Flyers

2019 NHL draft: Flyers trade up, take Bobby Brink with 34th overall pick

2019 NHL draft: Flyers trade up, take Bobby Brink with 34th overall pick

Chuck Fletcher kept things moving from the outset Saturday in Day 2 of the 2019 NHL draft.

The Flyers' general manager traded up to acquire the 34th overall pick from the Predators in exchange for the 45th and 65th selections.

With the 34th pick, the Flyers drafted right winger Bobby Brink out of the USHL. The 5-foot-8, 165-pounder was considered a first-round talent by many draft experts. He was the 19th-ranked North American skater by NHL Central Scouting and TSN's Craig Button had him as the 20th-best player in the draft.

Brink scored 68 points (35 goals, 33 assists) in 43 regular-season games for the Sioux City Musketeers en route to being named USHL Forward of the Year. He knows how to score but is not regarded as a great skater, which may be why he dropped into the second round (see Flyers' draft recap).


Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault and Bobby Brink. (Zack Hill/Philadelphia Flyers)

Brink, who is from Minnetonka, Minnesota, is headed to the University of Denver. So the Flyers' first two selections of the 2019 draft will be playing college hockey in 2019-20. Defenseman Cam York, who the Flyers grabbed at No. 14 overall on Friday night, is going to Michigan.

"Bobby was the guy that we were hoping was there," Flyers assistant general manager Brent Flahr said Saturday via a conference call. "We knew he wasn't going to last very long in the second round, so we paid the price to move up; but to get a player of his caliber, we were happy to do that."

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Flyers vs. Bruins preseason: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

Flyers vs. Bruins preseason: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

VOORHEES, N.J. — It might be the best chance for Morgan Frost to prove himself.

The same can be said for Joel Farabee.

The Flyers will feature two of their brightest prospects in big spots Thursday night as the team continues its preseason against the Bruins.

Let's get into the essentials:

When: 7 p.m. ET
Where: Wells Fargo Center
Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app

Farabee turned heads playing alongside Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier during the first three days of training camp. So much so that head coach Alain Vigneault wanted to see the trio in game action.

The 19-year-old Farabee is a dynamic winger with an advanced hockey IQ and relentless effort. His case for the roster has strengthened ever since rookie camp and Thursday presents an ideal scenario for Farabee to garner more attention.

"I'm with probably the two-best players," Farabee said, "I think this is my best opportunity to showcase what I can do."

During training camp practices, the chemistry between Giroux, Couturier and Farabee looked natural. Couturier, the Flyers' first-line center, has been impressed by the 2018 first-round pick.

The little things, the little plays he does along the boards as a winger, especially as a center coming down the middle when you have some speed, he doesn't slow you down, he knows where you are and he knows where to put the puck. You can get a good read off of him knowing that whatever situation he's put in, he'll put the puck on your tape and find you. He's looking for you, he's looking to make plays. It's pretty nice to see from a young player.

• German Rubtsov is playing his third game in the last four days. The Flyers want a long look at the 21-year-old center and, so far, they've liked what they've seen. Nolan Patrick's injury has opened the door a bit for Rubtsov, Frost and some other centers.

"From the rookie camp to now, his pace has gotten better, I liked the fact that defensively, he seems responsible," Vigneault said of Rubtsov. "Right now, if he were to make our team, it would be more on that bottom six. That's where we're putting him, you've got to be able to kill penalties, he's a centerman, take faceoffs. With Nolan being out, it gives opportunities to other guys. He's getting a good look … we're going to continue this."

• Thursday will be the first time seeing the defensive duo of Ivan Provorov and Matt Niskanen. It could be the Flyers' top pair for the Oct. 4 season opener. Both move the puck up ice and Niskanen's presence should relieve some pressure off of the 22-year-old Provorov's shoulders.

• Brian Elliott will be in net for the first two periods. The next step for the backup goalie will be a full game. Carter Hart will also play two periods his next time out, then a full game.

Quotable

I definitely liked his game. It was the first time for me seeing him in a game-like situation, I liked his game. Chuck [Fletcher] and Brent [Flahr] both said that's the best game they had seen him play in the sense that he kept it simple, played a north-south game, was good on the forecheck, had a good stick, defensively was responsible and he was conscious of the things that we had talked about.

- Vigneault on potential bottom-six winger Nicolas Aube-Kubel

Projected lineup

Forwards

Claude Giroux-Sean Couturier-Joel Farabee
James van Riemsdyk-Morgan Frost-Jakub Voracek
Nicolas Aube-Kubel-German Rubtsov-Andy Andreoff
Carsen Twarynski-Connor Bunnaman-Kyle Criscuolo

Defensemen

Ivan Provorov-Matt Niskanen
Shayne Gostisbehere-Justin Braun
Tyler Wotherspoon-Philippe Myers

Goalies

Brian Elliott
Alex Lyon

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Matt Niskanen: Claude Giroux 'holds his own, for sure,' in trash-talking

Matt Niskanen: Claude Giroux 'holds his own, for sure,' in trash-talking

Matt Niskanen has played 38 career games against the Flyers, so he's seen Philadelphia a lot.

Since 2011, the 32-year-old played 390 games for the Capitals and 214 for the Penguins. Those two teams aren't liked too much around the Delaware Valley.

He was on the Capitals when bracelets were thrown on the ice by frustrated Flyers fans during the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs. He was on the Penguins during 2012, when the Flyers last won a postseason series by beating Pittsburgh in the first round.

Now, he's wearing Flyers orange with Claude Giroux and company.

Following an offseason trade from the Capitals, he's embracing the opportunity to be on the Flyers' side for a change.

I've played two playoff series against the Flyers in my career," Niskanen said last month in a sit-down interview with NBC Sports Philadelphia's Taryn Hatcher and Derek Souders. "Things have gotten a little heated, a couple wild ones, a couple wild games, too. There's been some yapping back and forth and Giroux holds his own, for sure.

I won't dive into what he has said to me in the past, but yeah we've chatted before on the ice, I'll put it that way.

Niskanen won the 2018 Stanley Cup with the Capitals and the Flyers are expecting him to impact their young defensemen. Over the past six seasons, Niskanen has averaged 22:31 minutes per game while compiling a plus-91 mark. He is a skilled puck mover, which leads to positive goal prevention.

He has 125 career postseason games on his résumé. Prior to this offseason, Giroux had played the most playoff games on the Flyers' roster with 69.

Niskanen's experience is a welcomed addition for the Flyers.

"Played in Pittsburgh, who everybody seems to hate," Niskanen said. "Washington, who has had success recently, so they've been the hunted. And now in Philly, where it's rowdy. Games get physical, they can get nasty — you never leave Philly without a couple of bruises. It's going to be fun to see all three sides of this. I think Philly missing the playoffs last year, we're going to be the ones on the hunt this year — hungry, trying to get back into the playoff picture and try to leave a mark.

"We're going to chase down those teams and we might have to knock one of them out of the playoff picture. Wouldn't that be sweet?"

For more from Niskanen on the Flyers' young blueliners, winning the Stanley Cup and his expectations, watch the "Break the Ice" video above.

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