In an article a few days ago I went over the first 5 draft picks the Flyers made in 2016 and we checked in on when they could possibly be ready for the NHL. Today we’re going to go over the remaining five players, and spoilers: There are some good ones from the later rounds, Let’s have a look!
Connor Bunnaman (109th Overall)
Bunnaman was named captain of the Kitchener Rangers in his last season before turning pro, and while he had a decent season, he never really took the step forward in production the Flyers hoped he would. With the Phantoms last season, I do think he had a pretty solid first year as a pro. I’m still not convinced he’ll ever make the NHL and it’s mostly because of the same reason as many other prospects — there are too many ahead of him and for him to make it he would have to make one hell of a leap in his development.
Bunnaman is very solid in his own zone which could help his case but I fear the best case scenario for him would have to be as a fourth liner or maybe even as the extra forward.
Linus Högberg (139th overall)
This one is extremely interesting to me. Högberg is not a highly ranked prospect and his game is everything but flashy, but Högberg has developed very nicely in the SHL with Växjö. Högberg has been one if not the best defensive defenseman for that team who in the past five years have won the SHL championship twice.
Högberg will never be a player that puts up a lot of points, but his great defensive play will most likely make him a NHL player someday, I just wonder if it will be with the Flyers.
Linus Högberg goal against Luleå. #VäxjöLakers #Flyers pic.twitter.com/YRvjmgf0xE— SHL Prospect GIFS (@SHLProspectGIFS) November 30, 2017
I personally would have liked to see the Flyers sign Högberg this year and play him with the Phantoms and let him get used to the smaller ice. With all the great young defenseman already on the team, and with even more coming in the likes of Cam York, I can’t help but think that Högberg might be the odd man out. Last thing on Högberg: The advanced stats fanatics will love him as well.
Fun @NHLFlyers stats:— Alexander Appleyard (@avappleyard) October 29, 2018
Högberg underlying @vaxjolakers stats so far in @SHLse.
16:53 EV TOI/GP (1st on team D)
+6.74 Corsi Rel
From eye-test+stats has been great. One of best SHL Dmen in DZ, shot suppression stats are fantastic. #Flyers
Tanner Laczynski (169th Overall)
A player that I’ve liked ever since they’ve drafted him is Tanner Laczynski. Over the last three years he’s been a point-per-game player for Ohio State in the NCAA as well as being part of Team USA when they won World Junior gold in 2017. Laczynski will be a bottom six forward at the NHL level, if he makes it, but i think he could be a Scott Laughton type player who could move up in the lineup if there’s injuries.
Laczynski, just like Wade Allison, will be a free agent at the end of next year so the question remains — will Laczynski sign with the Flyers? Allison attended to the development camp last week but Laczynski did not attend with the team citing “school obligations”. So when could he make the NHL? I’d say that Laczynski would most likely need a year or two in the AHL before being ready.
Anthony Salintri (172th Overall)
The Flyers lost the rights for Salintri on June 1st when they didn't offer him a entry-level contract. Salintri will play for University of Windsor next season and I cant imagine him ever becoming a NHL player. He did have a good last year in juniors though and maybe he is just a late bloomer.
David Bernhardt (199th Overall)
Bernhardt plays just like Högberg in the SHL and they are in fact teammates now. Bernhardt switched from Djurgården to Växjö in the middle of last season, most likely to get a new start and hopefully take a step forward in his development and possibly get more ice time.
Bernhardt isn't as good as Högberg in my mind and I’d personally rank him behind a lot of other prospects, but he has shown flashes that there is something of value there and he could with time possibly develop into a third pairing defenseman in the NHL. This may sound like a big “wow that’s it?” but you have to remember, he is a seventh round pick and thats when you go for “projects” that need time and may or may not pan out.