2018 NHL Draft: Flyers, Hextall add to stockpile of forward prospects
First round picks left winger Joel Farabee and center Jay O'Brien highlight the eight players taken over the weekend.
When each of the eight players was selected by the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday and Saturday at the 2018 NHL Draft, general manager Ron Hextall likely congratulated and welcomed the 18-year-olds to the organization either in person or over the phone.
However, he probably won’t talk to them again for three-to-five years – if at all.
Every player taken will head to college or their respective junior league teams to begin the long journey to fulfill their dream of playing in the National Hockey League.
A couple of lucky players will achieve their childhood goal and even have successful careers. However, most will fall short. The benchmark is to have three players from a draft class per team reach the NHL.
Regardless, let’s take a quick look at who the Flyers drafted this weekend:
For the second straight year, the Flyers used both of their first-round picks on forwards and have taken a forward in the first round each of the last four drafts. They choose left winger Joel Farabee with the No. 14 pick, obtained from the Blues last year in the Brayden Schenn trade, and five picks later pulled off a bit of a stunner by grabbing center Jay O’Brien.
Despite their high draft status, don’t expect to see Farabee or O’Brien in Philadelphia for a minimum of three or four years.
Farabee (6-0, 164) captained the U.S. National U-18 team and will play for Boston University this fall. Considered an excellent two-way player, he has above-average speed and skating ability as well as a deft scoring touch with 31 goals in 58 games with the U.S. National Team Development Program.
“He’s a real attention to detail player,” Hextall told reporters. “He competes hard, he’s got speed, he’s got skill, and he can score.”
While Farabee was expected to go in the middle of the first round, NHL Central Scouting ranked O’Brien 32nd. The Flyers were impressed enough with his potential, though.
O’Brien (5-11, 176), who is headed to Providence College, scored 43 goals and had 37 assists in 30 games at Thayer Academy, and was named All-USA Boys Hockey Player of the Year.
“He’s a really smart player, really good hockey sense,” Hextall said. “He’s competitive, he’s strong, and he’s got a little agitator in him. He’s got a really good shot and sees the ice well.”
The Flyers added six players on the second day of the draft. They took defensemen with their next three picks and then a goalie, before rounding out the event with two more forwards.
The two players from Day 2 who have the best chance of becoming Flyers are blueliners Adam Ginning (6-4, 206) and John St. Ivany (6-2, 198).
Selected with the 50th overall pick in the second round, Ginning is a hulking stay-at-home defenseman who served as the captain for Team Sweden at the 2018 U-18 World Junior Championship.
St. Ivany, on the other hand, was taken with the 112th overall pick in the fourth round and has a coveted right-handed shot.