THE NIGHT THAT SHOCKED THE WORLD
Saturday night Flyers fans were watching the Phantoms try to stay alive in their first round AHL series against the Hershey Bears. When the season was over for the Flyers, many of their fans turned to the Phantoms making the playoffs to keep their enjoyment of the game alive. The Flyers had another disappointing season, but their AHL franchise was still alive. Future Flyers were still playing hockey and that was enough to keep their interest peaked.
The Phantoms took a 1-0 lead into the locker room after the first period. In between periods, the NHL held the lottery for this year’s entry draft. Flyers fans were ho-hum about it as they had a meager 2.2% chance of winning the lottery.
Then it happened. When the 13th card was revealed, gone was the Flyers logo and instead it displayed the Winnipeg Jets. Flyers social media exploded. The Flyers had moved into the top 3 of the draft. Now fans were glued to the lottery to see where they would pick in the top 3.
The 3rd card was turned over and it was Dallas which meant the Flyers would get one of the 2 consensus top picks of Nolan Patrick and Nico Hischier. The only remaining unknown was would the Flyers pick 1st or 2nd?
New Jersey was on the 1st pick card which meant Flyers were number 2. That was more than alright for Flyers fans though. After a lackluster season filled with frustration about players and roster decisions this was the jolt fans had dreamed about.
We had been examining possible draft selections for the Flyers when they were expected to pick 13th. We can forget about those choices and now focus on the top of the draft.
In the next few articles, we will look at the potential selections at number two for the Flyers and see how things could shake out depending on who New Jersey selects and intimately who Ron Hextall decides to take.
We will first assume the Devils take the player who has been the consensus number one since pre season Nolan Patrick which would likely mean the Flyers pick Nico Hischier.
WITH THE NUMBER 2 PICK THE FLYERS SELECT – NICO HISCHIER!!!
Weight: 179 pounds
Position: Center/Right Wing
Team: Halifax Mooseheads
Hometown: Naters, SUI
2017 Stats: Games: 57 Goals: 38 Assists: 48 Points: 86 +/-: +20
- 2016/17 – QMJHL Rookie of Year
- Mike Bossy Best Professional Prospect Award,
- Most Goals by Rookie, Most Assists by Rookie, Most Points by Rookie,
- QMJHL All Rookie Team,
- Drafted 6th overall 2016 CHL Import Draft
- Future Considerations – 2nd
- NHL Central Scouting – 2nd
- Mckeen’s Hockey – 2nd
- Hockey Prospects dot Com – 2nd
- ISS Hockey – 2nd
When the Flyers won the 2nd spot in the entry draft they jumped 11 places which was the largest improvement in the history of the draft. It is still incredible to think about it. This is the event the Flyers desperately needed in order to take their team into the future. Yes, they would have picked up a good player at 13, but not a game changer like they will pick up with Hischier.
Hischier is a future number one center who can take over from Claude Giroux. Hischier is smaller than Patrick. However, he makes up for his lack of size with speed and determination. Everyone saw him nearly single handedly beat the US team in last year’s WJC U20 tournament game.
His playmaking skills are top notch. He makes it look effortless on the ice. No opening is too small for him to be able to create a scoring chance.
“To help put Hischier’s playmaking into perspective, he averaged more primary assists per 60 at even-strength than Matthew Tkachuk, Travis Konecny, Logan Brown and Alex Nylander did during their draft years.” – Todd Cordell
Many scouts believe that Hischier is ready to play in the NHL in 2017.
Hischier is the total package. He has dynamic skating ability and while he may not the fastest in the draft, his quickness and shiftiness separate him from the rest of the bunch. He is just as good as a goal scorer or a playmaker. He has very good hands and a high end hockey IQ/sense. He is always looking around the ice and like a good Chess player is thinking about 2-3 moves ahead.
He has good lateral as well as north south movement. While not the biggest guy on the ice he does not shy away from taking a hit to make a play. His instincts and vision are superior on the ice. Hischier has tremendous hands and passing skill to go with amazing stick handling ability.
He is the exciting, high end player Flyers fans will absolutely love to watch for years to come. He will improve the existing core players adding speed and transition which the Flyers sorely lack. With speed and accuracy, he is able to distribute the puck to line mates to finish plays. He likes to carry the puck and drive possession as well. He should be able to help the Flyers improve their 5v5 play which has dropped off the last few years.
If Hischier is the Flyers choice either this fall or sometime mid season you should see him make his debut and not look back. After the disappointing and frustrating season the Flyers just finished he is exactly what fans have dreamed about.
**It was originally reported that Hischier was eligible to play in the AHL next season. That has since been corrected as he is not “on loan” from Swedish team, but is on a CHL contract and is therefore ineligible.
I have removed section that referred to him being AHL eligible.