The Philadelphia Flyers missed out on Ottawa Senators defenseman Lassi Thomson, who was promptly claimed by the Anaheim Ducks on waivers on Oct. 1. Despite that, the Senators have offered the Flyers a mulligan following another round of cuts.
The Sens announced on Oct. 2 that another round of players would be hitting waivers on Oct. 3, and that list includes top defense prospect and 2018 first-round pick Jacob Bernard-Docker. Bernard-Docker, 23, has played parts of the last two years with Ottawa after coming over from the University of North Dakota in the 2020-21 season.
The former first-round pick is a young right-shot defenseman who comes with both NHL experience and a track record of strong play in the AHL. These defensemen just don’t grow on trees, and the Senators have given two away in a week.
The Flyers, of course, have a need for righty defensemen on their blueline corps. Rasmus Ristolainen and Sean Walker are locks for the NHL roster this year, but only Ristolainen is signed beyond this year. Aside from those two, the only right-shot defender that could conceivably play a role for the Flyers is Ronnie Attard.
Attard, like Bernard-Docker, is signed through the 2024-25 season, but is slightly older and comes with less games at both the NHL and AHL levels. The Flyers would likely prefer to have someone that could step in and play right away, and Attard doesn’t necessarily fit the bill there.
Bernard-Docker is regarded more for his defensive ability than his offensive ability, and that bodes well for his fit in Philadelphia. The 23-year-old could serve as a foil for either Cam York or Travis Sanheim, and both could really use a stay-at-home partner rather than Walker or Ristolainen. Even though he’s only six feet tall, Bernard-Docker can play a physical game, and even engaged Travis Konecny in a fight last November.
Much like Thomson earlier in the week, the Flyers have nothing to lose by putting a claim in for Bernard-Docker. The former North Dakota ace fits the currently complexion of Philadelphia’s roster far better than his former teammate, and the Flyers could potentially strike gold with his acquisition.