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DRAFT: Why take the "best player" approach

Wednesday, 06.25.2014 / 3:42 PM / News
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DRAFT: Why take the \"best player\" approach
Why GM Ron Hextall takes the stance as \"best player available\" in his first Draft at the helm of the Flyers





NHL drafts are hardly ever predictable, and this year’s is no different. Nevertheless, even with all the uncertainties and surprises that come throughout the seven rounds, Ron Hextall maintains a simple philosophy. Take the best player available.

With the 17th overall pick, as well as five additional picks, the first year GM knows most of the players in this class are a few years away from seeing NHL action. He’s not looking to fill the team’s current holes. Instead, Hextall is trying to find the most talented, skillful pieces he can to help build for the team’s future.

MORE ON THE FLYERS & DRAFT WEEK
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  WATCH: Hextall on possibly trading up in the First Round
  READ: Jay Greenberg on what the Flyers need to do at the Draft
  TRADE: Flyers acquire RJ Umberger for Scott Hartnell
  SIGNING: Flyers, Brayden Schenn agree to multi-year extension
  SCHEDULE: A look at the official 2014-15 Flyers schedule

“You’ve gotta approach it that you take the best player,” said Hextall. “I think the teams with the top few picks might be a little different approach because there are a lot of good players up top, and they’re really a similar level with not a lot of separation. So, if you’re drafting the top few picks, you might think 'I need a defenseman, or I need a center, or I need a wing to score or whatever.' But, where we’re picking, it’ll be about the best player.”

Drafting the best player available is a philosophy that has not gone unused by the Flyers in the past. Merely three years ago, Sean Couturier was chosen eighth overall, a shocking grab for the team, after he fell a few spots on the scouting list. Clearly, picking the best player available in 2011 worked well for the Flyers, who gained an NHL-ready, defensive forward.

Although choosing outside the top ten this year, the Flyers have had repeated success when drafting in this position, selecting players such as Claude Giroux, Simon Gagne, and current Conn Smythe winner Justin Williams.

“A lot of the guys who are drafted later in the draft are typically guys that are willing to put in the time and the effort and do what it takes to be an NHL player, and Justin Williams is a good example,” Hextall said of having a later first round pick. “He’s still ticking, and really you look at Justin Williams and you say there’s a kid who’s always willing to play the game. He’s always put the time in. He’s dedicated, and quite honestly loves to play the game. That’s the type of character that we will be looking for.”

However, this philosophy isn’t firmly set in concrete and neither is the Flyers taking at right at No. 17. Hextall admitted to not being opposed to trading up in the draft if the right offer comes to the table. Weighing the pros and cons, gains and losses will ultimately be the deciding factor.

“We’ll look at trading up if we can,” Hextall said. “But we won’t trade up if we’re going to get a similar player at whatever we trade up to as opposed to 17. But, there is separation from where we are to ahead of us. We would look to trade up.

“It’s not something that you can put in black and white,” added Hextall about moving up in the draft. “It’s gonna come to you at the time. There’s been some talk, but those things come to you right at the time, and you just gotta be prepared.”

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 TBL 48 30 14 4 156 127 64
2 NYI 46 31 14 1 151 129 63
3 DET 47 27 11 9 139 119 63
4 MTL 45 29 13 3 123 106 61
5 PIT 46 26 12 8 138 117 60
6 NYR 44 27 13 4 134 106 58
7 WSH 46 24 13 9 137 120 57
8 BOS 48 25 16 7 126 121 57
9 FLA 44 20 14 10 107 122 50
10 OTT 46 19 18 9 126 128 47
11 TOR 48 22 23 3 142 150 47
12 PHI 48 19 22 7 130 146 45
13 CBJ 45 20 22 3 113 142 43
14 NJD 47 17 22 8 107 134 42
15 CAR 46 16 25 5 98 120 37
16 BUF 47 14 30 3 89 167 31

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
J. Voracek 48 17 39 10 56
C. Giroux 47 16 35 6 51
M. Streit 48 7 27 -2 34
B. Schenn 48 10 19 -4 29
W. Simmonds 48 16 12 -5 28
S. Couturier 48 10 11 0 21
M. Read 48 3 15 -8 18
M. Raffl 40 12 3 6 15
V. Lecavalier 34 7 7 -9 14
M. Del Zotto 36 3 11 -6 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 8 12 6 .920 2.46
R. Emery 8 9 1 .890 3.27
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