BUFFALO -- With the 36th pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, the Philadelphia Flyers have selected forward Pascal LaBerge of Victoriaville in the QMJHL.
The Flyers acquired this pick in Friday night's trade that sent the No. 18 pick and No. 79 pick to the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for the No. 22 pick -- used to select German Rubtsov -- and this pick.
Here's what the folks at Future Considerations have to say about the player. They had him ranked 22nd and project him as a top six scoring forward.
STRENGTHS: Laberge is an intelligent player who skates with a purpose. He analyzes the ice and where he would be best suited to go to be most effective in each situation. He is a very quick skater who is light on his feet. His short bursts allow him to gain the speed needed to be impactful all over the ice. He has good vision and makes quick passes on tape from various ranges and angles. With soft, quick hands, Laberge's puck skills are very good; he can beat players one-on-one and make goalies look like peewee stoppers. His shot is quick and known by QMJHL goaltenders. He can also really wire it to spots he wants with a deceptive release point.
WEAKNESSES: Laberge needs to add some weight to his tall, lanky frame, which will help him become more stable and more effective in board battles or when he is trying to play with an edge. He has a desire to hit players, but he just doesn't have the physical ability to nish his checks hard. Laberge has very good top speed, but we feel like he just needs to add more power in his stride as he is very mobile and his acceleration would be very dangerous as he already has quick feet to help him separate from backcheckers.
ESPN's Corey Pronman had Laberge as the No. 37 player in the draft, and had this to say on him:
The former second overall QMJHL draft pick is a highly talented and competitive forward. He brings a solid base of intangibles to the table, shows a good work ethic every shift and doesn't shy away when the energy level ratchets up a few notches. Laberge is an above-average skater with a very good top gear, which allows him to separate off the rush. He's a creative playmaker who can dangle and create the occasional highlight-reel moment as well as consistently set his teammates up for scoring chances. He's not the best defensively, which is concerning as a center, but I see him as a player trending upward.
Here's video of Laberge speaking with the media here in Buffalo:
Laberge had an article on the Players' Tribune this past Thursday, in which he talked about his stepmother passing away and how hockey helped get him through those tough times. You can read that article here.
The Flyers still, as of now, have two picks in the second round of the NHL draft. With their first two picks used on skilled centers, will they look for a defenseman with their next pick? A pure winger? A goalie? Stay tuned.