NHL Mock Draft 2019: Philadelphia Flyers select Ville Heinola with No. 26 pick

A TRADE. And a defenseman!

Back at the end of May, we made our pick for the Flyers in the SB Nation NHL mock draft, grabbing BCHL forward Alex Newhook with the 11th pick. That was scheduled to be the Flyers’ only pick of the first round, so why are we bringing it back up? BECAUSE WE HAVE A TRADE TO ANNOUNCE.

(For maximum effect, please press play on the below video to hear an airhorn noise.)

Without further ado ...

Philadelphia acquires the 26th pick in the 2019 NHL Draft from Calgary in exchange for the 41st and 72nd picks in the 2019 NHL Draft.

Before we get to the who (as in, who we picked in the draft), let’s talk a bit about the how first. Calgary (by way of our Flames blog, Matchsticks and Gasoline) actually reached out to us looking to trade down, offering the above package which we went on to accept. The idea to trade down makes some sense for Calgary, who is lacking a second-round pick in this draft and may be looking to get an extra bite at the apple to bring some extra depth to their pipeline.

That said, at this cost, we thought the deal made sense for the Flyers. If there’s one thing the Flyers do have in their prospect ranks, it’s depth. Lots of it. Sending out an extra pick if it means a better chance at a high-ceiling prospect — even if a just-barely better chance — is a worthwhile trade for the Flyers given where they stand, and we thought the value of effectively giving up a third-round pick to move up 15 spots was advantageous for us.

Do you approve of our decision to trade picks 41 and 72 for pick 26 in the SBN NHL mock draft?


So with that, let’s catch up on where the draft has gone so far:

1. New Jersey selects Jack Hughes, via All About The Jersey.

2. NY Rangers select Kaapo Kakko, via Blueshirt Banter.

3. Chicago selects Alex Turcotte, via Second City Hockey.

4. Colorado selects Kirby Dach, via Mile High Hockey.

5. Los Angeles selects Dylan Cozens, via Jewels From The Crown.

6. Detroit selects Bowen Byram, via Winging It In Motown.

7. Buffalo selects Cole Caufield, via Die By The Blade.

8. Edmonton selects Peyton Krebs, via Copper & Blue.

9. Anaheim selects Trevor Zegras, via Anaheim Calling.

10. Vancouver selects Matthew Boldy, via Nucks Misconduct.

11. Philadelphia selects Alex Newhook, via Broad Street Hockey.

12. Minnesota selects Vasili Podkolzin, via Hockey Wilderness.

13. Florida selects Philip Broberg, via Litter Box Cats.

14. Arizona selects Victor Soderstrom, via Five For Howling.

15. Montreal selects Thomas Harley, via Eyes On The Prize.

16. NY Rangers select Arthur Kaliyev, via Blueshirt Banter.

17. Vegas selects Raphael Lavoie, via Knights On Ice.

18. Dallas selects Moritz Seider, via Defending Big D.

19. Ottawa selects Bobby Brink, via Silver Seven.

20. Colorado selects Cam York, via Mile High Hockey.

21. Pittsburgh selects Nils Hoglander, via Pensburgh.

22. Los Angeles selects Matthew Robertson, via Jewels From The Crown.

23. NY Islanders select Ryan Suzuki, via Lighthouse Hockey.

24. Nashville selects Philip Tomasino, via On The Forecheck.

25. Washington selects Patrik Puistola, via Japers Rink.

Trades: NY Rangers traded picks 20 and 49 to Colorado for pick 16.

With that, we approach the podium for the second time tonight.

With the 26th overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, Philadelphia selects, from Luuko in the Finnish league, Ville Heinola.

The basics

Birthdate: March 2, 2001
2018-19 Statistics: 2 G, 12 A in 34 GP / Playoffs: 1 G, 3 A in 7 GP / 2019 U20 WJC: 1 G, 1 A in 5 GP / 2019 U18 WJC: 1 G, 3 A in 5 GP
Size: 5’11”, 181 (via)
Nationality: Finnish (Honkajoki)

What the experts think

Button/TSN: No. 22
Central Scouting: No. 4 among European skaters
ISS: Not ranked in top 31
McKeen’s (April): No. 41
McKenzie/TSN (midseason): No. 24
Pronman/The Athletic: No. 28

What did we like about Heinola?

It’s rare, in this day and age, for defensemen to succeed without having either the size or the skating ability to keep up with the game. But Ville Heinola plainly has not just the skill but the hockey instincts to survive in any kind of setting. His puck-moving ability is excellent despite not being a great skater, and his defensive instincts help him be in the right place at the right time when in his own portion of the ice. His strong two-way profile makes him the kind of player the Flyers’ brass figures to like.

Heinola had a strong draft year, getting called up to the Finnish league and holding his own against adults after dominating in the under-20 league to start the season. He also played key roles for Finland on both their under-20 and under-18 World Junior Championship teams this year. The Flyers have been intrigued by high draft-season risers over the past few seasons, and while the man ultimately pulling the trigger on the decision for who to draft has changed, it wouldn’t be surprising if the scouts still in place have similar thoughts in this instance.

The Flyers haven’t drafted a defenseman in the first round of the draft since taking Travis Sanheim five years ago in Philadelphia Ivan Provorov four years ago, and they’ve taken six first-round forwards since then (seven if you include Newhook, who we took earlier in the mock). While the upside of the Flyers’ current group of young defenders is obvious and immense, the long-term prospect cupboard on the blue line is slowly starting to thin out as the prospects of the past few years graduate to the NHL. While we here at BSH advocate selecting the best player available no matter their position, there is a lot of appeal in bringing in someone who would immediately become the team’s best defensive prospect outside of the NHL (unless you still consider Phil Myers a prospect, though he is expected to make the NHL team next season).

What are the big questions surrounding Heinola?

The aforementioned physical limitations are the most obvious part of Heinola’s profile to poke holes in. While he’s fared well against pros in Finland, it remains to be seen how he’ll do in North America as the players get bigger and faster and he’ll have to find new ways to keep up.

Who else did we consider in this spot?

Big American defenseman Alex Vlasic, a Boston University commit who spent last year with the US National Development program, was the name we tossed around the most before coming to a consensus on Heinola.

With that, we call it quits this year in the SBN NHL mock draft. (For real this time — I promise, we did not make another trade in the draft’s final five picks.) Let us know what you thought of our pick via the comments and the poll below. (Note: Some mobile devices may be unable to view the below poll.)

How do you feel about our selection of Ville Heinola with the No. 26 pick of the SBN NHL mock draft?

Love it - he’s who I’d have chosen too39
Like it - not my #1 choice here, but happy with it146
Meh - I accept it, but definitely not what I’d have done138
Hate it - I am disgusted with this pick and you should feel bad for making it49