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: Soo Greyhounds
O'Rourke is particularly appealing because his defensive game is already refined. The 18-year-old takes immense pride in playing in his own end, while his offensive game features untapped potential.
As team captain, O'Rourke led the OHL's Greyhounds with a plus-16 mark and scored 37 points (seven goals, 30 assists) in 54 games.
O'Rourke doesn't get enough credit for his adeptness at pushing the puck north. He can get up ice and is an intelligent passer.
“A real steady player," Flahr said May 12. "He’s a 6-footer, but a competitive guy, his outlet passing, moving the puck up ice is probably his bread and butter. He can defend, he can do a little of everything. You’ve got to be a little careful of your viewings because he plays so much up there, you have to pace yourself, so there could be another level to what he can do. Plays a real mature game I think is the best description of him.”
Fit with Flyers
As we noted when looking at William Wallinder, the Flyers are well-stocked at defensemen but won't shy away from drafting the best player available to load up even more on the back end.
O'Rourke fits the bill of blueliners the Flyers like — guys with quality size and mobility. The Soo defenseman might be a fringe first-rounder, so he's expected to be available for the Flyers. The club is likely looking more for a center or winger in the first round, but O'Rourke brings a lot to the table. The Hockey Writers' Mark Scheig believes O'Rourke will be the steal of the draft.
It would be somewhat surprising if he's the Flyers' pick at No. 23. If O'Rourke is in their ballpark during the second round, though, he'll definitely have the club's attention.