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2017 NHL draft prep: 2nd-round options for Flyers

2017 NHL draft prep: 2nd-round options for Flyers

It's easy to forget the NHL draft does not end at No. 2 for the Flyers.

In fact, they have 10 more picks after the first round and five in the first four rounds. Needless to say, this is a crucial draft for the Flyers. GM Ron Hextall already set himself up for one before landing the No. 2 pick. Now comes time to execute months of scouting.

"We have a lot of picks here and we have to hit," Hextall recently told the Flyers' website. "We can't just hit on No. 2 and then be satisfied."

Because we have an idea of whom the pick will be at No. 2, we decided to take a look at some potential targets for the Flyers in the second round.

Grant Mismash, LW, 18, 6-0/186, USNTDP
Mismash may not be around when the Flyers are on the board in the second round. The Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, native is projected to go anywhere between late first round and middle of the second. He finished as the 24th-rated North American skater by the NHL's Central Scouting Bureau. The 6-foot, 186-pound winger styles his game after Corey Perry and enjoys the physical side of the game. He's a product of the USNTDP, where he scored 26 goals and 35 assists in 65 games playing for the program's U-18 team. In 26 USHL games, he tallied eight goals and 24 helpers. He was part of the U.S. gold-medal team at the 2017 U-18 world championship, a tournament in which he registered three goals and eight points.

In the fall, he'll begin his college career at the University of North Dakota, a storied program that has produced many hockey greats, including Zach Parise and Jonathan Toews. In fact, Mismash also played one season, in 2014-15, at Shattuck-St. Mary's, a private high school, in Faribault, Minnesota, where Parise also played as a teenager. After Mismash committed to UND in 2015, Shattuck coach Tom Ward told the Grand-Forks Herald that Mismash "doesn't play like an Edina (Minnesota) kid. He plays like a kid who grew up in the country, playing like a farm boy, which is a compliment."

Jesper Boqvist, C, 18, 6-0/179, Brynäs IF (SHL)
The Flyers are likely familiar with Boqvist from keeping tabs on Oskar Lindblom, their 2015 fifth-round pick who's coming overseas next season with great anticipation. Boqvist plays both center and wing with a quick first step, good puck skills and a scoring touch. After breaking onto the scene in the junior ranks in 2015-16, he scored a combined 33 points in 50 games this past season in the SHL, Division 2 and the J20 SuperElit league.

Whether it's fair or not, Boqvist will ultimately be compared to other Swedish players such as Nicklas Backstrom and Jakob Silfverberg, who both also played for Brynäs. Mats Backlin, the Brynäs J20 coach, told Swedish newspaper Dalarnas Tidningar Boqvist is "as good as those in this age. He's incredibly talented and you can compare him with them at this age." He finished as the 10th-rated European skater by Central Scouting. He's a left-handed shot who compares his play to Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov. According to Expressen, Boqvist may leave Brynäs for another SHL team if he's promised an expanded role.

Matthew Strome, LW, 18, 6-4/206 (Hamilton, OHL)
If his last name rings familiarity, it should. Strome's older brothers, Ryan and Dylan, were both top-five draft picks in the last six years. The Islanders drafted Ryan Strome fifth overall in 2011, while Arizona selected Dylan Strome with the third pick in 2015. The youngest Strome brother is not taking the same path to the NHL as his brothers, however. Matthew Strome still could squeak into the first round but projects to be a second-rounder. Whether he falls to the 43-44 range is unforeseen, but the biggest knock on him is skating.

An Ontario-based NHL scout told Sportsnet last November of Strome's skating: "Technically it's sort of painful to watch. He has a short, choppy stride." There is still plenty to like about Strome's game. He's a big, physical winger who's not afraid to head to the dirty areas to score. Strome, who finished as the 33rd-rated North American skater by Central Scouting, led Hamilton with 34 goals this season. But his skating might be a problem going forward, which may be enough for him to slip into the Flyers' range in the second round.

Scott Reedy, C, 18, 6-2/204, USNTDP
Another product of the USNTDP and Shattuck-St. Mary's, Reedy, a Prior Lake, Minnesota, native, is committed to play at the University of Minnesota in the fall. He finished as the 40th-rated North American skater by Central Scouting, a seven-slot climb from the midterm rankings. At 6-foot-2, he has good size, playmaking ability and a high compete level. His versatility is a bonus. He can play both the pivot and the wing. Future Considerations calls him a "supreme skater who is just as agile, quick and mobile as he is smart."

Reedy, who likens his game to Islanders center John Tavares, notched 22 goals and 42 points in 60 games with the USNTDP U-18 team in 2016-17, and 10 goals and 14 points in 21 USHL contests. In scoring a hat trick against Arizona State on Feb. 25, Reedy showcased the willingness to create havoc in front of the net and get to the slot for easy scoring chances. He figures to go around the middle of the second round, where the Flyers pick.

Morgan Frost, C, 18, 5-11/170, Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)
One common theme with Frost that comes to mind is his hockey intelligence. Central Scouting, which rated him 31st among North American skaters, describes him as a "smart and skilled center with very good offensive hockey sense — excellent vision and anticipation to quickly take advantage of opportunities." He's a playmaking center who projects to play wing in the NHL until he adds more muscle, which he could do by the time his drafting team decides he's ready. He's a creative, plus passer who could benefit from shooting the puck more.

The Sault Ste. Marie forward scored 20 goals and 62 points in 67 games during the regular season and added 11 points in 11 postseason games. He styles his game after Minnesota center Mikael Granlund. He projects to go in the second round and very well could be an option for the Flyers when they're on the clock.

Ivan Lodnia, RW, 17, 5-10/182, Erie (OHL)
Lodnia has a Flyers connection — the Flyers hired Erie coach Kris Knoblauch as an assistant last Wednesday — but would have been on this list regardless. He finished as the 36th-rated North American skater by Central Scouting. He's regarded as a highly skilled forward who bounced around the Otters' lineup this season in different roles largely because of Erie's loaded lineup. Lodnia largely was a staple on Erie's shutdown third line as the season progressed and the playoffs rolled around, which explains the dip in production.

During the regular season, Lodnia collected 57 points in 66 games with Erie. In his first 32 games, he registered 34 points but compiled just 22 in the final 34 games of the season. He had just two points in 22 playoff games but did add five in five Memorial Cup games. Lodnia's size might scare off teams, but in today's NHL there is a place for smaller players. One concern with Lodnia may be his skating. According to OHL Prospects' Brock Otten, Lodnia's "not explosive, nor does he possess high-end speed." Still, Lodnia is described by Future Considerations as "despite his size he is a very difficult player to take off the puck."

Marcus Davidsson, C, 18, 6-0/191, Djurgårdens IF (SHL)
With the Flyers finally appearing to be placing an increased importance on speed and skill, Davidsson could be an intriguing option should he be available when the Orange and Black are on the clock. Davidsson's skating stride produces great speed. Central Scouting rated him the 12th-best European skater, a position he's been in both the midterm and final rankings. A two-way, playmaking pivot, Davidsson tries to emulate fellow Swede and Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog. Future Considerations says of Davidsson: "Not physical, but will step into an opponent to separate the puck as well as battle for position deep in the offensive zone." He's still a project, though, who has to develop consistency, but that should be expected from a teenager dabbling in the SHL.

This season, Davidsson skated on a line with his older brother, Jonathan Davidsson, and Lukas Vejdemo, Montreal's 2015 third-round pick, for Djurgårdens IF of the SHL. He registered just five goals and nine points with Djurgårdens — he had six goals and 10 points in nine games with Djurgårdens' junior club — but played 45 games in one of the best professional leagues in the world outside of the NHL as an 18-year-old.

Jonah Gadjovich, LW, 18, 6-2/209, Owen Sound (OHL)
The numbers are impressive: 46 goals, 28 assists, 74 points in 60 games with the Attack during the 2016-17 campaign, but are those numbers inflated from playing with projected first-round pick Nick Suzuki? That is one of the questions surrounding Gadjovich. He jumped up from the 60th-rated North American skater in Central Scouting's midterm rankings to the 39th-rated skater. From his second year in the OHL to his third, he saw a 50-point increase and produced more than a point-per-game rate.

Gadjovich is projected to go anywhere between the middle of the second round and even the third or fourth rounds. Elite Prospects describes him as "a feisty two-way winger that uses his size and speed to open up space for himself and teammates." He's a gritty, team-first player who has potential to either hit or flop. He may be a reach for where the Flyers will be drafting in the second round, though. He carries some risk.

Other names to watch

Henri Jokiharju, D, 17, 6-0/180, Portland (WHL)
Jokiharju is projected to go anywhere between late in the first round or early second. Probably isn't an option for the Flyers in the early teens of the second but if he falls, it'd be hard to pass up. He finished as the 19th-rated North American skater by Central Scouting.

Pierre-Olivier Joseph, D, 17, 6-2/161, Charlottetown (QMJHL)
A puck-moving defenseman with size who finished as the 27th-rated North American skater in Central Scouting's final rankings. He had six goals and 39 points in 62 games with Charlottetown this season. Like Jokiharju, Joseph likely will be gone before the Flyers pick.

Michael DiPietro, G, 18, 6-0/200, Windsor (OHL)
The Flyers are high on Carter Hart and Felix Sandstrom, so goaltender is probably not something they'll look for in the second round, but if they do, DiPietro is an option. Finished as the fourth-rated North American goalie by Central Scouting.

Stelio Mattheos, C, 17, 6-1/192, Brandon (WHL)
Mattheos fell from the 23rd-rated North American skater by Central Scouting in the midterm rankings to the 38th-rated skater in the final rankings. He models his game after Jeff Carter. Scored 26 goals and 61 points in 69 games this season with Brandon.

Alexander Chmelevski, C, 18, 6-0/190, Ottawa (OHL)
Finished as the 43rd-rated North American skater by Central Scouting. Had 43 points in 58 games with Ottawa this season. Should be available when the Flyers pick but likely goes later in the second round or even the third.

Alex Formenton, LW, 17, 6-2/165, London (OHL)
Formenton finished as the 29th-rated North American skater by Central Scouting. Has good size and is a plus skater but still needs to add muscle to his frame. Had 34 points in 65 games in his first season with London, his second year in the OHL.

Flyers Notes: Connor McDavid comes to town; Matt Read to play?

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Flyers Notes: Connor McDavid comes to town; Matt Read to play?

Believe it or not, the Flyers are "aware" of 21-year-old Oilers phenom Connor McDavid. That doesn't make preparing for the 2017 Art Ross Trophy (most points in NHL) winner any easier, let alone slow him down.

“You have to be understated a little bit and say you're going to be aware when he's on the ice, but obviously there's more to it," Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said of McDavid Friday. "He's a heck of a player and a guy that can make something happen at any time.”

McDavid has picked up right where he left off last season when he led the NHL with 100 points and 70 assists. Six games into the '17-18 campaign, the third-year centerman already has three goals and five assists, and he's doing it in style. His two helpers helped lift Edmonton over the Blackhawks on Thursday, one of which led to the game-winner in overtime, the other — a no-look, behind-the-back pass — making highlight reels everywhere.

So, yeah, the Flyers are well aware of McDavid and what he's capable of. That doesn't mean he'll be easy to stop.

"We just have to take time and space away from him," defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere said. "That's the biggest thing. You just can't give him the space out there. He's going to wind it up and wheel.

“We're aware of it. We're going to stick to our gameplan, nothing special, but obviously be aware when he's on the ice.”

The Flyers knew all about McDavid last season, too. He still managed to find the back of the net twice and rack up three assists in those two meetings.

McDavid has also experienced success against both of the Flyers netminders. As a member of the Flames, probable starter Brian Elliott posted an 0-3-1 record with a .870 save percentage in four appearances against the Oilers in '16-17. Michal Neuvirth was 0-1 and allowed six goals in his only meeting.

It seems all the Flyers can do is be aware of the challenges McDavid presents.

"Probably everywhere they go, they have reporters asking the other team what their plan is against him," Elliott said.

“He's just a unique talent that you have to be aware of at all times. He's able to make plays that a lot of other guys aren't. You just have to be on your toes. You have to respect him, but you have to play your game and make sure you're tough no matter who it is out there.”

Laughton confident
Brandon Manning isn't the only member of the Flyers who has experience with McDavid.  Scott Laughton has been up close and personal with the budding superstar, having played against each other in juniors and gone to some of the same camps.

With Laughton centering the fourth line, he should have some opportunities to put his familiarity of McDavid to the test. The Flyers are going to need any advantage they can get — no matter how small or insignificant it might seem.

"I went to a pro camp with McDavid in Toronto in the summer, and he's special," Laughton said. "He's got the best hands I've seen. He's a world-class talent.

“At the same time, tomorrow I'm going to try to limit his space, get in his face and make it hard for him to get going and get speed. I think I can try to keep up with him once I get my speed going.”

Laughton seemed confident about potentially matching up against McDavid. At least he has a plan, anyway.

“There's not much you can do," Laughton said. You just have to be hard to play against, be in his face all night and kind of get him off his game that way.”

Injury report
Flyers forwards Wayne Simmonds and Taylor Leier both missed Friday's skate with what the club termed as maintenance days.

Simmonds was already dealing with a lower-body injury before he was clipped in the face by a stick during Thursday's 1-0 loss to the Predators. It doesn't sound like anything that should prevent the 10-year veteran from suiting up against the Oilers, but clearly, he's banged up right now.

Leier's absence was a bit more of a mystery, and given the 23-year-old rookie's inexperience, missing practice would seem to point to an injury of some kind.

In a bit of good news on the injury front, Jordan Weal returned to practice for the Flyers. However, he refused to let on as to whether he'll be on the ice Saturday.

“Just got out there, went for a twirl," Weal said. "It's day-to-day right now, so just taking it day-by-day.”

Matt Read replaced Simmonds during the skate, and could be preparing to make his regular-season debut. Read joined Weal and Valtteri Filppula on Simmonds' unit, while Jori Lehtera took Leier's place on the fourth line.

Don't read too much into those combinations, however, as the availability of Simmonds, Weal and Leier will no doubt play a role.

Sanheim sticks in the lineup
Following his strong showing against Nashville on Thursday, it appears rookie defenseman Travis Sanheim will suit up for his second game in a row.

Sanheim was a healthy scratch for the Flyers' previous two contests but drew rave reviews for his performance against the Predators. He was paired with Radko Gudas at practice, while Gostisbehere and Robert Hagg continued their partnership.

Manning may be the odd man out on Saturday, despite his history with McDavid. Ivan Provorov and Andrew MacDonald remained a unit at practice, with Manning getting some work in MacDonald's spot.

Manning was hopeful he would be in uniform. Hakstol, on the other hand, downplayed Manning's personal rivalry with McDavid as it pertains to any decision about which defensemen will skate.

“It's a situation for us every game where we have that tough decision," Hakstol said. "Regardless of whether it's one particular team, we'll look at it situationally and consider all of those factors as to who the six are that dress tomorrow. There's a lot of different factors involved."

Best of NHL: Red-hot Devils storm back to beat Senators in overtime

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Best of NHL: Red-hot Devils storm back to beat Senators in overtime

OTTAWA, Ontario -- John Moore scored 1:20 into overtime and the New Jersey Devils used three unanswered goals to beat the Ottawa Senators 5-4 in overtime Thursday night.

This year's No. 1 draft pick Nico Hischier scored twice for New Jersey. The Swiss center's opening goal was the first of his NHL career.

Kyle Palmieri and Marcus Johansson also scored for the Devils, who improved to 4-0-0 on the road and 6-1-0 overall. Cory Schneider allowed four goals on 24 shots before leaving with a lower-body injury. Keith Kinkaid started the third period and stopped nine shots. Taylor Hall chipped in with four assists.

Kyle Turris, Derick Brassard, Alex Burrows and Tom Pyatt scored for the Senators, and Craig Anderson made 41 saves (see full recap).

Bergeron sparks Bruins’ win over Canucks
BOSTON -- Patrice Bergeron had a goal and three assists in his season debut, moving up to seventh on Boston's career scoring list as the Bruins beat the Vancouver Canucks 6-3 on Thursday night.

Anders Bjork scored twice for Boston, Brad Marchand had a goal and two assists and David Pastrnak added a goal and an assist for the Bruins, who scored five straight goals after falling behind 1-0 early in the first period.

Anton Khudobin made 26 saves for Boston while starting in place of Tuukka Rask, who is out indefinitely with a concussion he suffered in practice Wednesday.

Derek Dorsett, Bo Horvat and Thomas Vanek scored for the Canucks, and Michael Del Zotto had two assists (see full recap).

Sergachev, Vasilevskiy help Lightning blank Blue Jackets
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Mikhail Sergachev scored his first two NHL goals and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 43 saves for his fifth career shutout in the Tampa Bay Lightning's 2-0 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday night.

Nikita Kucherov assisted on both goals to push his NHL-leading points total to 14. His goals streak was stopped at seven games.

The Lightning took advantage of the few openings offered by Sergei Bobrovsky, who stopped 19 shots for the Blue Jackets and lost for the first time this season. Columbus had won four straight.

The Lightning, coming off an overtime loss to New Jersey on Tuesday night, improved to 6-1-1 for their best start opening 7-0-1 in their Stanley Cup-winning 2003-04 season.

Columbus dropped to 5-2-0, hurt by uncharacteristic sloppy passing and continued power-play problems in its first shutout loss of the season (see full recap).