Flyers

2018 NHL draft profile: Grigori Denisenko, a winger with sky-high potential

2018 NHL draft profile: Grigori Denisenko, a winger with sky-high potential

In the weeks leading up to the 2018 NHL draft, we're providing prospect profiles and how those players would fit with the Flyers, who have two first-round picks — Nos. 14 and 19.

The NHL draft takes place June 22-23 at American Airlines Center in Dallas. The Flyers have nine picks with two in the first, fifth and seventh rounds and one in the second, fourth and sixth. They do not own a third-rounder as it went to the Detroit Red Wings for Petr Mrazek. The 14th pick conveyed from the Brayden Schenn trade. The final details were Schenn to the St. Louis Blues for Jori Lehtera, a 2017 first-round pick (Morgan Frost) and the 14th pick.

Our prospect profiles will touch mostly on prospects projected to go in the 10-20 range but some may require the Flyers having to trade up to select. We’ll identify those prospects.

Grigori Denisenko

Position: Left winger
Height: 5-foot-10
Weight: 171
Shoots: Right
Team: Loko Yaroslavl

Scouting report
Denisenko is ultra talented and dangerous with the puck on his stick, a true threat to make a highlight-reel play whenever he touches it. The Russian product, who turns 18 a day after the draft, is an elusive puck-handler and dazzles with skill.

However, he's been regarded as an inconsistent player lacking an all-around game, so some maturation is needed, both cerebrally and physically.

Playing Russian junior hockey in 2017-18, Denisenko had 22 points (nine goals, 13 assists) in 31 regular-season games for the MHL's Loko Yaroslavl. He added seven points (five goals, two assists) over 12 playoff games en route to a championship title.

Fit with Flyers
Given the organization's willingness to be patient with prospects and the need for more wingers in the farm system, Denisenko would be a nice selection by the Flyers.

The ability is certainly there and the Flyers believe greatly in their development staff, so drafting a winger with potential but work to be done makes sense.

Denisenko projects to be a mid-to-late first-round pick. His high ceiling should be enticing and it will be a matter of which team takes a chance on the upside. With two first-round slots, the Flyers should have their shot at Denisenko and his talent would be exciting in the system.

More on the 2018 NHL draft

Profile: Jesperi Kotkaniemi

Profile: Serron Noel

Profile: Joel Farabee

• Profile: Barrett Hayton

• Profile: Isac Lundestrom

• Profile: Joseph Veleno

• Profile: Vitali Kravtso

Which Flyers player has the most to gain in 2019-20 season?

Which Flyers player has the most to gain in 2019-20 season?

Going End to End today are NBC Sports Philadelphia's Jordan Hall and Brooke Destra.

The topic: Which Flyers player has the most to gain in the 2019-20 season? 

Hall

In 2018-19, Oskar Lindblom showed his true capabilities when he played more and was featured alongside other talented linemates.

Over the final 36 games of the season, Lindblom scored 21 points with an average ice time of 16:28. His 13 goals during that span were tied for third most on the Flyers, ahead of Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek.

In 29 games prior to that stretch, Lindblom played just 10:38 a night, scored zero goals and collected three assists.

The 23-year-old should have plenty of opportunity out of the chute in 2019-20. He looks poised to play on the third line with a center like Nolan Patrick and a decent goal-scoring winger. If he continues to produce, Lindblom could climb into a top-six role, like he did for parts of last season. He'll likely see some power-play time, as well.

With a quick start and even more responsibility, Lindblom has the chance to flourish in just his second full NHL season. The 2014 fifth-round pick is also set to become a restricted free agent next offseason. A big jump in production will make for a bigger raise.

Destra

Season No. 3 holds a lot of potential for 20-year-old Nolan Patrick.

When he is confident in his abilities, everyone on the ice knows it. He's able to drive play, pull out fancy shots on goal near the crease and often seems like he has eyes in the back of his head with some of the looks he had this past season. Those moments simply don't stem from luck, they come from skill.

While these are both flashy and effective, we've seen them happen only in bursts, and oftentimes he disappears within the depth of the roster.

Kevin Hayes is a key to the young center's success and will provide the perfect opportunity for Patrick to grow into his expected role. Without the stress of being a top-six forward, he will be able to maximize his strengths with a smaller amount of ice time.

Fewer minutes will also limit the risk of injury and it's vital that the Flyers see a full season of production. From a concussion that held him back his rookie year to an upper-body injury at the jump of last season that kept him out 10 days, he has not had much luck in that area.

If Patrick remains healthy, puts up solid numbers as a third-liner (around the 40-50-point range) and possibly sees time on the second power-play unit, he could very well be the depth needed to stabilize this roster from top to bottom.

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Former Flyers defenseman Andrew MacDonald to attend Flames training camp on professional tryout

Former Flyers defenseman Andrew MacDonald to attend Flames training camp on professional tryout

After being bought out by the Flyers in mid-June, Andrew MacDonald is getting his next shot.

The soon-to-be 33-year-old defenseman will try to make the Flames' roster by attending Calgary's training camp on a professional tryout.

NHL teams often take fliers on veteran players as they shape their rosters because it simply can't hurt. The Flyers are doing so this training camp with winger Chris Stewart (see story).

While he wasn't a fan favorite in Philadelphia because of his contract, MacDonald was one of the most respected players in the Flyers' dressing room. You'd think the Flames are taking into account what they've heard from others around the league about MacDonald and his impact off the ice.

MacDonald has played 586 career games and 23 in the postseason. Calgary has won just one playoff series over the past 10 seasons. During 2018-19, the Flames went 50-25-7 with 107 points during the regular season — second best in the NHL to only the Lightning — but were bounced in the first round of the playoffs.

Calgary has a pretty strong defense, led by James Norris Memorial Trophy winner Mark Giordano, so making the roster won't be easy for MacDonald.

The Flyers bought out MacDonald for better cap flexibility and to open the door for some of their younger defensemen to take the next step. With the additions of Matt Niskanen and Justin Braun, the Flyers have solid, accomplished guys to augment the younger group of Shayne Gostisbehere, Ivan Provorov, Travis Sanheim, Philippe Myers, Robert Hagg and Samuel Morin.

"This guy is a consummate professional," Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher said of MacDonald in June. "We asked a lot of Andrew and by that I mean he was a player that played the left side, played the right side, he'd be a healthy scratch and then we'd put him back in the lineup. We asked him to play with young players and mentor them and bring stability to our back end.

"He's just a quality person and a guy that played a very effective two-way game for our team, but we are in a cap world and we made that tough decision today to try reallocate some of those dollars to maximize our chance to stay in the hunt on some players."

The Flyers will pay MacDonald $1,916,667 in 2019-20 and 2020-21.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

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