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Philadelphia Flyers 2018 Seven Round Draft Review

The 2018 NHL Draft has concluded, seven rounds and 217 picks later.

Philadelphia came into the draft with full intentions of using both their first round picks and the Flyers selected zero Canadians for the first time in franchise history.

GM Ron Hextall was said to have liked to make a trade, but the market is quiet, likely waiting for a decision from John Tavares.

Hextall chose the most American skaters in a Flyers draft since 2004, when they took five.

In all, here are the picks:

Joel Farabee, LW, USNTDP (14th)

Jay O’Brien, C, USHL (19th)

Adam Ginning, D, SHL (50th)

John St. Ivany, D, USHL (112th)

Wyatte Wylie, D, WHL (127th)

Samuel Ersson, G, SuperElit (143rd)

Gavin Hain, C, USNTDP (174th)

Marcus Westfält, C/LW, SHL (205th)

The Flyers under Hextall have typically been good drafters, but I didn’t find this one as exciting as past drafts. The only trade was an identical one to last year, giving Montreal a 7th round pick for a 7th in 2019.

This doesn’t mean the draft was a failure. Joel Farabee is one of the smartest players in the draft class and has top line winger potential, although he needs to bulk up considerably.

Farabee played on a line with 11th pick Oliver Wahlstrom, a guy I wanted to trade up for, in USNTDP games. He can certainly hold his own with elite talent, and has the numbers to back it up. In 62 games as captain of the US National Team Development Program, Farabee totaled 33 goals and 43 assists for 76 points.

He’s received comparisons to Pittsburgh playoff phenom Jake Guentzel. A focus on scoring as an undersized forward is a big similarity.

A Philly fan growing up, Farabee envisioned himself being picked 14th by the Flyers. His character and work ethic – things Hextall highlights as important qualities – is abundant. A sick shot with top tier hockey IQ makes Farabee a top prospect in a deep system and Flyer fans should be excited for him.

However, expect some time in the oven. He’s almost 15 pounds lighter than Morgan Frost, who Hextall thinks should gain weight. I’d be surprised to see him make the team this year.

Jay O’Brien is an interesting pick, considering K’Andre Miller and Joe Veleno were still available.

O’Brien, the 19th pick of the draft, wasn’t seen as a top-20 talent coming in. However, it’s not a lack of upside. He has major potential, it’s just that he’s only really played against high schoolers.

What’s intriguing is the 80 points in 30 games at Thayer Academy, with 43 goals. He’s obviously ready for tougher competition, and he’ll get that at Providence College this year.

Thayer Academy has a few connections to the NHL, with alumni such as Hall of Fame players Tony Amonte and Jeremy Roenick, as well as current Minnesota Wild center Charlie Coyle and defenseman Brooks Orpik.

None of them scored as many goals as O’Brien at Thayer. Keep a close eye on his college career, because this is a true “home run” pick.

Adam Ginning at #50 was a much safer choice.

Hes a 6’4” physical defenseman with 40 games of experience in the SHL. Regarded as a shutdown defenseman, he’s shown potential and held his own in Sweden’s top league. He isn’t the next Chris Pronger, but he’s a good hockey player who can move the puck around.

Hockey Central Scouting posted their final rankings with Ginning as the 3rd best international defenseman, behind only 1st pick Rasmus Dahlin and 10th pick Adam Boqvist.

He won’t rack up points, only 4 in 40 SHL games, but showed a little offensive upside in his U18 games, with 11 points in just 20 games.

John St. Ivany is a much needed right handed shot from the blue line.

After being ranked 119th in North American skaters, John (or Jack) St. Ivany was picked at 112.

He made the all-USHL third team and is continuing his hockey career at Yale starting this fall.

St. Ivany has shown offensive upside: 30 assists this year wearing an “A” for Sioux Falls. After only 10 points the year before, he’s taken a big step in his development and looks to continue the trend for Yale University.

Wyatte Wylie flew up the draft boards as the season went on, leaping over 100 prospects up to 71 in the pre draft rankings since midterms. Another right handed defenseman, Wylie is the only CHL player the Flyers picked.

A teammate of Carter Hart, Wylie plays a very safe defensive game. He doesn’t take many risks at all, and although his offensive numbers may be lower from it, it displays a sense of defensive responsibility.

He isn’t one of my top prospects, but he’s a welcome addition to the list. RHD are gold.

Samuel Ersson was Hextall’s seemingly yearly goalie add.

The 7th ranked European goalie appeared in just one SHL game, spending the rest of his time in the SuperElit.

He posted a .920 save percentage over 40 games there, but with a traffic jam of goaltenders waiting to get the call to Philadelphia, he won’t be around anytime soon.

Gavin Hain is a good pick in my eyes.

The Grand Rapids native is going to North Dakota University this season. He’s played on the same USNTDP and put up 35 points this year.

Theres a highlight of him beating Kotkaniemi, the 3rd overall pick by Montreal, to a rebound and scoring. He doesn’t have top-6 potential, but he has the tools that Hextall seems to love, like a strong two-way game.

He was ranked the 104th best North American skater.

Finally, Philadelphia rounded out their 2018 draft with Marcus Westfält.

This is my official sleeper pick this year. Westfält has been described as having similar traits as current Flyer Oskar Lindblom: a pro-style game, overall good decision making, and a good passer.

The 37th ranked European skater fell to pick 205 after averaging just over 7 minutes of ice time per game for elite Swedish club Brynäs IF.

Westfält was over point-per-game pace in 26 Swedish SuperElit junior games before being introduced to the SHL, where he only put up 4 points in 31 games. This is probably credited to his limited ice time and his grand total of 15 shots on goal.

While he has room to improve his skating, his 6’3” frame already exceeds 200 pounds and he brings experience from playing against Sweden’s best. I think he’ll surprise a lot of people.

It wasn’t a bad draft, and we missed a 3rd round pick thanks to Petr Mrazek, but I generally liked all of our picks. If I had to grade the Flyers 2018 draft, I’d say B-.

Development camp begins June 28th, and all 8 picks are expected to report among the 33 total prospects invited.

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