In the second round of the 2020 NHL draft on Wednesday, the Flyers selected Swedish defenseman Emil Andrae with the 54th overall pick.
The 5-foot-8, 181-pounder is regarded as a mobile and offensive blueliner with skill. Playing for the HV71 junior club during 2019-20, he was the No. 1-scoring defenseman in Sweden's top junior league with 38 points (11 goals, 27 assists) in 40 games. He played 10 games for HV71 in the Swedish Elite League and has played five this season.
The 18-year-old's current player comparable on NHL Central Scouting is Torey Krug. The scouting service had Andrae as the 15th-ranked European skater in the draft. TSN's Craig Button ranked him as the 64th-best player in the draft, while ESPN's Chris Peters rated Andrae at No. 53.
The Flyers like puck-handling defensemen that push north and augment head coach Alain Vigneault's get-after-you, pin-you-back system. The position has become an organizational strength.
"I like his offensive dynamic," amateur scout Mark Greig said Wednesday, via Flyers director of public relations Joe Siville. "He's a good skater and a heads-up player that's a real crafty puck-handler. He has vision. At times you can see him slow down the game in transition and then going forward. He can also be dynamic off the offensive blue line and find offense. I think that's the strength of his game. He's a little undersized but he's pretty aware, so he doesn't get himself into trouble."
The Flyers evaluate Sweden heavily and well, led by European amateur scout Joakim Grundberg. Oskar Lindblom and Robert Hagg are Swedish natives. In April, the Flyers signed SHL product Linus Sandin. This past season, the club also had four of its prospects compete in the SHL — Olle Lycksell, Linus Hogberg, Adam Ginning and Samuel Ersson.
Andrae was a teammate of Sandin last season and said he looks up to the Flyers forward's brother Rasmus Sandin, who is a defenseman on the Maple Leafs.
"This year, I looked very much on him," Andrae said Wednesday on a conference call. "I want to compare my game after him. He plays an effective game and I also want to play an effective game with great puck movement."
Like any smaller, offense-first defenseman, the lefty-shot Andrae said that he can improve on his play in the defensive zone.