Flyers

Ron Hextall doesn't plan on trading up, but if right player is there ...

Ron Hextall doesn't plan on trading up, but if right player is there ...

VOORHEES, N.J. — When it comes to the 2018 NHL draft class, you have the bright shiny red sports car on the showroom floor and then you have the remaining inventory scattered around the lot.

That’s not to minimize the skill level of this year’s draft pool, but there’s clearly one franchise player in defenseman Rasmus Dahlin, expected to be the No. 1 overall choice of the Buffalo Sabres, and then the next tier of talent.

General manager Ron Hextall and his scouting department have been discussing and evaluating just how far does that next level extend.

Two through five? Two through 10? 

“Everybody views it different,” Hextall said Thursday. “I don’t want to disclose it for obvious reasons, but some people view it as eight or 10 really good players should go off the board in some semblance of that order.” 

Right now, that second overall pick doesn’t have a clear-cut No. 2 player — which wasn't the case last year when the Flyers chose Nolan Patrick. The Carolina Hurricanes have been open to offers for the second overall selection

In all likelihood, with the 14th and 19th overall picks, Hextall would have to package together a trade to grab one of those next-level prospects. The Flyers' GM won’t hesitate to pull the trigger if it’s a player he covets, like in 2014, when he made a play for defenseman Aaron Ekblad, who was taken No. 1 by the Florida Panthers.

Ekblad possesses the rare blend of size and skill with the luxury of being a right-handed shot, a rarity in today’s NHL where blueliners are predominantly left-handed shots.

“Yeah, me and 30 other GMs,” Hextall said of the need for a right-handed defenseman. “When you look at the hockey world, it’s a weakness in the whole chink of armor there, so, yeah, we’d love to have one.”

Looking at the top 10 prospects in this year’s class, a handful of right-handed blueliners stand out: London Knights' Evan Bouchard (6-2, 192), Acadie-Bathurst’s Noah Dobson (6-3, 176), who just recently won a Memorial Cup with Flyers prospect German Rubtsov, and Sweden’s Adam Boqvist (5-11, 170).

“We tend to go by our lists,” Hextall said. “We’re not going to take our list and go down (and pass better players) to find a right-handed-shooting defenseman. Maybe you move down where you think you’re going to get a guy and maybe you do that. I’m not going to jump 10 guys on our list to draft a right-shot defenseman.”

Right now, Hextall doesn’t believe that will happen and instead will take aim at drafting twice in the first round for the third time in four years.

“I anticipate right now making our picks,” Hextall said. ”Certainly, we would move up if a great deal was there. We’d look at moving back if the right deal was there too. It’s really hard to project or predict.

“I think there’s a point in this draft where a certain pick may not be different than one 20 picks back. It’s probably a fairly typical draft. Everyone views things different and certainly there’s guys that we like.” 

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Morgan Frost provides a highlight but Flyers are left looking for more answers following 4th straight loss

Morgan Frost provides a highlight but Flyers are left looking for more answers following 4th straight loss

BOX SCORE

Morgan Frost offered a snapshot of what the Flyers hope is a prosperous future for the skillful playmaker.

The present on Tuesday night did not depict as pretty of a picture.

The Flyers fell behind 4-1 during the second period, Carter Hart was yanked and a 5-2 loss to the Panthers at BB&T Center marked the final result.

Frost gave the Flyers a highlight on a night that didn't feature many for Alain Vigneault's club. The 2017 first-round pick deposited a dazzling goal in his NHL debut but the Flyers (10-7-4) dropped their fourth straight game, a losing skid that has come directly after a season-best four-game winning streak.

The Panthers (11-5-5) can score goals with the best teams in the NHL. They were also allowing 3.55 per game, fourth worst in the league, but kept the Flyers at bay.

• Hart had been so good in November. When he's not on his game, the Flyers can be exposed, which is exactly what happened against Florida.

The 21-year-old goalie entered 4-1-1 with a 1.77 goals-against average and .934 save percentage this month. He wasn't good Tuesday, the Flyers didn't help him and things unraveled.

The first period set the tone when the Panthers' first goal went off Andy Andreoff's stick. Then Hart allowed Brett Connolly to score from a crazy angle off the netminder's back.

Hart had allowed only one first-period goal over his previous five starts. Florida got him twice in the opening frame and ended his night midway through the second period with its fourth goal.

• The Flyers have now allowed more goals (61) than they've scored (60). During the four-game losing streak, they've scored 1.75 goals per game.

Vigneault continues to plead for more from his veterans. They simply have not answered his call and the Flyers are more than a quarter way into the season. The Flyers' record is very indicative of what they've received from their big boys.

Kevin Hayes recorded his first point in 10 games with a first-period assist on Travis Sanheim's goal. He played 19:01 minutes, four-plus at shorthanded. James van Riemsdyk went scoreless and played 12:56, his second-lowest ice time of the season. Jakub Voracek went scoreless, as well, in 15:31 minutes.

That trio has combined for 30 points in 21 games. The Flyers have to find a way to spark those three, along with Claude Giroux.

• Frost was a nice positive. He played with pace, he was active and was consistently a threat. His goal was very Frost-like.

Expect Vigneault to give him another game with Giroux and Travis Konecny.

• Joel Farabee made a costly turnover that led to Aleksander Barkov's second-period goal, which put the Flyers in a 3-1 hole. The Flyers were also slow to get back on the play. Bad all the way around (see highlights).

The 19-year-old was a minus-2 with three giveaways. He's a kid and there will be growing pains. Farabee snapped his stick in frustration when he went to the bench. Now it's a matter of seeing if he can play his way out of some struggles.

• Ivan Provorov and Matt Niskanen were a combined minus-5. Shayne Gostisbehere played only 14:33. While the Panthers pounced on mistakes, the Flyers couldn't fend them off or get much going at 5-on-5.

The Flyers went 0 for 2 on the power play.

• The Flyers stay on the road and visit the Hurricanes Thursday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

 

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Flyers' Morgan Frost scores first career NHL goal in filthy fashion

Flyers' Morgan Frost scores first career NHL goal in filthy fashion

When he received the news on Sunday that he was being called up to the Flyers, Morgan Frost thought about the hard work it took to make the NHL.

The kid scored 106 goals and 310 points in 257 junior hockey games for the OHL's Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. Over his final two seasons, he erupted for 221 points (79 goals, 142 assists) in 125 games.

That's a lot of scoring, which got him noticed.

“It’s obviously cliché, but it’s every kid’s dream, you dream about it growing up," Frost said Monday of being called up to make his NHL debut. "Honestly, after I got that call, I didn’t really know what to do for like an hour. So much joy, just so many things running through your head and everything you’ve worked for. Great feeling.”

Now he has the feeling of scoring his first career NHL goal. And, boy, did he show his skill while doing it Tuesday night against the Panthers at BB&T Center.

When the 20-year-old center gets in deep, he can make these types of plays on a goalie, even Sergei Bobrovsky.

Frost will always remember that one.

 

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