Welcome to the Official Site of the Philadelphia Flyers Official Facebook of the Philadelphia Flyers Official Twitter of the Philadelphia Flyers Official Instagram of the Philadelphia Flyers Official LinkedIn of the Philadelphia Flyers Official DeskSite of the Philadelphia Flyers Flyer Wire
  • RSS

Greenberg: What the draft picks have in common

Hextall accomplishes goal of competitiveness in his first NHL Draft as GM

Sunday, 06.29.2014 / 3:28 PM ET / News
By Jay Greenberg  - philadelphiaflyers.com
Share with your Friends

Greenberg: What the draft picks have in common

Even if Ron Hextall didn’t draft any more distant relatives of his on Saturday, a former sixth-round draft choice turned NHL general manager essentially is a blood brother of every longshot.

“You look at the history of the draft, the kids who don’t play are the ones not hungry to play,” said the Flyers general manager at the end of the draft on Saturday. “That doesn’t always [show] in physical play, but in the will to win.

“This is one of my things that I’m banging on the table. ‘Guys, we have to hit in the late rounds. We have some recent [longer shots] who have a good chance, but we gotta continue.



WATCH: Hextall on why he chose each prospect
WATCH: Hextall on the future of each pick
Dir. of Scouting Chris Pryor on talent 
WATCH: Holmgren proud of Philly/Flyers fans
WATCH: Hextall talks about why he picked Sanheim

“The gap between the best team in the league and the worst team is not very big. What I have stressed to our scouts is that the will to win is huge and the importance of (evaluating that by) turning over every stone.”

In 1982, Jerry Melnyk, the Flyers’ Western Scout lifted up a rock that was as hard as the head of a wild Brandon Wheat King goaltender. “What I liked about Ron Hextall was what everyone else didn’t,” recalled the late Melnyk while the rookie goaltender was taking the Flyers to within one game of the 1987 Stanley Cup. “They thought he was crazy but, to me, this was a kid who didn’t lose easy.”

That’s the way the Flyers looked on Saturday at their seventh pick, Swedish defenseman Jesper Pettersson, who had gone undrafted in 2012 and 2013.

“At the world (juniors) I saw a Swedish kid paying well and hitting hard, really feisty, and I said to one of our guys, ‘He’s a pretty good player,’ recalled Hextall. “He said, ‘Yeah we have been saying that for three years and through two drafts.’

“[Pettersson] is gritty, hard nosed, honest. He’s 5-9, but has a wide body and we like him. We are intrigued by all our picks or we wouldn’t have picked them.”

Every choice had a different story. After a good showing in the under-17 tournament a year ago, fifth rounder Oskar Lindblom was projected to go as high as the second round. The Flyers are taking a shot that a bad year was just a bad year. Sixth round choice Radel Fazleev, a Calgary Hitmen teammate of first round choice Travis Sanheim, was hurt past of last season and didn’t receive quite the exposure to get him drafted higher.

Right wing Nicolas Aube-Kubel, the second round choice, is quick, competitive and, the Flyers believe, a year away from blossoming offensive. No. 3 defenseman Mark Friedman is a little undersized but has mobility and some skill.

If two of these guys ever play for the Flyers, then they will have proven to have had an exceptional 2014 draft. And if they did, it was because somebody at the drafting table swung from the heels, as Melnyk did in 1969 about a diabetic named Bobby Clarke after every team in the league passed him over at least once.

Two years ago, a part-time scout named John Riley, who now works for the Flyers in player development, loved Shayne Gostisbehere, never mind his Kimmo Timonen size. Gostisbehere, who led Union College to the NCAA title, is likely to get the Flyers off a late-round schneid that practically goes back to 2001, when they took Patrick Sharp in the third round.

Leading into Saturday, all the organization had to show on its roster for the last 86 picks from the second round on was Zac Rinaldo, a No. 6 in 2008. The only other one of the 86 even in the NHL is Boston’s Dennis Seidenberg, whom the Flyers selected in a fifth round.

Of course, from 2002 until 2011, the Flyers traded away all but three second-rounders. The Flyers also signed the undrafted Matt Read and Michael Raffl, so they haven’t gone stone cold in turning over these stones, just perhaps need to be reminded by the new GM as to what exactly they are looking for under there.

“We kind of rely on individual [scouts] in the late rounds,” said Director of Scouting Chris Pryor. “We want our scouts to step up and be exited about somebody.

“You don’t get the coverage on guys that you do in earlier rounds. Maybe it’s one guy you can grab onto, maybe because of speed or size or competitiveness.

“Our guys work hard so we try to listen to them and run with it. Of course, to get young players, you need to have picks. The more you have, the better chance of hitting. I think we’re going to start accumulating picks. That’s what Paul has started and Hexy has the same philosophy.”

As both the team president and the general manager once were sixth rounders, at heart, they prioritize heart.




1 WSH 52 39 9 4 171 117 82
2 FLA 54 32 16 6 150 122 70
3 NYR 54 31 18 5 153 135 67
4 DET 54 28 18 8 136 132 64
5 NYI 52 28 18 6 145 129 62
6 TBL 53 29 20 4 140 127 62
7 BOS 53 28 19 6 153 146 62
8 PIT 53 27 19 7 138 135 61
9 NJD 55 27 21 7 122 123 61
10 MTL 55 27 24 4 147 145 58
11 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
12 OTT 55 25 24 6 154 169 56
13 PHI 52 23 20 9 122 137 55
14 BUF 54 21 27 6 124 146 48
15 CBJ 55 21 28 6 137 170 48
16 TOR 52 19 24 9 120 144 47


C. Giroux 52 16 29 -8 45
J. Voracek 52 8 34 -3 42
W. Simmonds 52 19 16 -7 35
B. Schenn 50 14 15 -2 29
S. Gostisbehere 34 9 19 3 28
S. Couturier 40 9 15 9 24
M. Read 51 9 9 -5 18
S. Laughton 52 4 10 -7 14
M. Del Zotto 50 4 9 -10 13
M. Raffl 52 6 6 2 12
S. Mason 12 14 7 .915 2.70
M. Neuvirth 11 6 2 .933 2.14
Privacy Policy | AdChoices | California Privacy Rights | Contact Us | Advertise Employment | NHL.com Terms of Use

Philadelphiaflyers.com is the official Web site of the Philadelphia Flyers. Philadelphia Flyers and philadelphiaflyers.com are trademarks of Philadelphia Flyers, L.P. NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2015 Philadelphia Flyers, L.P. and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.