2017 NHL draft Day 2: Tracking all of the Flyers' picks

2017 NHL draft Day 2: Tracking all of the Flyers' picks

The Flyers finished Day 1 of the NHL draft with a trade and opened Day 2 in the same fashion.

In the second round Saturday, Ron Hextall and company sent the 44th, 75th and 108th selections to the Coyotes in exchange for the 35th overall pick to take left winger Isaac Ratcliffe.

The Flyers, who came into the day with 10 picks from Rounds 2-7, ended up making seven. They also traded their final spot — 199th overall — to the Canadiens in exchange for a seventh-round pick in 2018. At No. 199, Montreal took goalie Cayden Primeau, the son of former Flyers captain Keith Primeau.

So, after grabbing Nolan Patrick and Morgan Frost on Friday, here's how the Flyers made out on Day 2 to wrap things up:

Second round

No. 35: Isaac Ratcliffe, LW, 6-6/200, Guelph (OHL)
Ratcliffe, from London, Ontario, is a big boy that scored 28 goals with the Storm last season, his second in junior. The 18-year-old also tallied 26 assists to finish with 54 points.

The lefty shot notched two goals in five games for Team Canada at the 2016 Under-18 World Junior Championship and is a left winger that can also play the right side.

Per, Ratcliffe models his game after Rangers forward Rick Nash, a six-time All-Star who is also a left winger and 6-foot-4, 212 pounds.

Ratcliffe, according to NHL Central Scouting, is a "big, strong power forward who demonstrates good hockey intelligence and a soft touch around the net — possesses a multi-dimensional skill set where he can make plays on the rush and also use his size, strength and reach to be a threat on the cycle."

Some thought Ratcliffe would have been drafted much higher.

"In the next one to two years, you're going to see that progress and start to see how big a player I can be and that I can be one of the top players in this draft with my size, with my talent," Ratcliffe said Saturday (see story). "I can definitely be a player who's going to be a force in the future."

Third round

No. 80: Kirill Ustimenko, G, 6-3/187, MHK Dynamo St. Petersburg (MHL)
Hextall and the Flyers had hoped to snag one goalie and did just that in the third round.

Ustimenko had a 1.74 goals-against average and .938 save percentage in 27 games last season for MHK Dynamo St. Petersburg.

"We did not chase him," Hextall said (see story). "We were surprised he fell there. We actually talked about him much earlier. Our guys really liked him and our comfort level was better than other teams."

The Russian is 18 years old and was born in Belarus. He joins the Flyers' promising collection of goalie prospects, featuring Carter Hart and Felix Sandstrom, as well as Anthony Stolarz and Alex Lyon — both restricted free agents.

Fourth round

No. 106: Matthew Strome, LW, 6-3/207, Hamilton (OHL)
Strome comes with rich hockey bloodlines as his brothers, Ryan and Dylan, were both top-five draft picks.

The 18-year-old led the Bulldogs with 34 goals and 62 points in 66 games last season. Known for his scoring ability with skilled hands, Strome was a potential second-rounder but slipped to the fourth round. That's possibly because of the need to improve his skating, which is considered a weakness.

However, the Flyers wanted to put an emphasis on wingers this draft and could have a steal in Strome at this late of a pick. The Canadian likes to focus on his two-way game while being strong with the puck.

No. 107: Maksim Sushko, RW, 5-11/181, Owen Sound (OHL)
One pick later, another winger.

Like Ustimenko, Sushko also hails from Belarus. This past season was his first at the junior level, where he registered 32 points (17 goals, 15 assists) and a plus-10 rating in 54 games for the Attack. He then tacked on 11 points (three goals, eight assists) in 17 playoff games.

Some reports say Sushko brings good speed and playmaking potential, but his work ethic and engagement without the puck can be better.

Per, the 18-year-old's childhood hockey idol was Red Wings great Pavel Datsyuk.

Fifth round

No. 137: Noah Cates, LW, 6-0/165, Stillwater Area High School (Minn.)
Cates, 18, delivered 65 points (20 goals, 45 assists) at Stillwater last season, and also played 11 games for the USHL's Omaha Lancers, whom he's expected to report to in 2017-18.

Cates is a 2018-19 University of Minnesota-Duluth commit.

Sixth round

No. 168: Olle Lycksell, C, 5-10/163, Linkoping (Sweden-Jr.)
Lycksell is only 17 years old and had nine points (four goals and five assists) over 29 games in the Super Elite League this past season.

Seventh round

No. 196: Wyatt Kalynuk, D, 6-2/186, Bloomington (USHL)
Kalynuk was the only defenseman taken by the Flyers. He's played the last two seasons for the USHL's Bloomington Thunder, compiling 55 points in 119 games.

Kalynuk, who is 20 years old, is a 2017-18 University of Wisconsin commit.

Flyers exorcise some demons thanks to Sean Couturier

Flyers exorcise some demons thanks to Sean Couturier


COLUMBUS, Ohio — The losing streak at Nationwide Arena is finally over.

After 11 straight losses on Columbus’ home ice, the Flyers added a pair of crucial points in the standings Friday behind Sean Couturier’s overtime game-winner for a 2-1 win over the Blue Jackets (see observations).

“It’s been a long time,” said Wayne Simmonds, who opened the scoring with a tip-in goal in the second period. “I’ve been here for seven years; that feels like an eternity, but I felt we had a strong team effort tonight and the boys showed up.”

Although the outcome in Columbus favored the orange and black for the first time since Dec. 13, 2005, Friday night’s divisional contest didn’t veer too far out of the ordinary. Nemesis Sergei Bobrovsky (24-18-5) made his seventh home start against his former team, and was once again stellar, stopping 23 of the Flyers’ 25 shots.

The two-time Vezina Trophy winner put on a magic show, starting in the first period with acrobatic saves against Jordan Weal, Couturier and Claude Giroux.

“He’s a good goalie,” Simmonds said. “You've just got to keep shooting and second opportunities, third opportunities — he doesn’t give up very many goals, and I thought Neuvy (Michal Neuvirth) played just as well, if even better.”

As the default starter with Brian Ellliott on injured reserve, Neuvirth (8-7-3) was outstanding, earning the team’s Ric Flair robe. With Columbus coming off of three consecutive outings of firing 50 or more shots on goal, the 29-year-old goalie faced a barrage of shots, stopping 35 of 36 en route to his eighth win of the season.

“I felt pretty good; I feel confident,” Neuvirth said. “Obviously, [it was a] great team effort. The guys played unbelievable in front of me and I was seeing the puck well. It was a good two points.”

After letting Tuesday night’s game against New Jersey slip away in a 5-4 shootout loss, the rare pair of points in Columbus were crucial for Dave Hakstol’s team to stay ahead of the Devils, who won for the second consecutive time with a 5-2 win on Thursday (see standings).

Adding to the familiarity to the feel of a showdown in Ohio’s capital, the contest remained a one-goal game from Simmonds’ tally in the second to Cam Atkinson’s equalizer at the 16:32 mark of the third.

“Both goaltenders played really well tonight,” Hakstol said. “It was a tight, grinding game; there were some great opportunities [in] both directions. I think both teams made enough plays for it to be more than a 1-1 game, but both goaltenders were really good. We’re more and more comfortable in these games. We’ve won a lot of these games and that’s a lot of credit to our guys just staying with it.”

In addition to yet another one-goal game between these two teams, Friday’s tilt marked the seventh time in the last 13 meetings that a game was decided in overtime. Despite some trends between these teams remaining true, however, the Flyers were able to buck a few trends, as well. Couturier’s game-winner not only added to his team-leading goal total in a career year (29), it was also just the fifth overtime blemish for the Blue Jackets all season (12-5). The result was also Bobrovsky’s first home loss against the orange and black (6-0-1), and just his third overall career loss against the team with which he debuted.

“You never want give up a late goal like that, especially two games in a row,” Couturier said of Atkinson’s overtime-inducing goal. “But the key is we focused on what was next, and we came back hard and battled and got that extra point, and that’s what matters.”

Couturier’s impact was felt in Friday night’s game, much as it’s been all year. The first-line center made life difficult for Bobrovsky in attacking the net and dishing out creative centering passes. The 25-year-old is now one goal away from doubling his previous career-high mark (15), while matching linemate Giroux for the team lead in ice time for forwards (20:30).

The redeeming win in Columbus may have been exactly what the Flyers needed, but they’ll have only a day to enjoy it. The orange and black are back in action on Sunday as they travel to the Big Apple to square off against the New York Rangers in what will be the start of a five-game stretch in nine days that will include their third meeting against the Blue Jackets.

Depending on how the stretch run turns out, the Flyers very well could point to getting the proverbial monkey off their back at Nationwide Arena on Friday night as the start of something special.

Greiss catches Islanders' goalie wave

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Greiss catches Islanders' goalie wave

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Thomas Greiss stopped 44 shots for his first shutout of the season, and the New York Islanders beat the Carolina Hurricanes 3-0 on Friday night.

Johnny Boychuk, Anthony Beauvillier and John Tavares scored for the Islanders, who moved past the Hurricanes into the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. Greiss got his eighth career shutout one night after Jaroslav Halak had 50 saves in a 3-0 home win against the crosstown-rival Rangers.

Cam Ward finished with 20 saves for the Hurricanes, who lost their second straight and fell into a tie with Columbus one point behind the Islanders for the conference's last playoff spot.

Jeff Skinner had his game-tying goal in the third period waved off after a replay review ruled he was offside when he entered the zone. Carolina failed to get a better scoring chance the rest of the night despite getting nearly twice as many shots as the Islanders (see full recap).

Wheeler, Scheifele help Jets rout Avalanche
WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- Blake Wheeler had two goals and assists and Mark Scheifele assisted on three goals as the Winnipeg Jets defeated the Colorado Avalanche 6-1 on Friday night.

Wheeler ended a 15-game goal drought and Scheifele now has seven points in his last three games.

Kyle Connor, Andrew Copp, Patrik Laine and Nikolaj Ehlers also scored for Winnipeg, which is 5-2-1 during its 10-game homestand. Dustin Byfuglien and Tyler Myers each had two assists and Laine added one.

Connor Hellebuyck made 30 saves to pick up his 30th win of the season. It was the most wins by a Jets goalie since the franchise moved to Winnipeg from Atlanta prior to the 2011-12 season. Ondrej Pavelec had 29 wins the first season.

Avalanche forward Mikko Rantanen nixed Hellebuyck's shutout bid when he scored unassisted on a wraparound with 5:56 left in the third period.

Colorado goalie Jonathan Bernier was pulled following the second period after Winnipeg went up 4-0 on 20 shots. Semyon Varlamov stopped six of the eight shots he faced in relief for the Avalanche (see full recap).

Bishop, Stars hold off Blues to make division move
DALLAS -- Ben Bishop stopped 27 shots and the Dallas Stars held on to beat St. Louis 2-1 on Friday night, moving past the Blues into third place in the Central Division.

Mattias Janmark and Stephen Johns scored for Dallas, which had a season-low 16 shots on goal while winning for the sixth time in seven games. The Stars, who had not been this high in the standings since Nov. 5, are tied with the Blues with 72 points, but have two games in hand.

Brayden Schenn spoiled Bishop's shutout bid with a power-play goal with 1:14 remaining, and Jake Allen finished with 14 saves for St. Louis. The Blues have lost three straight (0-2-1).

Neither team scored in the first period, when the Blues outshot Dallas 8-3. St. Louis failed to score on two power plays, and the Stars were unsuccessful on their only man-advantage of the period.

Janmark scored on the power play at 2:42 of the second, getting his 16th of the season to top his total from his rookie season two years ago. It was also his fourth on power-play goal of the season.

Bishop preserved the Stars' lead early in the third as he turned away Schenn's backhand attempt in front of the net (see full recap).