The Philadelphia Flyers season is approaching the end and it is time to look forward to the future. This season was quite possibly one of the most disappointing seasons in Flyers history so now would be a good time to take a look at some positive things. That includes focusing on the upcoming 2021 NHL Entry Draft.
The Flyers are almost mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, placing them in the draft lottery with a chance to possibly get a top pick, but those chances are very low. The focus will be on three different prospects in the upcoming draft that could be a good pick for the Flyers in the first round.
That includes a defenseman, center, and winger that may be a realistic draft choice for the Flyers.
Mason McTavish (All Statistics via eliteprospects.com)
McTavish is an 18-year-old center from Canada. During McTavish’s stint with EHC Olten, he posted nine goals and two assists in 13 games played while being a +4. These are great numbers coming from an 18-year-old in a competitive league.
Now, let’s get down to his skill and talent. McTavish has talent and is a solid skater. He has a great shot and one-timer. There aren’t many negatives you are going to find in his game. McTavish has talent and skill, but he isn’t the guy the Flyers may need. McTavish reminds me a lot of what I saw in Tyson Forester.
Forester was last year’s first round draft pick for the Flyers. Forester is currently playing for the Phantoms in the AHL this season and has shown great signs. McTavish is a great player and would not be a bad pick at all, but his game appears to be very similar to Forester’s and is not a priority currently.
Carson Lambos (All Statistics via eliteprospects.com)
Lambos is also 18 years old and a defenseman from Canada. In Lambos’ 2019-20 season with the Winnipeg Ice, he posted eight goals and 24 assists in 57 games played while being a +20. The Winnipeg Ice compete in the Western Hockey League (WHL) which is where Carter Hart played before joining the Phantoms.
Lambos may not have posted incredible numbers during this season, but the Flyers don’t need that out of a defenseman. Their biggest struggles this season have been from the defensive part of the game and a versatile strong player like Lambos could be the key. Lambos has a similar build to Ivan Provorov, coming in at 6’1” and weighing 201 lbs.
He is not a majorly physical defenseman but it’s his ability to puck handle and create space in the offensive zone that makes him an intriguing prospect. Lambos is solid at the defensive end as well, he uses his speed to track down the puck and make it feel like he is all over the ice. An energetic defenseman is something the Flyers desperately needed this year and will most likely need in the future.
Lambos does have some negative aspects to his game as well. He tends to be very aggressive whether it is in the offensive or defensive zone. This is something that is scary but fixable. At times he will be very aggressive on the offensive zone, playing deep in the zone allowing the opposing forwards to be in an even foot race with him if they gain possession.
In the defensive zone, his aggressive play is not as much a negative and it can even better viewed as a positive seeing how the Flyers have played this season. Lambos will be flying all over the ice at some times in the defensive zone, constantly pressuring the opposing team early and not allowing them to set up. This could be a great addition for the Flyers and could be a very real possibility on draft night.
William Eklund (All Statistics via eliteprospects.com)
Lastly, we have Eklund who is 18 years old and is a left-winger. Eklund may be my favorite prospect for this year, but the Flyers chances of landing him would be very lucky. In Eklund’s current season in the Swedish Hockey League, he posted 11 goals and 12 assists in 40 games played. Eklund may have the potential to go in or near the top ten picks.
He is an incredible hockey player that would be a perfect fit player for the Flyers. Eklund is not on the bigger side like McTavish, but it’s his skill set that makes him such a great prospect. The most incredible part of his game is his amazing vision on the ice. It really feels like he sees everything and knows where everyone will be. I don’t have too much to say about Eklund compared to Lambos, but the reason I would love if Eklund fell to the Flyers is the potential pairing of him with Forester, Wisdom, or Allison in the future.
Eklund’s ability to create chances for his teammates makes him a great cornerstone piece for any team.
This season almost everything went wrong and it may have been one of the biggest disappointments in Philadelphia Flyers history, but that doesn’t mean the future is bad for this team. The Flyers are not just one piece away from being a serious contender. However, this draft is a major opportunity for the Flyers to not only prepare for the future but also get a player that could make a contribution soon.
One of the biggest problems this season has been the defense and especially their lack of physicality. The prospects mentioned aren’t the perfect solution to this lack of physicality, but Carson Lambos is a guy that could be the future of this defense along with Provorov.
Lambos has great puck-handling ability and is good with his stick in the defensive zone while he uses his speed to cover as much of the defensive zone as he can. This team has many issues and their lack of depth at defense is a problem that needs to be addressed as soon as possible. Throughout this season we have seen new faces and different line combinations for the offense almost every other game, but this has not happened with the defense.
Cam York is now the hope along with Provorov for the future of this defense, but adding another talented skater in Lambos will be the right move in the upcoming NHL Entry Draft.