The NHL draft is quickly upon us and it is time to look at some possible draft targets for the Flyers. The NHL draft begins this Friday June 24th and will leak into Saturday the 25th in Buffalo, NY. The Flyers currently own the 18th overall pick, although there are some rumors that they will try to move up in the draft to maybe target someone like Matthew Tkachuk, or Jesse Puljujarvi.
There is no doubt the Flyers will be looking to add some offensive to their prospect pool as they are overloaded with top-tier defensive projects. They would also seemingly want to add a speedy winger that also has some size, something they lack on the current NHL roster. I have put together a list of 4 guys who seem to fit the bill.
Julien Gauthier RW, CAN
Gauthier sure does have some size, at 6’4”, yet has impressive speed (hockeywriters.com). He is also a pure goal scorer, scoring 41 goals and 16 assists in 54 games with Val-d’Or of the QMJHL last season. Gauthier’s good size would see him project to be a front of the net presence, and maybe a future powerplay force. I like what he brings to the table. Speed, size, scoring ability, and a winger, something the Flyers lack.
Max Jones LW, USA
Jones also has size and is a scoring winger, somewhat of a trend of this article. Jones is 6’3” and scored 28 goals and 24 assists with the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League last season. You could look at the stats of Jones and think he could be a good Flyer. One thing stands out, his 106 penalty minutes in 63 games. He definitely has a mean streak. Jones gets underneath the skin of his opponents yet has tremendous speed for his size and a good wrist shot (hockeywriters.com). He seems like a prototypical Flyer and a good fit.
Riley Tufte LW, USA
The tallest of the prospects profiled is Riley Tufte, standing at 6’5”. With the Fargo Force of the USHL last year, he scored 10 goals and 4 assists in 27 games. Tufte lacks the speed that Gauthier and Jones has and is definitely a net-front presence (hockeywriters.com). He also is more slender for his size at only 205 lbs. I think it is more of a long shot that the Flyers draft him, but he has ideal size, and could be a solid powerplay guy.
Kieffer Bellows C/LW, USA
Bellows, the smallest at 6’0”, is a prolific scorer. He scored 16 goals and 16 assists in only 23 games with the U18 U.S. National Development Team. Bellows is considered a hard worker and excellent forechecker and it shows in his 41 penalty minutes in the 23 games (eliteprospects.com). He has the ability to play both the left wing and the center spot, which offers some versatility. Bellows’ profile reminds me a little bit of Travis Konecny, and the Flyers could go away from likeness in this year’s draft.
It is not out of the picture that the Flyers could be trying to trade up, and using their plethora of defensive prospects to acquire a top-6 pick. If the Flyers hold onto their current pick at 18, I would like them to choose between either Jones or Gauthier, with Gauthier having the edge for me. We will wait and see what happens between now and Friday night.
Image Courtesy of Wikipedia