If Samuel Morin doesn't pan out, is Adam Ginning the guy to replace him?

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AP Images/NBC Sports Philadelphia

If Samuel Morin doesn't pan out, is Adam Ginning the guy to replace him?

DALLAS — A day after Ron Hextall announced a new three-year extension for Samuel Morin (see story), the Flyers went out and grabbed a guy who could be the Swedish version of Morin, choosing Adam Ginning with the 50th overall selection in the second round of Saturday's NHL draft (see story).

A stay-at-home defenseman, the 6-foot-4 Ginning possesses a lot of the same attributes as the 6-foot-7 Morin — grittiness, toughness, with an ability to protect the net. In fact, Ginning may be more NHL ready than Morin was when he was drafted as an 18-year-old back in 2013; Ginning started his pro hockey career in Sweden at the age of 16. 

In some ways, Hextall wasn’t expecting Ginning to be available as he described the second round as a “crapshoot” with teams going completely off the board with picks that weren’t projected to be in the top 60.

“We like his size. We like his upside,” Hextall said of Ginning. “He’s a big guy and he moves pretty well for a big guy. He’s got solid puck skills and he has the range we need for a solid defensive defenseman.”

With Morin looking at a lengthy six-to-nine month recovery from a torn ACL, the organization needed to add a little more muscle within the farm system now that Robert Hagg has joined the Flyers full-time.

“It fell on our list,” Hextall said. “We had two guys, two defensemen, and it fell on our list, so it was good the way it worked out for us.”     

Unlike first-round pick center Jay O’Brien, who wasn’t projected to be taken in the first round, many draft experts believed Ginning had first-round potential before slipping to the Flyers midway through Round 2.

NHL Central Scouting had Ginning listed as the third-rated international defenseman behind only fellow Swedes Rasmus Dahlin, who went No. 1 to the Buffalo Sabres, and Adam Boqvist, taken eighth overall by the Blackhawks.

Ginning has a year remaining on his contract with Linköping HC of the Swedish Hockey League before he can come to North America, which may be to his benefit since his game has been more suited to the smaller NHL-sized rink.  

“I’ll take it as it comes,” Ginning said. “It depends how I play in Sweden now in the upcoming years. We’ll see what happens.”

More on the 2018 NHL draft

• Flyers' draft shows big year for USA Hockey

• Hextall surprised by Flyers' quiet draft weekend

• With O'Brien, Hextall shows he's 'never' one to be safe

• With Philly ties, Farabee can't wait to help Flyers

• Samuelsson continues family's NHL tradition

 

Ron Hextall surprised by quiet draft weekend for Flyers

Ron Hextall surprised by quiet draft weekend for Flyers

DALLAS — The Flyers finally made a draft day deal. 

They disposed of one of their two seventh-round picks (190th overall) to the Canadiens for Montreal’s seventh-rounder in 2019.

That was it.

A quiet weekend for general manager Ron Hextall, who certainly had discussions, but it was just one big billow of smoke and not all that different from the wood-filled BBQ pits in the surrounding Dallas area.

“The draft didn’t have the typical big deals. I was surprised as anybody,” Hextall said Saturday. “I thought there were some bigger deals, but that’s the way it goes.”

Hextall couldn’t even get a seventh-rounder for RFA goaltender Petr Mrazek, who the Flyers acquired for a third-round pick back in February, and will now be a free agent on July 1.

“Someone calls me, I’ll certainly listen,” Hextall said. “But I don’t think there’s a market there.” 

So the organization came to the American Airlines Center on Saturday focused on the draft at hand, and it started at the defense position, which the Flyers failed to address during the first round.

After snagging Adam Ginning to kick-start Day 2, the Flyers found that elusive right-handed defenseman by taking John St. Ivany with their fourth-round selection. St. Ivany developed through the Junior Kings program in L.A. before spending the past two years with Sioux Falls of the USHL. He will attend Yale University next season.

“Good size, moves well and solid with the puck,” Hextall said. “He was a good fit for our group.”

St. Ivany was the first right-handed defenseman the Flyers had selected since Mark Friedman in 2014, but the organization didn’t wait around to find another. Hextall and the scouts jumped at the opportunity to choose Wyatte Wylie, Carter Hart’s teammate with the Everett Silvertips of the Western Hockey League.

Wylie wasn’t projected to be drafted when the season started, but he shot up the board with a very strong second half by contributing offensively.

“We like him. He was a fit for us,” Hextall said. “Kind of a guy you look before the draft and see where he fits and a guy that we targeted later in the draft. We like his game.” 

To some surprise, the Flyers picked Swedish goaltender Samuel Ersson one round later, a position Hextall didn’t believe the team would address in this year’s draft.

“We weren’t chasing a goalie,” Hextall said. “We like his size. We like his athleticism. We think there’s some upside there that hasn’t been tapped yet. We got him a lot later. Had we needed a goalie, we would have taken him a lot earlier.”

The Flyers found another college-bound forward with two-way center Gavin Hain, who self-admittedly struggled in his first year with the USA Hockey National Team Development Program, calling last season a “tough” year.

“My first year away from home and all the adversity I faced,” Hain, who will attend North Dakota next season, said. “A new team and everything at the program. The NTDP itself is a hard-grooming place to play as a player, but it’s a great spot to develop. I struggled for a bit at times.”

After trading their first seventh-round selection, it left the Flyers with only the 205th overall pick, which they used to take Sweden’s Marcus Westfalt, and with that, for the first time in Flyers draft history, not a single Canadian was selected.

Hextall didn’t need the reminder.

“I know," he said. "I was hearing it at my table.”

More on the 2018 NHL draft

• Flyers' draft shows big year for USA Hockey

• Hextall surprised by Flyers' quiet draft weekend

• With O'Brien, Hextall shows he's 'never' one to be safe

• With Philly ties, Farabee can't wait to help Flyers

• Samuelsson continues family's NHL tradition

With Philly ties, Joel Farabee can't wait to help Flyers

With Philly ties, Joel Farabee can't wait to help Flyers

DALLAS — In his four years as general manager, Ron Hextall has shown a preference to take the center with the versatility to play the wing.

However, Friday night in Dallas, Hextall went against the grain by selecting left winger Joel Farabee 14th overall, the highest winger Hextall has selected now in his fifth draft as Flyers general manager.

“When we look in the first round, we want hockey players,” Hextall said. “We want hockey sense and we want character. We want good hockey players and if you don’t draft them in the first round, you won’t find them. Philosophically, that’s the way we approach things.”

It’s the way Farabee envisioned this draft playing out all along from a father who grew up in Warminster in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

“Actually, I’m not going to lie, when I came to the draft, I wanted to go 14 to Philly. I think that’s pretty cool that happened,” Farabee said. “I really liked their interviews. I talked to them a couple of times. My dad is actually from Philly, so I grew up watching the Flyers. It’s just awesome. I’m a really big Phillies fan. I don’t have any words for it right now. It’s really cool to be part of a great organization.”

Farabee is considered a gifted goal scorer from the wing position, which the Flyers are lacking organizationally, having racked up 31 goals in 58 games with the USNTDP. He's the first player the Flyers drafted from the USA Hockey National Team Development Program since James van Riemsdyk second overall in 2007.

He’s been compared to Boston’s Brad Marchand and Minnesota’s Zach Parise, which also suggests he plays with a very high motor and a good deal of intensity.

Farabee sees more of a comparison with Pittsburgh’s undersized forward Jake Guentzel.

“I think hockey IQ, playmaking ability along with two-way [play] is something I pride myself on,” Farabee said. “I definitely like scoring goals, but I definitely hate getting scored against. It’s kind of my motto.”

“He’s a real attention-to-detail player,” Hextall said. “He’s got speed. He’s got skill. He can score. He’s a good player and he has size in his family, so I still think there’s a chance he can grow.”

If there’s a question mark surrounding Farabee, it's a slight frame, where he’s currently listed at 6-foot and 168 pounds. It's further proof the Flyers no longer feel the need to draft big and bulky to play along the boards and dig pucks out of the corners in today’s NHL.

“I think I’m pretty light, so I definitely need to put on some weight in college,” Farabee said. “With that, just work on playing down low. I think that will help me.”

Can Farabee follow a timeline similar to that of "JVR," who spent two seasons at the University of New Hampshire before joining the Flyers in 2009-10?

“I think it’s hard to say right now,” Farabee said. “It’s kind of what the organization wants me to do. Hopefully, after one, but two years of college may be really good for me just because I’m a lighter guy. Two years is a good timetable.”

More on the Flyers

• By drafting O'Brien, Hextall shows he's 'never been one to be safe'

• Flyers need to find needle in haystack on Day 2

• Was Couturier snubbed for Selke Trophy?

• Giroux's final Hart Trophy voting should hurt