We know Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel will get taken with the first and second picks, respectively, at the NHL Draft, which is this weekend. We probably even know who are the No. 3 and 4 picks.
From there, though, it’s a total crapshoot. It will leave the Philadelphia Flyers, who own the No. 7 selection, with a bevy of players to choose from in what is being hailed as one of the best drafts in a decade.
Here are the top five names General Manager Ron Hextall is likely considering with the No. 7 pick:
2014 stats/league: 15 goals, 46 assists, 60 games/Western Hockey League
NHL player he compares himself to: Former NHL all-star Nicklas Lidstrom
Scouting report: Strong, savvy and quick with the puck, Provorov is a two-way blueliner that has first-pairing potential and is widely considered the most NHL-ready defenseman in the draft.
Will he be a Flyer?: If he is still on the board at No. 7, absolutely. Even though the organization is stocked with a gluttony of defensive prospects, his talent and potential is too hard to ignore and is probably Hextall’s top choice. The big question is will he still be there when the Flyers pick?
2014 stats/league: 12 goals, 45 assists, 44 games/West Hockey League
NHL player he compares himself to: Claude Giroux
Scouting report: Highly gifted player but his stock took a hit after he suffered a serious knee injury last season.
Will he be a Flyer: The Flyers have to love his play-making skills and they could steal a player that was projected in the top five before his injury. However, a few other players would probably have to be taken for the Flyers to select Barzal.
2014 stats/league: 9 goals, 19 assists, 56 games/Liiga (Finland)
Position: Right wing
NHL player scouts compare him to: Corey Perry and Jakub Voracek
Scouting report: Combined size and strength with elite skating ability – he was the top-ranked European skater by NHL Central Scouting – he might be the best winger in the draft. His stats are deceptive since he played in an elite league against older players.
Will he be a Flyer?: If Provorov is taken, he’s their next guy. He has top-line talent.
2014 stats/league: 9 goals, 16 assists, 35 games/NCAA
NHL player he compares himself to: Jack Johnson
Scouting report: The University of Michigan player is an offensive-minded defenseman that can push the puck, pass it and quarterback the power-play.
Will he be a Flyer?: Don’t be surprised to hear his name called by the commissioner, especially if Provorov is gone. He has all the tools to be an elite defenseman.
Position: Left wing
2014 stats/league: 29 goals, 22 assists, 56 games/Ontario Hockey League
NHL player he compares himself to: A combo of Milan Lucic and Rick Nash
Scouting report: Physical player that uses his size well, Crouse is drawing a lot of attention from analysts.
Will he be a Flyer: Although the team has a glaring hole and lack of depth at left wing and would instantly fill a need, Crouse is ranked in the 10-15 range – and below Rantanen – in many mock drafts. The Flyers could probably trade down and still get him.