Saturday, June 27, 2015

2015 Flyers Draft Recap

The NHL Draft came and went and the Philadelphia Flyers could not have asked for a better outcome especially in the first round on Friday. At the beginning of the night, the Flyers started the draft with two picks, the seventh and 29th overall. By the end, they ended up with two top 14 ranked prospects.

With the seventh overall, the Flyers, for the third consecutive season, picked a defenseman when they selected from the WHL, Brandon Wheat Kings Ivan Provorov.

  • Ivan Provorov (Russia)
    • Position: Defense; Shoots: Left
    • Size: 6'0" 201lbs
    • Stats: 15 goals & 46 assists for 61 points in 60 games playing with the Brandon Wheat Kings of the WHL
    • Scouting Reports
      • Craig Button: Ivan understands the game extremely well and is able to use his considerable talents to contribute in any area and every situation. Calm, poised and competitive he is in command when he’s on the ice. The best defenseman in this draft and I see him as a number one who will anchor a blue line.
      • Future Considerations: A strong transitional blueliner…a smooth skater that keeps up with quicker opponents and can create some separation with a decent first step…very patient and poised with the puck…moves the puck in a way that will translate well at the next level… always makes forward progress when he is on the ice…shows good patience and purpose in his decisions…strong in the corners…hockey sense elevates the effectiveness of all his other abilities…a distributor of the puck that can head up a power play with great vision…steady and reliable at both ends. 
      • Elite Prospects: An offensively gifted defenseman who can direct the game's pace when the puck is on his stick. Provorov is a quick and agile skater with an accurate release on his shot, which he can get off anywhere below the blue line; creates many chances on the power play and can even create offense during the penalty kill. Is an adroit and creative passer who knows how to use his teammates well. All-in-all, a complete defenseman who knows how goals are scored and executes accordingly.
    • NHL Comparable Player According to TSN: Mark Giordano
    • Notes: Ivan Provorov (pronounced: pro VOR off), who played at a point per game pace, had an excellent rookie season with the Wheat Kings coming in at fourth in scoring among all defenseman in the WHL, only four behind the leader, Travis Sanheim (Flyers 2014 first round draft pick). Some scouts have Provorov as the most NHL ready defenseman in the draft. Provorov said in an interview that he doesn't think he had any weaknesses to his game, yet still wants to improve in all aspects. 
    • Highlights:
After drafting Provorov, the Flyers were decided they wanted to move down in the draft to get a player from their wish list. So when Toronto went on the clock at 24th, the Flyers talked to the Leafs and the two teams agreed on a trade. 

The Philadelphia Flyers traded their 29th (first round) and 61st (second round) to the Toronto Maple Leafs for their 24th overall selection. 

And with the 24th overall, the Flyers selected Ottawa 67's forward Travis Konecny. 
  • Travis Konecny (Canada)
    • Position: Center/Right Wing; Shoots: Right
    • Size: 5'11" 176lbs
    • Stats: 29 goals & 39 assists for 68 points in 60 games playing with the Ottawa 67's of the OHL
    • Scouting Reports:
      • Craig Button: Travis is a very determined competitor who refuses to be denied. He will push through resistance and battle for every bit of space. Has a good shot and can score from 35 feet but will pay the price around net. An improvement in speed and quickness will allow him to get more room and opportunity.
      • Future Considerations: A skilled forward who is a threat in all three zones…has great speed and quickness with tremendous feet and balance on his edges; great agility…very flashy with the puck, but smart…able to create space for himself with his quickness and his vision…impressive puck-distributing skills…moves the puck very well and is constantly able to set up his linemates with excellent chances…possesses a hard shot with a deceptive release…effort level is terrific each shift as he is a hard worker and high-compete player…hits, battles and plays hard defensively; always involved…fun player to watch and is already one of the OHL’s most dangerous scorers.
      • Elite Prospects: A talented scoring forward that can play either as a center or on the wing; plays with the bite and intensity of a guy who is willing to do anything to win a game. Possesses dynamic skating ability that allows him to accelerate rapidly with each step, incredible hockey sense, electrifying puckhandling skills, and a lightning release on his shot; when you put this skillset together with hard-nosed determination, proactiveness in all three zones, and a physical willingness to grind and persevere, you get a game-changer who can be extremely difficult to play against.
    • NHL Comparable Player According to TSN: Pat Verbeek
    • Notes: Future considerations has Travis Konecny as high as 11 citing his flashy goals and quickness while Craig Button does not even have Konecny in his top 30, coming in at 33. However, without Button, the rest of the seven scouts average him at rank 13.7. But do to his impressive highlight reel goals and his drive to win, he may be the surprise of the draft. Konecny already possesses a ton of heart and leadership qualities so much so that he was chosen as the captain of the 67's already at the age of 17.
    • Highlights:

Day 2:
The remainder of the draft took place on Saturday where rounds two through seven were completed. The Flyers were scheduled to pick seven times and the only change came when they wound up trading their 99th overall to the Los Angeles Kings for 104th overall and a 6th round pick in 2016. 

Results: 
  • Third Round (two picks): 
    • 70th overall (from San Jose via Tye McGinn trade) - Felix Sandstrom (Swedish)
      • Position: Goaltender; Catches: Left
      • Size: 6'2" 192lbs
      • Stats: 2.63 GAA, .907 save percentage in 14 games playing with the Brynäs J20 of the SuperElit (Sweden)
      • Notes: Sandstrom was ranked third by Central Scouting for European playing goaltenders. The Swedish born goalie played most of last season with Sweden's 20 and under junior league; however, he did play two games for the SHL, Sweden's top professional league and he was excellent in those two contests logging 1.09 GAA and a .963 save percentage. 
    • 90th overall (from Tampa Bay via Braydon Coburn trade) - Matej Tomek (Slovakia)
      • Position: Goaltender; Catches: Left 
      • Size: 6'3" 181lbs
      • Stats: 1.83 GAA, 928 save percentage in 33 games playing with the Topeka RoadRunners of the NAHL
      • Notes: Tomek was ranked as low as 67 by Bob McKenzie and was number five on Central Scouting's goaltender list. Tomek is committed to the University of North Dakota meaning former UND coach and current Flyers coach Dave Hakstol recruited him.
  • Fourth Round (two picks): 
    • 98th overall - Samuel Dove-McFalls (Canada)
      • Position: Center; Shoots: Left
      • Size: 6'2" 207lbs 
      • Stats: 14 goals & 20 assists for 34 points in 66 games playing with the Saint John Sea Dogs of the QMJHL
      • Notes: Dove-McFalls was ranked as high as 106 by ISS and as low as 70 by Central Scouting. Dove-McFalls, who scored just ten points in his rookie season in the QMJHL tripled that total during his draft year. The Montreal native was also picked as an assistant captain at the age of 17 for the Sea Dogs this season. 
    • 104th overall - Mikhail Vorobyov (Russia)
      • Position: Center; Shoots: Left
      • Size: 6'2" 198lbs
      • Stats: 8 goals and 12 assists for 20 points in 39 games playing with the Tolpar Ufa of the MHL (Russian junior league)
      • Notes: Vorobyov was ranked 24th in Central Scouting for European league skaters. Vorobyov played for Russia in the World Junior Championship 18 and under (WJC-18) picking up four points in five games. 
  • Fifth Round: 
    • 128th overall - David Kase (Czech Republic) 
      • Position: Center/Left Wing; Shoots: Left
      • Size: 5'11" 170lbs
      • Stats: 7 goals & 7 assists for 14 points in 30 games playing for the KLH Chomutov of the Czech2 (Czech Republic's second highest league)
      • Kase (pronounced: Kash ay) was ranked as high as 150 by Hockey Prospects yet as low as 76 by ISS; he was also ranked 11 by Central Scouting for European league skaters. Kase impressed many with his play at the WJC-18 where he picked up five points in four games while captaining the Czech Republic team. Kase also played 17 games in the Czech juniors (regular season and playoffs combined) scoring 12 goals and 27 points. 
  • Sixth Round: 
    • 158th overall - Cooper Marody (USA)
      • Position: Right Wing: Shoots: Right
      • Size: 6'0" 176lbs 
      • Stats: 22 goals and 36 assists for 58 points in 52 games playing with the Muskegon Lumberjacks and then Sioux Falls Stampede of the USHL
      • Notes: Marody was ranked 83 by ISS and 53 by Central Scouting for North American skaters. Marody got off to a bit of a slow start with the Lumberjacks picking up just nine points in the first 14 games before catching fire after he joined the Stampede. He registered 49 points in 38 games with Sioux Falls and then scored another 12 points in 12 playoff games helping the Stampede win the USHL Clark Cup. Marody is committed to the University of Michigan next season.
  • Seventh Round: 
    • 188th overall - Ivan Fedotov (Russia)
      • Position: Goalitender; Catches: Left
      • Size: 6'6" 192lbs
      • Stats: 1.95 GAA, .911 save percentage in 41 games playing with the Reaktor Nizhnekamsk of the MHL (Russian junior league)
      • Notes: Fedotov played very well in his second season in the MHL. The tall Russian improved his GAA from 3.30 to 1.95 while hiking up his save percentage from .866 to .911 from his first season to his second. Fedotov was also named the player of the month in the MHL for November.

Moments after the draft completed, the Flyers made one more trade. The Philadelphia Flyers officially traded Nicklas Grossmann and Chris Pronger (his contract) to the Arizona Coyotes for Sam Gagner and a conditional pick (either a 2016 4th or a 2017 3rd). Sam Gagner, 25, will come with a $3.2 million cap hit. Gagner, a former first round pick in 2007, 7th overall, scored 41 points in 81 games for the Coyotes last season. 


Flyers Draft Notes: & Numbers:
  • Drafted 9 players from 5 separate countries: Russia - 3; Canada - 2; USA - 1, Czech Republic - 1; Slovakia - 1; Sweden - 1
  • Drafted three Russian born players in the same draft for the first time in 23 years
  • First time ever that the Flyers selected a Russian born player with their first round pick
  • First time in 16 years that the Flyers did not select at least 3 Canadians
  • Tomek became the first Slovakian born player drafted by the Flyers in 11 years
  • Drafted a defenseman first for the third consecutive season - was the first time in 37 years that the organization selected defenseman first in three straight years (1976-78).
  • Drafted 5 forwards, 3 goalies, and 1 defenseman
  • Only the fourth time in Flyers draft history that they selected 3 goalies in the same draft 
  • Average height of drafted Flyers: 6'1"
  • Average weight of drafted Flyers: 188lbs
  • Drafted 7 lefties and 2 righties 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Flyers 2015 Draft Preview

Now that the Chicago Blackhawks have won the Stanley Cup, it is time to focus on the upcoming NHL Draft. The 2015 NHL Entry Draft, which is already being compared to the incredibly deep 2003 draft, will take place on June 26th (Round 1) and June 27th (Rounds 2 through 7) and the Philadelphia Flyers have two picks in the first round (7th and 29th overall) and ten total selections.

The comparable 2003 draft included the likes of Marc Andre Fleury (1st overall), Eric Staal, Thomas Vanek, Ryan Suter, Dion Phaneuf, Jeff Carter, Dustin Brown, Brent Seabrook, Zach Parise, Ryan Getzlaf, Ryan Kesler, Mike Richards, and Corey Perry. All first round drafted players played at least 1 game in the NHL, while 28 played over two seasons and 21 are still currently starting in the NHL.

Comparing the 2015 draft to 2003 is a bit premature; however, there is merit behind the predictions. The 2003 draft didn't claim to have superstars like the 2004 and 2005 drafts which saw Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby drafted first overall respectively. The 2015 draft is predicted to possibly hold two superstars with Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel sitting at the top. Along with that claim, many scouts are predicting that this draft could see its top 40 players make an impact in the NHL in the near future. So who are these players with such lofty expectations?

Before we get a look at the top projected players in the draft, let's take a look at where the Philadelphia Flyers will pick. Prior to this season, Philadelphia only had five picks in this draft: one in the first round, one in the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh; however, after new GM Ron Hextall started laying down his foundation making a slew of trades, the Flyers now find themselves with 10 picks in the draft:
  • First Round (two picks): 7th overall and 29th overall (from Tampa Bay via the Braydon Coburn trade)
  • Second Round: 61st overall (from Chicago via the Kimmo Timonen trade)
  • Third Round (two picks): 70th overall (from San Jose via Tye McGinn trade) and 90th overall (from Tampa Bay via Coburn trade)
  • Fourth Round (two picks): 98th overall and 99th overall (from Columbus via Scott Hartnell trade)
  • Fifth Round: 128th overall
  • Sixth Round: 158th overall
  • Seventh Round: 188th overall

In the first three rounds of the last three drafts (nine total picks), the Flyers have chosen five defensemen, three forwards, and one goaltender:
  • 2012: 1st Rd: Scott Laughton (F); 2nd Rd: Anthony Stolarz (G); 3rd Rd: Shayne Gostisbehere (D)
  • 2013: 1st Rd: Sam Morin (D); 2nd Rd: Robert Hagg (D); 3rd Rd: Tyrell Goulbourne (F)
  • 2014: 1st Rd: Travis Sanheim (D); 2nd Rd: Nicolas Aube-Kubel (F); 3rd Rd: Mark Friedman (D)

Their defensive pool is becoming deeper and deeper with Travis Sanheim, Sam Morin, Shayne Gostisbehere, Robert Hagg and Mark Friedman all showing promise this season; however, the 
Flyers would still be wise to chose the best player available even if it is another defenseman as franchise defenseman are not easy to come by. With that said, if the team has a defenseman and a forward listed equally, Philadelphia will likely pick the forward since their offensive talent pool is quite shallow. Scott Laughton is their only promising forward with Taylor Leier, Nick Cousins and Nicolas Aube-Kubel showing potential. 


Below is a list of prospects put in order based on the average projection of eight top ranked professional NHL scouts. The eight scouts used for this draft order are Bob MacKenzie of TSN, International Scouting Services (ISS), Future Considerations, Damien Cox of SportsNet, McKeen Hockey, Craig Button of TSN, Hockey Prospects, and Central Scouting (North American & European).
*[Music in some of the highlight videos may not be appropriate for children. Videos can be muted by clicking the speaker button next to play in the bottom right corner.]*
  1. Connor McDavid (Canada)
    • Position: Center; Shoots: Left
    • Size: 6'1" 194lbs
    • Stats: 44 goals & 76 assists for 126 points in 47 games playing with the Erie Otters of the OHL
    • Scouting Reports:
      • Craig Button: Two words; unprecedented speed. Skating speed, hand quickness and mental processing that he executes simultaneously to threaten defenders and create opportunities. He would be the first pick at every draft since Sidney Crosby in 2005, perhaps even in Crosby’s draft year.
      • Future Considerations: An intelligent and highly creative player who makes dynamic plays that will pull you out of your seat…a fluid skater who moves with outstanding speed, agility, solid quickness and an impressive change of pace…he controls the game whenever he touches the ice, and uses his intelligence and vision to put the puck exactly where he wants it…has a very sharp, accurate shot that allows him to pick corners or small openings on the tender even while in full flight…not afraid to work the wall and retrieve pucks himself…has all the tools to become the NHL’s next superstar…just an incredible offensive talent.
      • Elite Prospects: A generational talent, Connor McDavid is a catalyst for positive plays in all three zones. Thinks the game analytically and recognizes scoring chances before they have even happened. Blessed with good size and an elite-level skillset, which includes nimble skating and deft puckhandling. All-in-all, a dominant center with all of the will, power, and intangibles to become a successful hockey luminary.
    • NHL Comparable Player According to TSN: Hall of Famer Gilbert Perreault
    • Notes:  Connor McDavid is the unanimous number one pick. Every single scout, professional and amateur, has McDavid at number one. His talent is unquestionable and he will be a star in the NHL very soon, if not next year. The only question that remains about the number one pick is, how long will it will take the Edmonton Oilers new GM Peter Chiarelli to run up on stage and yell "McDavid!"
    • Highlights:
  2. Jack Eichel (USA)
    • Position: Center; Shoots: Right 
    • Size: 6'2" 196lbs
    • Stats: 26 goals & 45 assists for 71 Points in 40 games playing for Boston University of the NCAA
    • Scouting Reports:
      • Craig Button: Jack’s grace allows him to make it look easy. His power allows him to impact. Exceptional vision, to the point of seeing the unseen and the ability to exploit those opportunities quickly with his great reach and puck skills. Outside of the 2005 and 2015 drafts, Eichel would be the first pick in every other draft.
      • Future Considerations: A very consistent offensive force who brings it every shift…tough to contain for his peers as he can bull his way where he wants as well as maneuver the puck with skilled hands…is a responsible defensive player who has the ability to pick-pocket the puck on the backcheck and start up ice quickly…is dangerous with a strong selection of shots, plus elite-level playmaking skills that include the ability to find seams with impressive vision and deceptive passing...gives strong efforts and plays in all situations…relentless on puck pursuit…NHL star in the making. 
      • Elite Prospects: When Jack Eichel is on the ice, the pace of the play shifts; if players can't keep up, they are left behind. A consistent scoring threat on the ice, Eichel possesses next-level hockey-IQ, an elite-level skillset, and the natural size and work ethic to let him play his role as a scoring power center. All-in-all, Jack Eichel is that uncontainable, dynamic center that can make other players look out of place in his wake.
    • NHL Comparable Player According to TSN: Ryan Getzlaf 
    • Notes: Eichel is the unanimous number two pick. As sure as the scouts are of McDavid, they are equally confident when it comes to Eichel. The American center is projected on all scouting reports as the sure number two pick. Eichel also projects to be a star in the NHL and he even went as far to say that 'he is the best player in the draft' at the NHL combine.
    • Highlights:
  3. Dylan Strome (Canada)
    • Position: Center; Shoots: Left
    • Size: 6'3" 185lbs
    • Stats: 45 goals & 84 assists for 129 points in 68 games playing with the Erie Otters of the OHL
    • Scouting Reports:
      • Craig Button: Dylan won’t pull you out of your seat for what he does individually but will make you stand up and notice what he does to help the team be successful. Smart in every area of the game he is defined by substance not flash. An elite, complete centre necessary to winning.
      • Future Considerations: Elite offensive forward…a big forward who moves well, and demonstrated some very good power and speed…is tough to contain as he used his speed, strength and creativity to beat defenders...has great vision with the puck and sees the ice very well…uses his crafty hands to dance around defenders and get into positions where he could shoot or set-up teammates…distributes the puck well and is able to create a lot of chances…has a lethal wrist-shot with great power and a pretty good release…uses his size and reach on the boards to win the puck and get in good supporting areas to pick up loose pucks…defensive effort goes up and down.
      • Elite Prospects: A competitive offensive dynamo in nature, Dylan Strome possesses the technical skills and the intangible traits that differentiate leaders from followers. He makes his own luck; no number that shows up beside his name on the score sheet is handed to him on a silver platter. He consistently showcases the size and speed to attack and break through the opposition defense, and always knows where his linemates are in relativity to his position. Possesses a hard, accurate release on his shot, which he is never afraid to use. All-in-all, Dylan Strome is a player who wants to win more than anybody else, a person who takes it upon himself to do everything he can to help his team win, and a leader who provides his team with the motivation and will that it takes to win. 
    • NHL Comparable Player According to TSN: Hall of Famer Ron Francis 
    • Notes: Outside of the two powerhouses, McDavid and Eichel, Strome is the best center in the draft. Strome, who led the OHL in points including McDavid (Strome played 21 more games though) will no doubt help any team who takes him (most likely Arizona or Toronto) very soon as he is an extremely well rounded prospect. Strome, who played on the same line as McDavid on the Erie Otters for much of the season, was questioned as to whether he could be as elite without McDavid. However, when his linemate missed 21 games due to a hand injury, Strome registered an incredible 35 points, putting an end to that question.
    • Highlights:
  4. Mitchell Marner (Canada)
    • Position: Center/Right Wing; Shoots: Right 
    • Size: 5'11" 163lbs
    • Stats: 44 goals & 82 assists for 126 points in 63 games playing for the London Knights of the OHL
    • Scouting Reports:
      • Craig Button: Exceptional creativity with poise and passing skills that allow him to create offense quickly. He’s elusive and very hard to keep in check because he is constantly in motion. He plays the game in the moment and is quickly responding to opportunity. The best winger in the draft.
      • Future Considerations: Smallish forward with a real scoring touch…scores in multiple ways…always in the right spot to receive a pass…a good wrist shot, and he plays with a lot of grit and isn't afraid to crash the net for chances…has the hands and creativity to go end to end with the puck…speedy and very agile…excellent foot speed and quickness, and is tough to contain when he gets going; he can beat nearly anyone on the ice with his speed…impressive hand speed and creativity…sees the ice well and makes some really good passes…is a threat on each shift…work ethic and compete level are impressive…relentless pressure on the puck.
      • Elite Prospects: A dynamic offensive forward that backchecks hard and establishes his presence through playing smart, puck-possession hockey. A very quick skater gifted with great hands and hockey sense. Battles hard in all three zones and shows a willingness to do whatever it takes to get the puck to the back of the net; an unselfish player. Embodies the definition of a dynamic number-generating machine who makes the players around him better.
    • NHL Comparable Player According to TSN: Patrick Kane
    • Notes: The only knock on Marner is his size. At just 163lbs he will have to add some muscle; however in this day and age, the NHL is seeing more and more smaller players make impacts. To name a few: Claude Giroux, Tyler Johnson, Johnny Gaudreau and a player he is already drawing comparisons to, Patrick Kane.
    • Highlights:
  5. Noah Hanifin (USA)
    • Position: Defense; Shoots: Left
    • Size: 6'2" 205lbs
    • Stats: 5 goals & 18 assists for 23 points in 37 games playing for Boston College of the NCAA
    • Scouting Reports:
      • Craig Button: Effortless skater with excellent mobility and footwork. I see him as a very good player in the mold of Jay Bouwmeester not as an elite defenseman because I have yet to see a clear demonstration of elite offensive creativity. That is why in my estimation, he is not the best defenseman in the draft.
      • Future Considerations: The 2015 draft’s top defenseman…a smart and powerful two-way force… big, but very mobile... moves well with good speed and agility…uses his strength and reach very well when he rushes the puck, and he is tough to contain when he gets going…is skilled and confident with the puck and has the ability to take it end-to-end…used his size and body well to contain players and box them out on the walls…is smart and makes great defensive decisions…has an instinctive knack for knowing where his teammates are on the ice…supremely skilled quarterbacking the power play. 
      • Elite Prospects: A dynamic two-way defenseman that has no holes in his game. An exceptionally strong skater who isn't afraid to take the puck himself and move it up-ice. The confidence that he has in his abilities lets him thrive under heightened competitive levels. The skilled defenseman's undeniably high level of hockey sense is showcased whenever he touches the puck in the offensive zone. Defensively, he is aggressive, constantly pushing for puck possession and a quick transition to offense, but at the same time steadfast, reliable, and patient. He is poised beyond his years and mature in his decision making. All-in-all, Noah Hanifin is the ideal all-around defenseman that leaves no area of his game untended. 
    • NHL Comparable Player According to TSN: Jay Bouwmeester
    • Notes: Outside of Craig Button, who ranked him at 12, (no other scouts in the eight represented in this list have him outside number five), Noah Hanifin is regarded as the best defenseman in this draft. Many believed had it not been for the two superstars going one and two, Hanifin and Aaron Ekblad (2014) would have been the first back to back defenseman picked first overall for the first time since the 1995 and 1996 drafts. 
    • Highlights:
  6. Ivan Provorov (Russia)
    • Position: Defense; Shoots: Left
    • Size: 6'0" 201lbs
    • Stats: 15 goals & 46 assists for 61 points in 60 games playing with the Brandon Wheat Kings of the WHL
    • Scouting Reports
      • Craig Button: Ivan understands the game extremely well and is able to use his considerable talents to contribute in any area and every situation. Calm, poised and competitive he is in command when he’s on the ice. The best defenseman in this draft and I see him as a number one who will anchor a blue line.
      • Future Considerations: A strong transitional blueliner…a smooth skater that keeps up with quicker opponents and can create some separation with a decent first step…very patient and poised with the puck…moves the puck in a way that will translate well at the next level… always makes forward progress when he is on the ice…shows good patience and purpose in his decisions…strong in the corners…hockey sense elevates the effectiveness of all his other abilities…a distributor of the puck that can head up a power play with great vision…steady and reliable at both ends. 
      • Elite Prospects: An offensively gifted defenseman who can direct the game's pace when the puck is on his stick. Provorov is a quick and agile skater with an accurate release on his shot, which he can get off anywhere below the blue line; creates many chances on the power play and can even create offense during the penalty kill. Is an adroit and creative passer who knows how to use his teammates well. All-in-all, a complete defenseman who knows how goals are scored and executes accordingly.
    • NHL Comparable Player According to TSN: Mark Giordano
    • Notes: Ivan Provorov (pronounced: pro vor off), who played at a point per game pace, had an excellent rookie season with the Wheat Kings coming in at fourth in scoring among all defenseman in the WHL, only four behind the leader, Travis Sanheim (Flyers 2014 first round draft pick). Some scouts have Provorov as the most NHL ready defenseman in the draft.
    • Highlights:
  7. Lawson Crouse (Canada)
    • Position: Left Wing; Shoots: Left 
    • Size: 6'4" 216lbs
    • Stats: 29 goals & 22 assists for 51 points in 56 games playing with the Kingston Frontenacs of the OHL
    • Scouting Report:
      • Craig Button: Lawson has unique skills and abilities and while he may not have prolific offensive capabilities, he has a game where he will create offensive opportunities in multiple ways. A smart, strong skater with power and a great desire to create room and space with purposeful play. One of the few power players in draft.
      • Future Considerations: A big-bodied forward who gives opposing defenses headaches with his effort on the forecheck…tough to contain with his huge frame and strength…impossible to separate from the puck and consistently is successful winning pucks and generating scoring chances through his hard work…moves the puck well with good vision and passing skill…a strong net-front presence… has decent speed for his size, though he could improve his quickness…plays hard on defense; forces plays and takes away angles…uses his size to play physical, including laying some devastating hits…is a moose along the wall down low…tremendous potential going forward.
      • Elite Prospects: A big-bodied power winger with the ability to physically dominate, making him a prominent forechecking presence every night. Possesses good hands that can be used to make crisp passes or to let loose accurate, NHL-level shots; paired with his strength and skating ability, his skill set allows him to contribute offensively, as well as create space for teammates. 
    • NHL Comparable Player According to TSN: Andrew Ladd
    • Notes: Lawson Crouse (pronounced: kraus) is widely considered one of the safest yet most controversial early pick in this year's draft. As the top power forward in the draft, Crouse is being compared to Milan Lucic. He is projected as an NHL ready player already but his role has yet to be determined. If his offense develops as many project, he could be a top line player; however, if his offensive game doesn't translate to the NHL he projects as a third or fourth line battler.
    • Highlights:
  8. Zachary Werenski (USA)
    • Position: Defense; Shoots: Left
    • Size: 6'2" 207lbs
    • Stats: 9 goals & 16 assists for 25 points in 35 games for the University of Michigan of the NCAA
    • Scouting Report
      • Craig Button: Has ease to his game and is always under control but in command. Werenski is a fluid skater who beats pressure and can create space for himself offensively. He sees the play well and combined with very good passing skills, can create offense. I’ve always felt he deserved to be discussed in the same light as Hanifin.
      • Future Considerations: Smart and reliable two-way defenseman…shows skill at both ends of the ice...is a good skater with a smooth stride and fluid movements...handles the puck well with decent hand-skill, good strength and some elusiveness with it as he moves through the neutral zone…makes a great first pass and outlet…has good poise and vision with the puck on his stick…has a decent wrist shot, which he'll take from the point…isn't overly physical on defense and he needs to play tougher and meaner than he does…has good reach and he uses his stick well to take away lanes and force players wide and off the puck…poised on defense and recovers well. 
      • Elite Prospects: A smooth-skating, puck-moving defenseman that has a strong understanding of the game. Excels in key situations and is able to execute under pressure. Possesses good vision and awareness on the ice; uses his abilities to put offensive and defensive pressure on the opposition. All-in-all, a very strong all-around defenseman that consistently brings his game every night.
    • NHL Comparable Player According to TSN: Brent Seabrook
    • Notes: One of the youngest prospects in this draft, Zach Werenski finished his freshman season at the University of Michigan at the age of 17. Werenski's .71 point per game pace was the highest percentage for a 17 year old college defenseman in 25 years. Werenski doesn't turn 18 until mid July.
    • Highlights:
  9. Mikko Rantanen (Finland)
    • Position: Center/Winger; Shoots: Left
    • Size: 6'4" 212lbs
    • Stats: 9 goals & 19 assists for 28 points in 56 games playing with TPS of the Liiga
    • Scouting Reports:
      • Craig Button: Mikko is comfortable in a skating game as well as a physical game and because of this, he finds multiple ways to contribute. An all around player who can play in all situations and is highly productive without having to score. Closer to playing in NHL than farther away.
      • Future Considerations: A strong three-zone playmaker who is also defensively responsible…has an awkward upright skating stride, but gets from Point A to Point B just fine…not a big ”wow” factor to his game, but is a smooth, fluid, big-bodied forward who can be hard to handle…uses his strength and reach, along with his vision and hands, to protect the puck…has good instincts when to pass and when to hold…puck seems to follow him around the ice…good in his own zone and consistently makes himself available for a breakout pass…has impressive hockey sense and awareness…needs to work on his shot and add more muscle mass to his growing frame. 
      • Elite Prospects: An exceptionally talented playmaker and always a consistent threat on the ice; Rantanen is a combination of elite-level hockey sense, silky smooth hands, and nimble skating. Needs to improve his shot and physical play, as he doesn't take advantage of his size in many situations. All-in-all, an intelligent, big-bodied forward that oozes skill. 
    • NHL Comparable Player According to TSN: Jake Voracek
    • Notes: Mikko Rantanen is regarded as the best player who didn't play in North America this season as he is ranked number one in Central Scouting for players in European leagues. Rantanen played in the Liiga or the Finnish Elite League, Finland's top professional hockey league at 17 years old last year for 37 games then again this year for the entire 56 game season. Liiga is not generally known to be a high scoring league, not one player averaged a point per game this past season, however in his first full season, Rantanen already averaged .5 points per game. At just 18, Rantanen also showed enough leadership qualities that he was given the assistant captain role for his team, TPS.  
    • Highlights:
  10. Pavel Zacha (Czech Republic)
    • Position: Center/Left Wing; Shoots: Left
    • Size: 6'3" 212lbs
    • Stats: 16 goals & 18 assists for 34 points in 37 games playing with the Sarnia Sting of the OHL
    • Scouting Reports
      • Craig Button: A very good skating, hard driving player who wants to score. He has more of a winger’s mentality with respect to shooting and driving the net rather than a centre’s balance between playmaking and shooting. He’s determined but he projects as a winger in my estimation because of that dynamic.
      • Future Considerations: The top Czech prospect for the 2015 draft…a big boy who is pretty physical for his age…he will hit you because that's what he does…goes hard to the net and is relentless on the forecheck, which can be a scary sight for the opposing defensemen…has a strong shot that is both hard and accurate… good one-timer…prefers a shot to a pass…willing, but immature game defensively…goes back to defend the crease and knows how to use the stick in the defensive zone…good on PK where he gets his frame into lanes and just clears the puck when he gets the chance…patient player with good vision, soft hands and the ability to make one-on-one dekes…strong skater with good balance, but needs to get faster. 
      • Elite Prospects: Pavel Zacha is an offensively dynamic center with the size, speed, and skill to make a significant impact on the game. He can play physical, but is at his best when using his high-end offensive abilities, such as his shot, stickhandling, and footspeed, to generate numbers in the opposition's end of the ice. All-in-all, Zacha is a lethal weapon that can be depended upon to create, and finish, dangerous scoring chances whenever he is on the ice. 
    • NHL Comparable Player According to TSN: Eric Staal
    • Notes: Pavel Zacha (pronounced: zak-uh) is a tough one to rank. Scouts are all over the place when it comes to projecting the Czech native. Craig Button has him at 24, Future Consideration has him at 15 while McKeen Hockey ranks Zacha at 6. Many think he has possibly the best offensive upside (again excluding McDavid and Eichel) in the draft due to his excellent shot and speed. However, he lacks a two way game and tends to be reckless at times; he was suspended twice this season for a combined eight games, two for a slew foot and 6 for a charge from behind. Due to the aforementioned suspensions plus a nagging injury, Zacha only played 37 games not getting a chance to showcase his full potential, still he averaged about a point per game. 
    • Highlights:
  11. Mathew Barzal (Canada)
    • Position: Center; Shoots: Right
    • Size: 6'0" 181lbs
    • Stats: 12 goals & 45 assists for 57 points in 44 games playing with the Seattle Thunderbirds of the WHL
    • Scouting Reports:
      • Craig Button: Strong with the puck and exudes a great confidence when he has it. He’s quick but never hurried in his approach and because of his patience and poise he can break down defenses and create grade ‘A’ scoring chances. With an improved willingness to shoot, he becomes that much more dangerous.
      • Future Considerations: A smart, creative player with a wide, strong, fluid stride…plays a 200-foot game…makes good decisions with the puck…has decent strength, and looks bigger than listed…shows flashes of dominating offensive skills, but need to do so with more consistency…not overly physical, but will engage in contact for the puck…shows his creativity, vision and playmaking ability on the power play…finds seams and open ice with his impressive senses…has high-end offensive NHL upside. 
      • Elite Prospects: Matthew Barzal is an offensive forward with very good skating abilities. Has tremendous puck-handling and is poised with the puck, while looking for the perfect pass-option using his strong vision. Owns an excellent wrist shot with a remarkable release. Barzal reads the plays well, looking for interceptions and is not afraid to block shots, playing a reliable two-way game. A complete player with strong hockey sense. 
    • NHL Comparable Player According to TSN: Justin Williams
    • Notes: Mathew Barzal (pronounced: bar-ZEL) was so highly touted two years ago as a 16 year old, that he was even mentioned in the same light as McDavid. The two were projected to go one and two in this year's draft two season's back. Barzal had an impressive rookie season averaging roughly a point per game last year (McDavid also averaged a point per game in his rookie campaign); however, this year he was heavily slowed down by a knee injury early in the season. Barzal came back strong from the injury and averaged over 1.4 points per game for the rest of the season.
    • Highlights:
  12. Kyle Connor (USA)
    • Position: Center; Shoots: Left
    • Size: 6' 1" 183lbs 
    • Stats: 34 goals & 46 assists for 80 points in 56 games playing with the Youngstown Phantoms of the USHL
    • Scouting Reports:
      • Craig Button: His combination of smarts, skating ability and puck skills makes him a very dangerous offensive player because he can make any type of play as the situation dictates. He can speed the game up or slow the game down. Plays with great confidence and projects as a top line player who can complement others.
      • Future Considerations: A smart two-way forward who sets up his linemates with well-timed passes…is mature and intelligent with the puck, and does not rush a play no matter the pressure he is under…has impressive hands and vision, but it is the creativity and hockey sense that make him most dangerous…sees lanes opening and hits his targets consistently…also has a decent one-timer, but is definitely a pass-first guy… plays well away from the puck, constantly moving in order to get open…not overly physical…comes back deep into his own zone to make himself available…needs to add considerable strength, but the potential is there.
      • Elite Prospects: A dynamic two-way center with speed and creativity to burn. Consistently displays elite-level skating ability, and an astonishing top speed. Sees the ice very well and is constantly looking to either score or make a player; the confidence he has in his abilities lets him do things with the puck that other players wouldn't even try. Skillful puckhandling skills, paired with a deceptively accurate shot, make him a lethal scoring threat. His will to compete and, ultimately, win fuels his defensive game; he tracks the puck well and creates a lot of turnovers. All-in-all, a highly skilled, proactive center that can dominate in all three zones. 
    • NHL Comparable Player According to TSN: Brandon Saad 
    • Notes: Kyle Connor could become the steal of this draft, especially if he falls out of the top ten, given his all around skillset. The risk is that since he played for the USHL (United States Hockey League, top junior amateur US league) he did not go up against the most talented competition. In the last 20 years, only three players have been drafted in the top ten directly out of the USHL (not counting the US National Development Team or USDP). Connor is committed to the University of Michigan next year where he will be able to showcase his talents against a higher compete level; and he will succeed. 
    • Highlights:
  13. Timo Meier (Switzerland)
    • Position: Center/Right Wing; Shoots: Left
    • Size: 6'1" 209lbs
    • Stats: 44 goals & 46 assists for 90 points in 61 games playing with the Halifax Mooseheads of the QMJHL
    • Scouting Reports:
      • Craig Button: Timo is about power, skill and undeniable determination. He can beat you multiple ways either with finesse or power. He has astute awareness of how to play off his line mates and take advantage of opportunities. Relentless in his approach and potential to be an elite power player.
      • Future Considerations: Meier has really taken his game to the next level this season. He displays a nice shot, ability to make skilled plays with the puck, strong boards play and a willingness to engage in the dirty areas on the ice. At the World Juniors and even before that with his play starting in November really has been impressive as he has continued his strong game both creating offensive chances and playing more of a consistent power game than he showed us last season or even at the beginning of this season.
      • Elite Prospects: A physically dominant winger with the ability to play in a skill or character role. In the offensive end, Meier is very aware and gets himself into spaces where he can easily make seeing eye passes or snap hard, accurate shots. Can impact the game in a number of different ways, and is very consistent in his efforts. All-in-all, the kind of versatile player that you can put on a skill line, and trust to create dangerous chances, or on a shutdown line, and trust to help stop pucks from going into your net.
    • NHL Comparable Player According to TSN: Marian Hossa
    • Notes: Timo Meier (pronounced: tee-mo, my-er) is without doubt the best prospect coming out of the QMJHL. The only question is, was Meier as good because he played on a line with highly touted 2014 first round draft pick Nikolaj Ehlers, who collected 100 points, or not? Or did Meier help Ehlers excel even more this season? Regardless, his numbers speak for itself; plus Meier added 10 goals and 21 points in 14 playoff games when it matters the most.
    • Highlights:
  14. Travis Konecny (Canada)
    • Position: Center/Right Wing; Shoots: Right
    • Size: 5'11" 176lbs
    • Stats: 29 goals & 39 assists for 68 points in 60 games playing with the Ottawa 67's of the OHL
    • Scouting Reports:
      • Craig Button: Travis is a very determined competitor who refuses to be denied. He will push through resistance and battle for every bit of space. Has a good shot and can score from 35 feet but will pay the price around net. An improvement in speed and quickness will allow him to get more room and opportunity.
      • Future Considerations: A skilled forward who is a threat in all three zones…has great speed and quickness with tremendous feet and balance on his edges; great agility…very flashy with the puck, but smart…able to create space for himself with his quickness and his vision…impressive puck-distributing skills…moves the puck very well and is constantly able to set up his linemates with excellent chances…possesses a hard shot with a deceptive release…effort level is terrific each shift as he is a hard worker and high-compete player…hits, battles and plays hard defensively; always involved…fun player to watch and is already one of the OHL’s most dangerous scorers.
      • Elite Prospects: A talented scoring forward that can play either as a center or on the wing; plays with the bite and intensity of a guy who is willing to do anything to win a game. Possesses dynamic skating ability that allows him to accelerate rapidly with each step, incredible hockey sense, electrifying puckhandling skills, and a lightning release on his shot; when you put this skillset together with hard-nosed determination, proactiveness in all three zones, and a physical willingness to grind and persevere, you get a game-changer who can be extremely difficult to play against.
    • NHL Comparable Player According to TSN: Pat Verbeek
    • Notes: Travis Konecny is another player that scouts have trouble agreeing on. Future considerations has him as high as 11 citing his flashy goals and quickness while Craig Button does not even have Konecny in his top 30, coming in at 33. However, without Button, the rest of the seven scouts average him at 13.7. But do to his impressive highlight reel goals and his drive to win, he may be the surprise of the draft if taken in the top 10. 
    • Highlights:


Here are the full results from the study:
  1. Connor McDavid: Average pick - 1.0
    • Bob McKenzie: 1
    • ISS: 1
    • Future Considerations: 1
    • SportsNet: 1
    • McKeen: 1
    • Craig Button: 1
    • Central Scouting: 1
    • Hockey Prospects: 1
  2. Jack Eichel: Average pick - 2.0
    • Bob McKenzie: 2
    • ISS: 2
    • Future Considerations: 2
    • SportsNet: 2
    • McKeen: 2
    • Craig Button: 2
    • Central Scouting: 2
    • Hockey Prospects: 2
  3. Dylan Strome: Average Pick - 4.38
    • Bob McKenzie: 5
    • ISS: 3
    • Future Considerations: 4
    • SportsNet: 3
    • McKeen: 7
    • Craig Button: 3
    • Central Scouting: 4
    • Hockey Prospects: 6
  4. Mitch Marner: Average Pick - 4.63
    • Bob McKenzie: 4
    • ISS: 6
    • Future Considerations: 5
    • SportsNet: 5
    • McKeen: 4
    • Craig Button: 4
    • Central Scouting: 6
    • Hockey Prospects: 3
  5. Noah Hanifin: Average Pick - 4.75
    • Bob McKenzie: 4
    • ISS: 5
    • Future Considerations: 3
    • SportsNet: 4
    • McKeen: 3
    • Craig Button: 12
    • Central Scouting: 3
    • Hockey Prospects: 4 
  6. Ivan Provorov: Average Pick - 6.63
    • Bob McKenzie: 8
    • ISS: 7
    • Future Considerations: 6
    • SportsNet: 6
    • McKeen: 5
    • Craig Button: 5
    • Central Scouting: 7
    • Hockey Prospects: 9
  7. Lawson Crouse: Average Pick - 8.38
    • Bob McKenzie: 7
    • ISS: 4
    • Future Considerations: 10
    • SportsNet: 13
    • McKeen: 10
    • Craig Button: 10
    • Central Scouting: 5
    • Hockey Prospects: 8
  8. Zach Werenski: Average Pick - 9.37
    • Bob McKenzie: 11
    • ISS: 11
    • Future Considerations: 7
    • SportsNet: 10
    • McKeen: 9
    • Craig Button: 7
    • Central Scouting: 9
    • Hockey Prospects: 11
  9. Mikko Rantanen: Average Pick - 9.71
    • Bob McKenzie: 10
    • ISS: 9
    • Future Considerations: 8
    • SportsNet: 7
    • McKeen: 8
    • Craig Button: 16
    • Central Scouting (European Leagues): 1 (not included in his average)
    • Hockey Prospects: 10
  10. Pavel Zacha: Average Pick - 10.5
    • Bob McKenzie: 6
    • ISS: 10
    • Future Considerations: 15
    • SportsNet: 8
    • McKeen: 6
    • Craig Button: 25
    • Central Scouting: 8
    • Hockey Prospects: 7
  11. Mathew Barzal: Average Pick - 10.5 (Zacha won the tiebreak because he scored a higher median: 8 over 10)
    1. Bob McKenzie: 9
    2. ISS: 8
    3. Future Considerations: 9
    4. SportsNet: 9
    5. McKeen: 11
    6. Craig Button: 15
    7. Central Scouting: 11
    8. Hockey Prospects: 12
  12. Kyle Connor: Average Pick - 11.0
    • Bob McKenzie: 13
    • ISS: 13
    • Future Considerations: 12
    • SportsNet: 14
    • McKeen: 12
    • Craig Button: 6
    • Central Scouting: 13
    • Hockey Prospects: 5
  13. Timo Meier: Average Pick - 11.87
    • Bob McKenzie: 12
    • ISS: 14
    • Future Considerations: 14
    • SportsNet: 11
    • McKeen: 13
    • Craig Button: 8
    • Central Scouting: 10
    • Hockey Prospects: 13
  14. Travis Konecny: Average Pick - 16.13
    • Bob McKenzie: 15
    • ISS: 12
    • Future Considerations: 11
    • SportsNet: 26
    • McKeen: 15
    • Craig Button: 33
    • Central Scouting: 14
    • Hockey Prospects: 19

With the Philadelphia Flyers holding onto the seventh overall pick, they will have many options to choose from come Friday night at 7PM. After their seventh pick, the Flyers will still not be finished for the night. As previously mentioned, Philadelphia will also pick 29th overall. At 29, they will still have some very good players available and many options to choose from. The Flyers will most likely pick a forward with this selection unless defensive prospect Oliver Kylington is still on the table. He is regarded by some as the best skater in the draft, but the reason he may fall to 29 is due to his struggles in the Swedish professional league (SHL); Kylington registered five points in 18 games in the SHL before being sent down to the Allsvenskan league (a lower level league) where he picked up seven points in 17 games. Kylington also missed showcasing his talents at the World Junior Championship due to an injury. Despite the setbacks, Kylington is still no doubt a very skilled defensive prospect that the Flyers would most likely pick if available at 29. Without Kylington on the board, Philadelphia will most likely try to deepen their offensive prospect pool.

Notable forwards who may be available for the Flyers at 29th overall (click on their name for more information, courtesy of Elite Prospects):
Notable Goaltenders:

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Kimmo Timonen Accomplishes Lifelong Dream of Winning the Stanley Cup

Longtime Philadelphia Flyer Kimmo Timonen and his Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning four games to two clinching the Stanley Cup.

The long wait for Timonen is over. "I'm a Stanley Cup Champion!" exclaimed the 17 year veteran in an interview with NBC.

The Flyers traded Kimmo Timonen around the trade deadline in order to give him an opportunity to win the Stanley Cup one last time. Timonen, who suffered from serious blood clots in the off season wasn't even sure if he'd ever play hockey again. However, in February, Timonen announced he would make his return to the ice with doctors approval for what would be his last season. With Philadelphia still struggling to remain in the playoff race, both parties realized it was their best interest to trade him away. Kimmo would get to play in the playoffs and the Flyers would get a return to help them build for the future. So a deal was made with the Chicago Blackhawks for a 2015 2nd round and a 2016 conditional 4th round pick (which ultimately became another 2nd rounder since Chicago made the Cup Final).

Nearly four month later, Kimmo Timonen found himself in the Stanley Cup Final with a chance to make his dream come true. And as the clock struck zero in Game 6 while Chicago was ahead 3-2 in the series and 2-0 in the game, that dream became a reality.


Kimmo Timonen was drafted by the Los Angeles Kings in 1993 (round 10, 250th overall) and went on to play eight seasons with the Nashville Predators, who acquired him in a trade for future considerations. In 2007, the Philadelphia Flyers traded for his rights (along with Scott Hartnell) for a 1st round pick and then signed him to a long-term contract. Timonen suited up for the Flyers for eight seasons (counting this season despite the fact that he didn't play a game for the Flyers due to injury, he was still on their roster) and helped lead them to the Stanley Cup Final in 2011. Timonen, a five time NHL all-star (four time participant), compiled 117 goals and 454 assists for 571 points in his 1108 game career.

After Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews received the Cup from the commissioner, the first player he handed it off to was Timonen. "There's nothing better than being able to hand it off to a [veteran] guy like Kimmo," Toews told reporters.

"I gave everything to this game. I'm happy. I'm ready," Timonen said. "I'm leaving this game as a Stanley Cup champion."


Congratulations to Kimmo Timonen, one of the classiest guys in the NHL, on a great career and winning Lord Stanley's Cup. 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Flyers Go Off Board, Hire North Dakota's Dave Hakstol as New Head Coach

The Philadelphia Flyers and GM Ron Hextall announced Monday that they have hired Dave Hakstol as their new head coach. Hakstol, 45, will become the 19th head coach in Flyers franchise history.

From left to right: Holmgren, Hakstol, Hextall, Snider
The decision was a very unexpected one only because there were many big name coaches with a ton of experience who became available in the off season such as Mike Babcock and Todd McLellan. Dave Hakstol on the other hand has zero NHL experience. He has not coached nor played in the NHL in his career. That however, did not slow Hextall down when considering Hakstol for the job.

"I had a list of things I wanted from a head coach and I went down this checklist in my mind. Every box was checked, except for the NHL experience," Hextall told reporters at the press conference. "And quite frankly for me, that’s the least important.” Hakstol was upfront about his inexperience saying, "I don’t have experience at this level and I’m not going to pretend that I do. I do have a great deal of confidence in what we do. You have to go out and do the work. The bottom line is that I have to go out and do the work. That starts as we walk out of this room today, the preparation, hard work and details, all of those things that produce results."

Despite Hakstol not having NHL experience, he has quite the resume and respect when it comes to NCAA Hockey. Hakstol spent the last 11 seasons as the head coach of the University of North Dakota, one of the best hockey schools in the nation. During Hakstol's tenure as head coach, North Dakota had a winning record in each of those 11 seasons while compiling an impressive 289-143-43 record (.654 winning percentage). Hakstol's team qualified for the NCAA tournament championship every year (the longest stretch in program history and the third-longest streak in college hockey history), won three conference titles, four league playoff championships and seven Frozen Four births. The program he ran in North Dakota was phenomenal and extremely pro-like according to Dave Starman of CollegeHockeyNews:
[Hakstol] brought a pro mentality to an NCAA program and it worked. North Dakota is like a pro program. It's on TV all the time, either on their local network or on CBS Sports Network. It was an annual player in ESPN’s coverage of the NCAA tourney. It played to higher attendance figures than some NHL teams the past decade and played for a fan base so passionate about North Dakota hockey it reminded you of SEC football. I’ve always said playing goal for North Dakota is like playing goal for the Montreal Canadiens, it is that high profile a position in the area.
...

Dave Hakstol was able to succeed year in and year out despite the constant college turnover mainly because his fast paced system and the fact that he has confidence in himself and his players. This mentality helps him get the most out of his players. One of the main reasons why the Philadelphia Flyers fired Craig Berube a month ago, according to GM Ron Hextall, was his inability to get the best effort from his players. "I think in the end a coach's job is to get the most out of his players," Hextall said in April after relieving Berube of his duties. "And in the end that's the conclusion that I came to, was that that wasn't the case.

"Here's the thing with Dave Hakstol at North Dakota, he didn't just get great recruits," said TSN analyst Ryan Kennedy, "He consistently had success with constantly changing roster."

"He pushes his players," Hextall said of Hakstol. "And gets the most out of his players," while Hakstol stated, "Expectations are simple of myself, my staff, and my players: Accountability to ourselves and our organization."

...

Ron Hextall knew what was at stake, now Dave Hakstol knows whats at stake. They are taking an organization in a new direction for a rebuild. And who better to hire than a man who has only coached players between the ages of 18-24. Currently the Flyers have 7 players listed on their roster page who are 24 or under and 10 more players who haven't turned 28 yet. Philadelphia also has a lot of prospects who have a chance to possibly make it to the big club next season as well, such as Sam Morin, Shayne Gostisbehere, Scott Laughton to name a few. 

Jonathan Toews, TJ Oshie, Matt Greene and Travis Zajac are just a few examples of players Hakstol coached who succeeded at the highest level. In fact Hakstol’s program has produced 20 NHL players and a total of 46 who have played professionally.

Add three more to that list if you include players he coached in the USHL in his time before North Dakota. Prior to his duties at UND, Hakstol coached the Sioux City Musketeers from 1996-2000 amassing a 102-109 record. There he coach Ruslan Fedotenko, Rostislav Klesla and David Hale who combined for a total of 1844 NHL games. 

"The way he prepared us, was a lot like an NHL organization, he prepared us on and off the ice and wanted us to act as individuals. He pushed us to be the best players we were," Travis Zajac, assistant captain of the New Jersey Devils told NJ.com. "I hope he does well. He's a great person. He is a big reason of why I'm here today in the NHL."

Hakstol giving his signature stare
TJ Oshie told NHL.com, "It's not going to take long for the players to respect what he brings to the table and to want to play for him." Jonathan Toews went further pointing out how much he enjoyed playing for Hakstol, who is usually known for his stern looks and serious nature, "It was a lot of fun to play for him in North Dakota. It was important years for myself and my career, so it's nice to see him have that success and get recognized and get the opportunity at the highest level."

...

Dave Hakstol, nicknamed Hak, becomes only the fourth college coach to jump directly to a head coaching position in the NHL and first since 1987 when Herb Brooks, legendary 1980 US Olympic Miracle team coach, left St Cloud State to coach the Minnesota North Stars (in his second stint as an NHL coach). According to Starman:
    Hakstol brings the one intangible many others might lack when reaching for the big time — confidence. While not knowing Herb Brooks real well, the times I was in his company for various hockey events I came away with the opinion that Herb was someone who really felt his way was right. I see that in Hakstol and I see someone who is confident his methodology works. For a guy who doesn’t say much, he says everything you need to hear and he says it with conviction. To a pro, that is worth its weight in gold.
    Hakstol becomes the latest piece in Hextall's rebuilding process. Hextall could have made a run at the big names to try to win immediately but instead he hired a man who will grow with his young team. "I was never going to hire the people's choice, the popular choice," Hextall vehemently stated at the press conference. "I was going to hire the best coach for this franchise. He was our target all along."
...

Ron Hextall got a good look at Dave Hakstol back in 2008 when Hakstol coached his son Brett, who played for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms this season. Brett Hextall played under Hakstol from 2008-2011. “Watching my son over the years, I grew an appreciation for Dave and the way he coached,” Hextall said. “I’ve thought about him long before this as a head coach in the National Hockey League. I believe he was destined for it. He’s got a lot of pro qualities [and] he’s got a lot of experience as a head coach."

When asked if he considered possible assistant coaches in the NHL for the job, Hextall said, "If you had said to me you can bring in an NHL assistant coach or you can bring in a guy who was a head coach in college for 11 years, I’d take the head coach every time.”

This is when Hextall made himself clear that he wants a leader behind the bench. Without taking a shot at former GM Paul Holmgren or ex coach Craig Berube, Hextall made it obvious that this was something their last coach lacked. Berube, who was hired by Holmgren, was an assistant coach to the Flyers before being upgraded to the head coaching position. Berube struggled to maintain consistency all season and with an extremely young team (only two players were over the age of 32), they needed their coach to be a leader. And since he failed to get his team, one that made the playoffs the previous year, to produce, he clearly lacked in that department, which led to his dismissal. 

...

Hakstol's system according to experts focuses on controlling the center lane of the ice while being very fast paced. Dave Starman, a leading college hockey analyst, describes Hakstol's system:
His teams go at the net, shoot for rebounds, make plays, and really emphasize the defense being an active part of the offense.
His use of weak side [defensemen] to pinch and extend plays is a huge component to their offensive success, and defensive as well, as they don't retreat and regroup as much as other teams did.
Dave Hakstol built his teams to play with skill, pace, purpose, physicality, and passion.

This style will should help the struggling Flyers defensive corp. Michael Del Zotto, Mark Streit and Andrew MacDonald will all most likely see their offensive production increase which will lead to more shots and goals helping the Flyers, who were 22nd in the league in goals per game this season, score more. Also upcoming prospects Shayne Gostisbehere and Travis Sanheim, who already play that style should thrive when they eventually see their time in the NHL.

"He's developed young guys and it's pretty cool to see a guy go from college to the NHL," Gostisbehere told Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer. 

Dave Hakstol is also a solid communicator who preaches hard work as well as teamwork according to Travis Zajac.  "He was easy to talk to. He's honest. That's the most important thing. He's not going to sugar coat anything. He expects the most out of you," Zajac told NJ.com. "He cares about his players and he wants you to succeed. He put everything he believed in North Dakota. He felt all of the tradition there and he kept that going for us. I think he'll bring that kind of mentality to Philly. He knows what that NHL organization means to the fans and to communities."
Hakstol becomes the 19th coach in Flyers history
Dave Hakstol, the new head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers said he is honored to be part of the organization, "To have the opportunity to join the Philadelphia Flyers organization is an extremely proud moment for me."

More 'Hak' FACTS & QUOTES:
  • Coached 7 Hobey Baker finalists
  • Coached 11 players who were named All-American
  • Stephane Pattyn (UND player Hakstol coached over the last four seasons) took to Twitter: "Huge congrats to coach Hakstol. One of the greatest mentor, leader, coach and man I have ever met. got a heck of a coach."
  • Analyst Billy Jaffe said on Twitter: "Have known Dave Hakstol a while. He will earn respect quickly & adapt where needed. Smart, structured & polished. Shrewd hire by "
  • During the Dave Hakstol era, UND won more games than any program in the nation - two more than Boston College, 12 more than Michigan.
  • Was an 8 time finalist for Spencer Penrose Award (top college coach)
  • In Hakstol's last five seasons with UND his team was a combined plus 178 averaging plus 35.6 per season. His team ranked number 1 in his final season with a plus 44.
  • 2015 UND Stats:
    • Goals Per Game: 3.25 (9th in NCAA)
    • Goals Against: 2.21 (11th)
    • PowerPlay %: 20.36% (12th)
    • Penalty Killing %: 84.02% (24th) - scored 12 short handed goals
    • Tied for most wins in league with 29
  • Erik Fabian, UND defenseman who was coached by Hakstol for 4 seasons told Grand Forks Herald his favorite 'Hak' story, looking behind all the stern stares:
    • Erik Fabian remembers getting swept by Maine at home during his senior season. The coaching staff wasn’t particularly pleased with the team’s play. After talking to the media, Fabian started walking down the hallway back to the locker room when he spotted Hakstol. “He’s in the hallway and all of the sudden he sees [his daughter] Avery, who must have been a year old at the time,” Fabian said. “He instantly lights up, picks her up and gives her a big hug and a kiss. That sums him up in a nutshell. You would never think that man could smile after that game, but he did. That’s my favorite Hak story.”
  • Also mentioned in the Grand Forks Herald article by Brad Elliott Schlossman are more serious and touching moments that Hakstol would never discuss:
      • Hakstol took a terminally ill patient on a charter flight with the team to go to a road trip once. He has done the same with a special needs student, who was a big fan of the team.
      • There was the time that two of his players went to Colorado to be with their mother, who was in her final days. After she passed away, the players walked out of the hospital room and the first person standing there was Hakstol.