When the Philadelphia Flyers drafted Oliver Bonk in the 2023 NHL Draft, they addressed an organizational need at the position. The Ottawa Senators just gave them the chance to take that one step further by placing a first-round pick of their own on waivers.
The Senators announced yesterday that defenseman Lassi Thomson, the 19th overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, would be placed on waivers for the purpose of being assigned to the Belleville Senators. That transaction became official today (Sept. 30), and the Finnish blueliner will now need to pass through waivers to make it there.
Now 23 years old, Thomson has only managed to appear in 18 NHL contests, posting five assists and a minus-10 plus-minus rating along with six penalty minutes. At the AHL level, the esteemed prospect scored 18 goals and 54 assists in 135 games with 94 penalty minutes, and another negative plus-minus rating of minus-14.
Scouting reports of Thomson generally describe him as an adept skater with above-average puck skills for a defender, and a player who exudes poise and confidence with the puck on his stick. It’s safe to say that things haven’t worked out the way Thomson or the Senators expected, and a change of scenery seems inevitable at this point.
How Thomson fits the Flyers
At the moment, the Flyers simply just don’t have any right-shot defenseman ready to hop into their NHL lineup. Ethan Samson was just cut in the team’s first round of roster trimming, while Ronnie Attard is still vying for a place in the lineup. With Sean Walker set to hit free agency next summer, Rasmus Ristolainen is the only righty blueliner signed beyond 2024.
If the Flyers were to at least claim Thomson, they’d have a player with a first-round pedigree – who is obviously a super talent – capable of playing at least third-pairing minutes alongside a defensive-minded foil like Marc Staal or Nick Seeler. If Thomson pans out and shows some potential, the Flyers acquired a young, NHL-caliber defenseman for free.
In addition, Philadelphia’s power play in 2022 simply wasn’t good; it was 32nd in the league out of 32 teams. If the former first-rounder can help out on say, the second unit, the Flyers can avoid overworking their key defensemen like Ristolainen, Travis Sanheim, and Cam York. By extension, Attard and Helge Grans can continue their development with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, where they would assuredly get regular minutes on a nightly basis.
At the end of the day, there’s no guarantees a talent like Thomson even makes it to the Flyers in the waiver order, but it would be foolish for Danny Briere and co. to not put a claim in. Given the state of the right side of the Flyers’ defense, it’s well worth a shot.