Flyers

Flyers hire Nick Schultz as player development coach

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Flyers hire Nick Schultz as player development coach

VOORHEES, N.J. — Nick Schultz, a former Flyer who also played for general manager Chuck Fletcher in Minnesota, has been hired by the club as a player development coach.

Schultz, 36, suited up for the Flyers in his final three NHL seasons from 2014-17 and appeared in 743 games with the Wild. The former defenseman was a smart, role-oriented, team-first guy throughout his 15-year career.

"We're happy to have Nick come aboard and help develop the prospects in our system," Fletcher said Wednesday in a release by the team. "Having enjoyed a lengthy career in which he played over 1,000 games as a defenseman in the NHL, Nick brings a wealth of experience and knowledge on what it takes to be a pro."

Jakub Voracek provided a classic quote about Schultz during the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs. It was after a 2-0 loss in Game 1 to the Capitals in which Schultz blocked three shots and was putting his body in front of blasts off the stick of Alex Ovechkin.

"It takes some big balls to go into that shooting lane," Voracek said then. "When you look at Schultz blocking shots, it's pretty impressive. That's what you've got to do to win a game."

Schultz has been at Flyers development camp this week.

"It's exciting," Schultz said in the release by the team. "I'm looking forward to working with the guys, helping Kjell Samuelsson with the defensemen, and getting to know the kids and their game a little bit. I'm looking forward to working with them throughout the year, watching them play and helping them make it to the next step, and ultimately one day become a Flyer."

The Flyers did not subtract at all from their staff. Fletcher mentioned the growing importance of player development and all that it requires.

"I know he's coaching his son's hockey team and enjoying life, but at some point, I think he thought he wanted to get back in the game and this gives him an entry point to come in, share his expertise and work with our young defenseman," Fletcher said. "We'll start a little slower and build and just see what he wants to do. My assumption is at some point, I could see him being a great coach in this league."

In addition to the Schultz news, the Flyers have brought on Andy Rannells as an assistant equipment manager and Dan Warnke as an assistant strength and conditioning coach. Both previously worked for AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley.

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2020 NHL draft lottery: Rangers win No. 1 pick, also known as the Alexis Lafreniere sweepstakes

2020 NHL draft lottery: Rangers win No. 1 pick, also known as the Alexis Lafreniere sweepstakes

The Metropolitan Division was pretty loaded in 2019-20.

On Monday night, it got even better for the 2020-21 season.

That's because the Rangers won the first overall pick in Phase 2 of the 2020 NHL draft lottery. Alexis Lafreniere, a 6-foot-1, 193-pound winger, is the consensus No. 1 pick. The 18-year-old is a dynamic scorer who put up 112 points (35 goals, 77 assists) in 52 games for the QMJHL's Rimouski Oceanic during the 2019-20 season.

In the 2019-20 NHL regular season, four Metropolitan Division clubs (Capitals, Flyers, Penguins, Hurricanes) had top-10 point percentages and six (Capitals, Flyers, Penguins, Hurricanes, Islanders, Blue Jackets) finished among the top 15. The Rangers, not exactly lacking talent (Artemi Panarin is a Hart Memorial Trophy finalist and Mika Zibanejad scored 41 goals), were in the top 20 but bowed out of the NHL's return-to-play 24-team tournament during the best-of-five qualifying round.

Not only is the Metropolitan Division deep, but it has also landed some big picks in recent past. In the 2019 draft, the Devils took Jack Hughes No. 1 overall and the Rangers selected Kaapo Kakko No. 2 overall. In the 2018 draft, the Hurricanes nabbed Andrei Svechnikov with the second overall pick, while the 2017 draft saw Nico Hischier go No. 1 to the Devils and Nolan Patrick No. 2 to the Flyers.

With the 2020 draft tentatively scheduled for Oct. 9-10, the Rangers are expected to add Lafreniere to a young, building picture. For Flyers fans, New York landing the No. 1 pick was probably the lesser of two evils. The Penguins had as fair of a chance (12.5 percent) at Lafreniere but the Rangers were the lucky ones to have their ping-pong ball selected.

The Flyers are happy to not be worrying about the lottery. They open the first round of the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs on Wednesday as the Eastern Conference's No. 1 seed.

Below is the 2020 draft order for the first 15 picks, while the remaining 16 first-round selections will be determined by the results of the playoffs.

1. Rangers
2. Kings
3. Senators
4. Red Wings
5. Senators
6. Ducks
7. Devils
8. Sabres
9. Wild
10. Jets
11. Predators
12. Panthers
13. Hurricanes
14. Oilers
15. Penguins

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Flyers Talk podcast: What to like and dislike about Canadiens matchup

Flyers Talk podcast: What to like and dislike about Canadiens matchup

On the latest Flyers Talk podcast, NBC Sports Philadelphia's Brooke Destra and Jordan Hall discuss everything about the team's first-round matchup with the Canadiens.

From our series X-factors to the importance of Jakub Voracek's status, let's dive in:

1:30 — We know the Flyers' first-round schedule; what sticks out?

4:05 — Could we see Brian Elliott during the series?

7:30 — Picking our Flyers X-factor

12:05 — Picking our Canadiens X-factor

16:50 — Analyzing the Voracek situation

20:15 — Why we like the Flyers' chances in this series

 26:00 — Why there could be some concerns about this matchup for the Flyers

 28:55 — The start of the series will be crucial

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