A few days ago, I highlighted some options for the Flyers in the first round of the 2020 NHL draft, where they pick at #25 (assuming no trade is made).
For the second round, they additionally have one pick, at #56, and there may even be some players left who have first round comps in various draft boards. Like I said before, this is a very deep draft, and regardless of who the Flyers will pick in the first two rounds, they’ll be getting very good players.
It’s a shame that many of the other players I really like in this draft fall between the first and the second round, meaning that it’s unlikely the Flyers could get them unless they reach with their pick or if they fall massively on the day, which is unlikely but not impossible. One such player would be Zion Nybeck. I am a big fan of Nybeck, and so is our good friend Alex Appleyard:
This would be another Gaudreau, DeBrincat, Point and Gallagher situation all over again if that happened in the @NHL draft.— Alexander Appleyard (@avappleyard) June 22, 2020
Who cares if he is 5'8? He has been going to the net hard and winning board battles in the @SHLse... AND he has a skill-set of a top ~15 talent. #NHLDraft https://t.co/nELDt9KEXp
Unfortunately, he will likely go later than when the Flyers pick in the first round, and earlier than the Flyers pick in the second round. I don’t believe for a minute that he could go as low as 73. Therefore, I’m not including him as one of my options, though I would love it if the Flyers picked Nybeck, especially considering how heavily they scout in Sweden.
Anyway, without further delay, here are my three players of choice for the second round:
We’re staying locked in on the Swedes with Helge Grans, a big defenseman (6’3”, 193 lbs) playing for the Malmo organization at their U20 level, and for the first team. At the U20 level, he scored 27 points in 27 games, however, only tallied three points in 21 SHL contests. This isn’t too big of a deal, considering he’s a defenseman, but that is a noticeable drop off.
One of the things that makes Grans an intriguing option is the fact that he is a right handed shot, which means if he does indeed make it to the Flyers, gives him a much smoother fit into the lineup playing alongside one of our many existing LHD. He’s also shown that for a big guy, he can play in an offensively activated role. He’s worked his way into a power-play role in both the Malmo setup, and with Sweden’s Juniors.
The only knocks against Grans are that his skating isn’t amazing, but that can sometimes be expected when you’re that big and haven’t quite filled out yet. Otherwise, he’s a decently well rounded defender, with good puck moving ability and a physical side to match. He’s certainly worth this pick.
A native of Russia, Gushchin plays in the USHL for Muskegon where he scored 47 points in 42 games, being named to the USHL’s third-team of all stars. Many of the reports on him that I’ve seen rank his skill set as first round grade. He is a prototypical “undersized” wing at 5’8” in that he is a very fast skater. He can reach his top speed very quickly, and the other facets of his skating ability such as edge work, agility, and change of speed are nothing short of spectacular. He combines this with his ability to maintain control of the puck at this speed, and he has fantastic hands. He is primarily a playmaker who loves to out-dangle defenders one-on-one, reads the ice well, can find teammates from anywhere, and isn’t afraid to put himself on the line to make a play.
All of this makes Gushchin sound like the next McDavid. However, he isn’t the best defensively, and while you can argue the offense makes up for it, he didn’t exactly light the world on fire with his numbers. He isn’t a particularly strong player either, and going forward he will need to improve on that. According to Pronman as well, Gushchin has had far too many off-nights, and while his compete level is always there, it is hard to ignore when he simply becomes a non-factor.
Gushchin is a hit or miss prospect, but yet again, all prospects are, so I wouldn’t hesitate to pick him.
Francis is a guy who made a jump in the rankings due to a breakout first half with Cape Breton of the QMJHL. In 2018-19, he scored 32 points in 64 games. Try bettering that to 72 in 61? That’s exactly what Francis did. At 5’9”, he isn’t the biggest guy in the world, but don’t let that fool you.
Francis is a playmaking winger who according to Corey Pronman, can “pull off some very unique 1-on-1 plays”. He sees plays and opportunities to move around defenders that serve as a knack to his creativity and hockey intelligence. Like many of the smaller, more creative players, Francis can easily run a power-play. However, he isn’t the best skater in the world, and his speed is just okay. He’s also received knocks on his size, but I no longer see that as impactful at all. If you’re a good hockey player, you will make it in the end.
I would like Francis as a pick, though he would certainly be a project if the Flyers are looking to fill him into a bottom six role. A Scott Laughton-esque revival of his mentality may be needed, but he would obviously improve the team if his development can come out positively.