After taking a recognizable name in Matthew Strome, the Flyers went right back to the podium a pick later and grabbed a slightly more obscure player in Maksim Sushko.
Sushko, a winger from Belarus, played for the Owen Sound Attack of the OHL last year and finished with 32 points in 54 games. He has decent size (6’0’, 179 per eliteprospects.com) but certainly won’t be confused for Flyers’ second rounder Isaac Ratcliffe.
The numbers aren’t immediately impressive, but Sushko isn’t without skill. He was taken in the first round of the OHL Import Draft last year, and multiple scouting reports noted his speed and offensive upside back when that pick was made. From OHLProspects.Blogspot.com...
Scouting Report: Mike Mackley says, "Maxim Sushko is a dynamic offensive minded winger with good size and impressive speed. A player who analyzes his options quickly and makes good decisions with the puck, Sushko thrives on the power play were he excels running things off the half boards. Sushko possesses a deceptively strong shot that comes off a quick release and packs impressive velocity, he can beat you as a goal scorer or a playmaker. A player who shows a relentless in puck pursuit, Sushko really hunts the puck and wants to take possession, leading to a strong compete in puck battles. Lacks engagement away from the puck, puck watches and gets caught flat footed defensively, Sushko’s upside at this time is purely offensive and even then there he is certainly far from a finished product."
He ranked 25th among draft eligible OHL players in Estimated Primary Points per 60 at 5v5 per Prospect-Stats.com, implying that he didn’t exactly live up to his scoring promise in his rookie season in Canadian juniors. But he lit it up in Belarus prior to coming over, and while that’s obviously not a high level of competition, at least it shows that the scoring touch has shown itself at some point.
It looks like this pick is an example of the Flyers liking the skillset of a player, and thinking that an offensive breakout could be forthcoming. It doesn’t strike me as a selection in the vein of Samuel Dove-McFalls or Carsen Twarynski, where the realistic ceiling was that of a decent NHL bottom-sixer. Sushko likely has more upside than that — it’s just a matter of whether the Flyers’ scouts are right to gamble that upside will eventually result in strong offensive production down the road.