Flyers GM Hextall open to trading up in NHL draft
According to various mock drafts, one of the following prospects could fall to the Flyers at No. 17: Alex Tuch (USA Development Team center), Sonny Milano (Boston College winger), Robert Fabbri (Guelph, Ontario center), Kaspari Kapanen (son of former Flyer Sami Kapanen), Josh Ho-Sang (Windsor right wind) and Anthony DeAngelo, (a native of Sewell, NJ).
As for the cream of the draft crop, besides defenseman and presumptive first pick Aaron Ekblad, there’s Vancouver-based center Sam Reinhart, German center Leon Draisaitl, and Kingston, Ont. center Samuel Bennett. Florida, Buffalo, Edmonton, Calgary and the Islanders have the top five picks — and like their NBA and NFL counterparts are also open to listening to offers.
Occasionally a deal for one of the top picks does get done. In 1978 the Flyers packagcd Stanley Cup heroes Tom Bladon, Orest Kindrachuk and the late Ross Lonsberry to Pittsburgh for the No. 7 pick, defenseman Behn Wilson. In 2002 they sent Ruslan Fedotenko and a couple of second rounders to Tampa Bay for the No.4 pick, Joni Pitkanen.
And then there was the ill-fated 1992 Draft day blockbuster with Quebec that brought Eric Lindros to Philadelphia after an arbitrator ruled in their favor over the Rangers. At the time it appeared the Flyers had brought in a can’t miss superstar.
Little did anyone know the real superstar turned out to be the player they gave up, Peter Forsberg, along with five other players, two first round picks and $15 million. One of those extra five players: Flyers’ GM Ron Hextall.
“We’ll look at trading up if we can,” said Hextall, whose biggest concern with the current roster is finding a way to move salary that would give him some cap maneuverability for the free agent market, which opens July 1. “But we won’t trade up if we’re going to get a similar player at whatever we trade up to as opposed to 17. But there are some good players in this draft. I don’t know if you’d say there’s a cornerstone guy, or a guy that’s going to take a shot at the MVP. It’s hard to say impact player, but I think we’re going to get a good player at 17.”
The fun begins Friday, where the main reaction to most of the names called out figures to be shrugging shoulders. Unlike hoops and football, most of these guys will be a complete mystery.