The Flyers came into the first night of the draft with two picks. Their first was a top-10, seventh overall. There were not many surprises above them, aside from the Anaheim Ducks selecting Leo Carlsson. There has been rumors about who Philadelphia was interested in and if they would take Matvei Michkov if he was on the board.
They did just that, selecting Michkov seventh overall. It was a big swing for an organization that hasn’t done that very often. It’s a high risk pick that could turn into a very high reward in a few years. The Flyers were up again with the 22nd overall pick. In a forward heavy draft, there were still some good options for them to choose from. Instead, they went to defense, selecting Oliver Bonk from the London Knignts of the OHL.
After going with the risky selection with their first pick, the selection of Bonk is the more sensible one. With Ivan Provorov traded, and Travis Sanheim and Tony DeAngelo both being shopped, it makes some sense that the Flyers want to add another defensemen to the prospect pool. Cam York, Ronnie Attard, and Egor Zamula should get an opportunity to make the NHL roster this season.
Oliver Bonk, the son of former NHLer Radek Bonk, was a top-minutes getter for London this season. His 10 goals and 40 points were second among defensemen on the Knights. He isn’t necessarily known as a flashy player, more so known as one of the better defensive-minded defenseman in the draft. He is believed to have top-four upside to his game.
"“Bonk’s toolkit looks like an NHL defenseman. He’s a 6-foot-2 right shot with strong mobility and offensive touch. Bonk is able to skate pucks up ice, make some skilled plays, and shows good poise from the blue line,” Corey Pronman of The Athletic said about Bonk. “He’s not a standout with the puck, but he can be a decent puck mover at higher levels. Defensively he’s solid due to his feet and reach. Bonk isn’t overly physical but he can defend well enough as a pro. He projects as a top-four defenseman in the NHL.”"
Bonk will still need time to develop as he isn’t necessarily a physical player. He stands at 6’2” and weighs in at 176 lbs. He was the 20th-ranked North American skater by NHL Central Scouting. Bonk will also need to develop his playmaking abilities in order to round out his game some more. There isn’t necessarily one thing that Bonk is superior at, but he does more than one thing well. Rounding everything out and fine tuning some other areas will be among the things the Flyers will likely want to see from him as he continues in juniors.
The Flyers depth with right-handed defensemen was pretty non-existent recently. With the addition of Bonk and acquiring Helge Grans in the Provorov trade, Philadelphia is making sure to stock up that side of the ice. It might not be a flashy pick as there were some skilled forwards left on the board. But it makes sense in the grand scheme of things when you look at the Flyers and what they’re trying to do. It was known as a weaker draft when it came to defense and without a second round pick at this time, it’s understandable that Philadelphia decided to go this route early on.