After a long wait with the unprecedented stoppage because of the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 NHL draft has arrived.
The first round will be held Tuesday at 7 p.m. ET, while Rounds 2-7 follow on Wednesday starting at 11:30 a.m. ET.
The Flyers hold seven picks and their first-round selection comes at No. 23 overall.
“I think it’s a decent draft — I don’t know if it’s top end," Flyers assistant general manager Brent Flahr said April 25 in a phone interview with NBC Sports Philadelphia. "The top 10, 12 guys look like pretty high end. There’s a bit of a drop-off, but there’s some depth to the draft for a couple of rounds. ... We have some guys targeted we feel we would be very happy with in the top couple of rounds.
"Obviously you’d want the big, scoring, playmaking center, anybody does. We’re in a position where we’ll likely be taking the best player available.
"Realistically the players you draft now are two or three years down the road, best-case scenario. Some cases you get surprised. But by then, your team needs are different. We’ll do the best we can, we have an idea of where our holes are going forward and places where we certainly want to add depth to, whether it’s center or scoring winger or defense, we’ll see what happens. We’ll prepare, we weigh guys against each other, the pros and cons and we’ll do the best we can there.”
Let's take a look at a target for the Flyers with the 23rd selection:
Team: Prince Albert Raiders
After playing a depth role last season on a veteran Prince Albert team that won the WHL championship, Wiesblatt took on much greater responsibility in his draft year and capitalized. The winger who turned 18 years old in March registered 70 points (25 goals, 45 assists) and a plus-20 rating over 64 games.
Constantly making things happen and pushing the puck north, Wiesblatt has the capability to dazzle with finesse and also outwork you with effort.
“Last year, they were a deep, older team, but he contributed," Flahr said Tuesday. "Obviously a little undersized but a great motor to him, he’s a driver of offense for their team. Every time you go watch a game he plays in, you notice him, for sure. He’s got lots of juice and generates offense, a real good motor to him which will certainly give him a chance as a smaller player.”
Raising five kids, Wiesblatt's mother Kim White is deaf and communicates with her children using American Sign Language. Wiesblatt's three brothers also play hockey.
"The fact that we all kind of play in junior hockey right now and hopefully in the NHL one day, I think it's really special," Wiesblatt said in a video feature produced by the CHL, "and we couldn't have done it without our mom."
Fit with Flyers
Wiesblatt is not very big for a winger and he had a quiet 2020 Kubota CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game performance in January, putting up no points or shots and a minus-2 mark.
Those factors could cause him to drop a tad in the draft but many will be happy if he's up for grabs at their slot. He's the 19th-ranked North American skater by NHL Central Scouting and TSN's Craig Button has him as the 29th-best player in the draft.
The Flyers have a strong track record of drafting WHL products. Over the past six drafts, the Flyers have taken eight WHL players, four of which were selected in the opening two rounds.
Wiesblatt should be available at No. 23 (and maybe in the second round) for the Flyers. He would be a quality selection with his ability to dictate tempo and play in all situations.