With the NHL Draft coming up, all teams, the Philadelphia Flyers included, are examining what needs they have or are projected to have. The Flyers have some major depth issues at center and wing, especially in lacking an elite power forward. Their defense is a big question mark, but it is looking as if they will most likely be looking at blueliners later on. With Carter Hart in net, there is no immediate concern in goaltending.
It’s pretty clear, barring a trade, that Hart will be the man in net. Felix Sandstrom is still signed on for one more year as is Sam Ersson. The backups are young and their experience this season could help them in future years; especially if the defense in front of them becomes stabilized. And recently acquired goalie Cal Peterson will be under contract for two more years.
So, if the Flyers are not going to invest a first-round pick in a goalie, or at the very least, they won’t use their first first-round pick on a goalie, is it possible that they could invest a later pick on one It’s possible. If that’s the case, let’s first look at the Flyers’ draft picks this year:
- 1st round (7th Overall)
- 1st round (22nd Overall from Columbus Blue Jackets)
- A 3rd round pick from the NY Rangers
- A 3rd round pick from the Ottawa Senators
- A 4th round pick from the Edmonton Oilers
- 4th round pick
- 5th round pick
- A 6th-round pick from the Ottawa Senators
- 6th round pick
- 7th round pick
Overall, that’s 10 picks. The Flyers did not have their own second-round pick as that was part of the Rasmus Ristolainen deal and the Flyers’ own third-rounder went to acquire Tony DeAngelo. But 10 picks give the team some ammunition to move up in the draft if needed or just lock and load for depth picks.
According to the NHL Central Scouting, they have ranked 12 international goalies in their final pre-draft scouting as well as 32 goalies from North America. Carson Bjarnsason and Michal Hrabal are most likely the top two goalies who could be taken off the board and will likely be first-rounders; albeit later first-round picks or early second-rounders as this draft is really forward-heavy.
Bjarnsason won only 21 of the 47 games he played this year on a lousy WHL team. That’s also considering that Connor Bedard and Zach Benson lit that league up with some insane scoring. Despite that, his .900 save percentage takes the sting off of his 3.08 GAA. And remember, he’s just 17 years old. He is projected to be one of the first goalies off the board and could go late first round or somewhere between 40-50 in the second round.
The Hockey Writers said this about him:
"“In the net, Bjarnason tracks the puck at an elite level, and he understands how to put himself in the right position to cover as much of it as possible while always giving him a chance to make the stop. His body control is also fantastic, as he has a strong catching hand that he flashes with confidence and a blocker that is developing quickly.”"
Hrabal is an 18-year-old Czech goalie who stands at 6’6″. He went 9-13-4 for the Omaha Lancers of the USHL. However, he had a 2.86 GAA with a .908 save percentage. In the World Junior tournament, Hrabal held a 2.43 GAA with a .927 save percentage and a shutout this year. Currently, he has committed to play for the University of Massachusetts in the fall.
One scouting report said of Hrabal:
"“When watching Hrabal play, one of his most redeeming factors early in his young career is his agility, especially for a goaltender who’s 6-foot-6. His poise is also very strong for his age, and it’s not often you’ll find him flopping around in his crease. Being a tall goalie is one thing, but it’s another to factor stability into your game. He tends to rely on his butterfly position a little too often and plays pretty deep in his crease, which is less than ideal for a netminder of his size, but the potential is certainly there and his strengths will only blossom with a good team in front of him.”"
Another top prospect is Trey Augustine, an American goalie. His goals-against average hasn’t been over 3.00 since being a 17-year-old junior and his save percentage has never dipped below .880. He will be taking his talents to the University of Michigan this year.
A scouting report on Augustine said:
"“Augustine has excellent reflexes and moves around the crease very effectively. His positioning is as good as it can get, and he is always in the right place to make the save. His ability to track the puck through traffic is outstanding, and gives his team confidence every start he makes. On top of his excellent vision and agility, he has a terrific glove hand and utilizes it very well. When the opposition is coming off the rush, he stands big in his net, and doesn’t give the shooter much to work with.”"