2015 features one of the best draft classes in recent NHL history. It's certainly the best draft class in the history of this website, which has been around since 2008.
From Connor McDavid to Jack Eichel to a stacked top 10, the Flyers are going to get a damn good prospect with their No. 7 overall pick in the first round this season -- as will every other team that picks in the top 10.
With that, we want to try a little community experiment: Over the next few weeks as we prepare for the draft, we will crowdsource what we think the Philadelphia Flyers' draft board should look like. We will run down the board and hold a daily vote, and you can cast your ballot for who you think should be the next guy on the board.
We're calling it the 2015 BSH Community NHL Draft Board, and we admit that we are totally stealing the idea from our Sixers friends over at Liberty Ballers. Brotherly love and all that.
So let's get started.
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We all know who's going No. 1 and No. 2 in the draft, so we're not going to bother holding votes for those two positions on the board. The consensus is clear.
The 2015 BSH Community NHL Draft Board
- Connor McDavid, C, Erie (OHL)
- Jack Eichel, C, Boston University (NCAA)
So we'll begin at the No. 3 spot on the board, and there are plenty of stellar candidates to be selected there. Scouting reports and 2014-15 scoring numbers for each player can be found below. Vote in the poll. It will close at midnight tonight and we'll have another post up tomorrow for the No. 4 spot on the board.
Noah Hanifin, D, Boston College (NCAA) - 5 G, 18 A in 37 GP
In almost any other draft year, Noah Hanifin would be warranting discussion of potential top overall pick. We already know this year is slightly different in that regard with two generational talents in this year's draft class. Hanifin plays a solid all-around game for a blue liner, and has an elite upside as well. Much of the analysis sounds similar to that of Ryan Murray a few years ago - a smooth-skating, solid two-way player who has the potential to be a future captain as well. Expect Hanifin to be a top pairing defenseman for years to come.
Dylan Strome, C, Erie (OHL) - 45 G, 84 A in 68 GP
Patient with the puck, likes to stop up off the rush and wait for his teammates to get open .. always has his head up and creates for offence for others as well as anyone in the draft, second only to his teammate, Connor McDavid .. doesn't appear to skate hard or explosively but hangs onto the puck to open up space for others .. high base in his stride limits his explosiveness .. strong positional play allows him to break up passes and anticipate in all three zones .. an elusive release surprises goalies, explodes off of his stick .. follows his shots to the net and frequently gets second opportunities .. one of the better forwards in the defensive zone at the top end of the draft .. excellent stick handler, in tight and when protecting the puck .. passes extremely accurately off of his backhand .. cerebral player with an elite ability to hang onto the puck and control the pace.
Mitch Marner, RW, London (OHL) - 44 G, 82 A in 63 GP
Slick hands and elite footwork help Marner evade contact in tight .. calm playmaker, one of the most patient players in the class with the puck .. despite a slender appearance on the ice, Marner consistently outsmarts his opponents to beat them .. anticipates the play well which creates spacing when he receives the puck off the rush .. has a tendency to get caught running around in his own zone on a poor defensive team in London .. skates hard and uses his stick to win puck battles .. hard on the backcheck and he comes deep in the defensive zone to retrieve pucks .. loves to find teammates on his backhand .. played the wing on the powerplay and the majority of the year on a dominant line with Max Domi .. effective on the wing or at centre due to his creativity.
Ivan Provorov, D, Brandon (WHL) - 15 G, 46 A in 60 GP
Provorov's height is only average for a defensemen, but his frame is already very well filled out and he's strong on his skates, which makes him hard to knock off the puck. His skating is fluid and effortless, and when you combine that with excellent offensive instincts and great puck skills it makes him the exact type of defenseman that thrives in the new, faster NHL.
The only major question mark with Provorov, however, is how much of his success this season is related to his environment. Brandon was loaded with talent and led the WHL in goals by a huge margin, which might have caused his raw stats to be inflated. Likewise, Brandon also had a deep group of veterans of the back end, which allowed them to shelter Provorov in the offensive zone. Can he handle being relied on heavily as "the guy" for a team?
Pavel Zacha, C, Sarnia (OHL) - 16 G, 18 A in 37 GP
Pavel Zacha's skill set is one that earns him a lot of praise and it's easy to understand why. He is a big body, but he has lots of offensive skill to go along with it. He is strong in almost every facet of the game on offense, with a plus shot, great passing, and speed and agility as a skater. His adjustment to the North American game is ongoing to an extent and his production could be better, but draft experts remain very optimistic about his skill set. The one knock on his game seems to be that he is still figuring things out in the defensive end, where his positioning and instincts could use some work. He figures to go high in this draft, though, and projects to have real potential as a top centerman on an NHL team.
Mathew Barzal, C, Seattle (WHL) - 12 G, 45 A in 44 GP
His best asset, his brain, allows him to find his teammates where others wouldn't, anticipate plays on the defensive side of the puck to create chances for himself offensively, and out-think defenders while handling the puck off the rush, or in the offensive zone.
He's adept at handling, and distributing the puck, and while he doesn't have the size of a Dylan Strome, he's thicker and stronger than a Mitch Marner.
And while he doesn't possess a heavy shot, but he's mastered getting off a quick release, with a low kick. With his ever-improving skating, he also finds other ways to score or create and pounce on loose pucks in tight. His stride is fluid and he's got a low centre of gravity.
Lawson Crouse, LW, Kingston (OHL) - 29 G, 22 A in 56 GP
The simple fact about Crouse is that he's probably ranked way too high for the type of player he projects to be at the NHL level. With scouts raving about the defensive side of his game but continually pointing out that his offensive game has to improve for him to go beyond a "energy" role at the next level up, the fact that he's ranked anywhere in the top ten as a forward is....slightly surprising. There's a lot of talk about him being a "high-risk, high-reward" prospect around the NHL at the moment - but that's the kind of narrative you hear thrown around about mid or late-round picks - very rarely those who are ranked in the top 10.
Vote in the poll below for who you think the Flyers should take if all of the players listed were available, and check back tomorrow to see the consensus.