Travis Sanheim despite being a year younger than the Flyers' top prospect.

And as a plus skater who is equally adept at creating offense and defending, Provorov sounds like a prototypical Dave Hakstol blueliner. In addition, he apparently has a bit of snarl to his game, which should please Flyers scouts and add an element that is somewhat lacking among the Flyers "Big Four," with only Samuel Morin considered mean.

Why the Flyers will pass

Provorov comes with few major concerns. Some do worry he could be a one-year wonder, as his production in the USHL in 2013-14 was unspectacular. Others note that his point totals may have been inflated due to playing with the talented, high scoring Wheat Kings. But for the most part, his skillset is unquestioned.

However, the Flyers already have a very deep pool of prospects on defense, with their depth at forward lacking. Philadelphia may have a major immediate need on the blueline at the NHL level, but teams like Chicago and Tampa Bay showcased the importance of cheap, young forward talent during this postseason.

If the Flyers pass on Provorov, faith in their current "Big Four" and the larger organizational need at forward will likely be the key reasons.

Zach Werenski :: D :: Michigan Wolverines (NCAA)

Community Board Ranking: Ninth

zach werenski

Why the Flyers will take him

Werenski has flown a bit under the radar, overshadowed by fellow NCAA prospect Noah Hanifin and Provorov. But there is a strong case to be made that Werenski is every bit the prospect as the highly-touted top pair. Werenski is six months younger than both Hanifin and Provorov, and actually outscored Hanifin over their respective freshman seasons.

He's been compared to fellow American and former Wolverine Jacob Trouba, who has already established himself as one of the top young defensemen in the NHL. And while his skating ability is not quite on the level of Hanifin, many scouts believe that Werenski's overall offensive instincts are superior. Combine that with his young age, and the upside is tantalizing.

If the Flyers decide to take the best player on their board at seven without accounting for organizational need, it's definitely possible that they see the talented Werenski as the superior blueline option over Provorov.

Why the Flyers will pass

For Werenski to be the pick, the Flyers would be neglecting the need at forward, and likely passing up Provorov. While it's not hard to envision the Flyers going defense with the seventh overall pick nor is it impossible to imagine they value Werenski over Provorov, it would take a perfect storm for Hextall to avoid the forward position and believe that Werenski is the best player on the board, contrary to the scouting community consensus.

It could happen, but it's not the most likely scenario.