Sunday Number: Flyers’ stockpile of draft picks bodes well for future

You’re probably reading this on Monday, but who cares about labels anyway? This week’s Sunday Number offers a reason why we could be looking at the start of another great era of Philadelphia Flyers hockey.

It’s one thing to become a great team, but quite another to stay one for a long time. Heading into the 2017-18 season, the Philadelphia Flyers have no claim to either. Though the path towards greatness is clearer for the Flyers than it has been for a long time, with a steady stream of talented young players arriving in town over the next couple years, a few great drafts are not enough to create a dynasty.

That’s why it is a very good thing that the Flyers have the draft resources to potentially create a dynasty in South Philadelphia.

10

As of Sept. 10, the Flyers will head into the 2018 Draft armed with an impressive 10 total draft picks. In addition to the Flyers’ seven own picks, Ron Hextall and company added first, fifth, and seven round selections over the course of the offseason.

The most significant acquisition, of course, is the first round pick from the St. Louis Blues. The Flyers received it along with a 2017 first rounder and Jori Lehtera in exchange for Brayden Schenn. Not too bad a trade, huh? The Blues will retain the pick if it falls in the top 10 (an unlikely scenario), but if it does, the Flyers would get their 2019 first rounder instead, as well as an additional third-round pick for their troubles.

But late round picks can have value too- Oskar Lindblom was a fifth-round pick in 2014 and has since blossomed into one of the Flyers’ most promising forward prospects. The 2018 fifth-rounder the Flyers acquired came at the expense of reliable bottom-6 center Nick Cousins, but Cousins was caught in a number crunch and lacked the upside to cement himself with the organization.

It’s also important to note that the Flyers also own all of their picks in the 2019 and 2020 Drafts too. That gives Hextall an excellent pool of resources which he can use however he sees fit.

If the right deal appears, the Flyers’ front office should not hesitate to draw from the well. But the team must be wary of parting with their future assets too easily. Letting the prospect pipeline run dry is the quickest way for a team to fall from the top- just ask Ruben Amaro Jr. and the Phillies.

 

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