This summer will be the biggest summer of Ron Hextall’s tenure as a General Manager for the Philadelphia Flyers. Ron Hextall took over as GM in 2014 after Paul Holmgren got promoted to President of the club.
In these past 4 years Hextall has done a faboulus job restocking the prospect pool, traded away bad contracts to clear up capspace and all in all turning this franchise around. This is the first summer where Hextall has ALL the tools available to take this team from being a bubble team to a bonafide playoff team and possibly a legitimate cup contender.
It all starts the 22nd June in American Airlines center in Dallas, Texas when the 2018 NHL Entry Draft kicks off. The Flyers head into the draft with the 14th and 19th overall pick in the first round along with a 2nd round pick and a couple of later picks for day two.
Having two first round picks in the top 20 gives Hextall ALOT of options and he could look at the possibility to trade up into the top10 (maybe even higher) for a player they target. Trading up in the first round is very expensive and i’m not entirely sure Hextall is prepared to pay whatever a team would demand from him to get into that top 5-10 spot. I’m sure it would could cost Hextall both first rounders and a prospect to get into the top parts of the draft, maybe even more.
Pros & Cons
+ You trade up for a player you have targeted that you “know” will be a impact player for your team, who may also be ready to play in the NHL this winter.
– You will be giving up ALOT of assets for one player. Is it worth it? Only time will tell.
Maybe a minus? You draft one player instead of two in the first round. Do you want one possibly great player or two possibly really good ones? Impossible to know what the right decision is before the players reach their ceilings.
Having two first round picks doesnt just give you options in trading up, it also gives you options to trade back and acquire more assests which is something Hextall has done in the past. I personally hope this draft this is something he WONT do. Getting mroe assets is great and all, but this summer is about improving the team NOW and not five years from now.
Pros & Cons
+ The more assets you have at your disposal the better. If Hextall and the scouting staff feels like they can get the player they are targeting at 25 that means that trading back wont be a bad thing.
– Trading back most likely means that you’re “settling” for a prospect that might not become as good as the one you could have gotten at 14/19. It can also mean that the prospect you drafted will need more time before being NHL-ready and the Flyers need to get better now.
Trading one / both picks for a NHL player
Ron Hextall can if he want trade one of the picks for an established NHL player to help the teams current needs. This is a very popular opinion among fans and that includes myself. I personally hope Hextall finds a trading partner who is looking at possibly shake their core, or a full on rebuild.
Example: Minnesota Wild is one of the teams that might be very aggressive this summer. They’ve already decided not to renew Chuck Fletcher as the General Manager of the team. They could potentially be a good trading partner with the Flyers. I’d like to think that the new GM would be interested in a deal for lets say Nino Niederreiter or Charlie Coyle who both have been on the trading block before if the offer was right.
Pros & Cons
+ You improve your team now, and you speed up the process of the retooling/rebuild.
+ You know what you’re getting in the player unlike the prospects you draft. There’s no guarantees either of the players you draft will become good NHL players.
– You’re trading away a pick that could be the next John Carlson. The Flyers traded away the 27th pick (John Carlson) in the 2008 draft to the Washington Capitals for Steve Eminger and a third round pick. This is one of the worst trades in franchise history.
This is the safest option and most likely the one Hextall will go with this draft. Flyers acquired two first round picks last year when they traded Brayden Schenn to the St Louis Blues. With the first one they drafted Morgan Frost who has been tearing up the OHL with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. The second first round pick they acquired is the 14th overall pick they have this year.
Fans want Hextall to go crazy this summer but staying put in the draft and drafting two good players is not a bad thing. There’s alot of great prospects in this summers draft.
Pros & Cons
+ You stay away from the possibility of another Steven Eminger for John Carlson situation.
+ This is the safest option out there. This could also be a minus since there’s no guarantees the players you draft will become NHL players while the draft picks could give you a legitimate NHL player in a trade.
– You pass on the opportunity to improve your team now.
This is the first out of four articles heading into the NHL draft. In the upcoming days / weeks i will be posting a mini profile on each of the TOP31 prospects in the upcoming draft. So keep an eye out on Flyersnation.net for that.