Over the weeks leading up to the 2018 NHL draft, we're providing prospect profiles and how they 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.
Position: Right winger
Team: USA U-18 (NTDP)
You might recall Wahlstrom from this viral video eight years ago when he was 9 years old. Yes, Wahlstrom has been on the map for some time now and the right winger is expected to be a high first-round draft pick. Wahlstrom starred in the USA Hockey National Team Development Program, registering 48 goals and 94 points in 62 games while adding 22 goals and 45 points in 26 games in the USHL in 2017-18. He averaged a goal per game for Team USA during the 2018 IIHF World U18 Championship, where the U.S. took silver. He was part of the 2017 gold-medal winning team during the U-18 world juniors when he had four goals and seven points in five games. Owns a lethal shot, as evidenced below against Russia in the Five Nations Tournament, video courtesy of USA Hockey.
Wahlstrom is a scoring threat every time he touches the puck and does some wizard-like stuff with it. He’s a big body and doesn’t shy away from the dirty areas, either. At the combine, he measured in bigger than what the NTDP listed him. He’s committed to play at the University of Harvard, though he told The Boston Globe his plan is to play just one year before turning pro.
Fit with Flyers
Wahlstrom qualifies as a trade-up option for the Flyers as it would be a minor miracle if he falls to No. 14. If he is available at 14, then there might be question marks that we can’t see on the surface. He won’t be there at 14, though, so if the Flyers want him, they’d have to move up.
With two first-round picks, Flyers general manager Ron Hextall certainly has the ammo to do so; it just depends on how far he’d have to jump to select Wahlstrom. Some believe he should go in the top five, ahead of Brady Tkachuk, and others see him going between Nos. 8-12.
Either way, Wahlstrom is a prospect that the Flyers could greatly benefit from drafting. He’s a pure sniper and we’ve heard that lately that the Flyers need one of them. He would certainly please the few fans who scream "SHOOT" all the time at the Wells Fargo Center. Fit wise, Wahlstrom would be as close to ideal as you can get. It’s just a matter of if the Flyers fall in love with him and can move up high enough in order to draft him.