2016 NHL draft prep: 2nd-round options for Flyers

2016 NHL draft prep: 2nd-round options for Flyers

The Flyers have the 48th and 52nd overall picks in the NHL draft later this month.

There are going to be some really talented players still available in the second round. The draft has a flow, and when a few teams pick off the board or there's a run on a particular position, it can really affect where players get drafted.

The key here is the Flyers are continuing to stock the cupboard. You can never have too many good defensemen. They are a commodity and they can bring back important assets.

Here are some players I think the Flyers will be tracking in the second round:

Nathan Bastian, RW, 6-4/205, Mississauga (OHL)
At 18 years old, Bastian has already played 160 overall games, including playoffs, for the Steelers of the OHL. He's a big, late birthday winger with a lot of promise.

The Flyers may like his strong work ethic, too. They may have to trade up slightly in the second in order to get him, however.

Vladimir Kuznetsov, RW, 6-2/214, Acadie-Bathurst (QMJHL)
The buzz surrounding the "Russian Tank" is gaining steam. He had a good showing in Grand Forks, North Dakota, at the U-18s. He's picked up his workouts since and looked fit at the combine earlier this month.

Kuznetsov is a big-bodied right winger who could really be something down the road. The Flyers have eyes on him, as they met with him at the combine.

Trent Frederic, C, 6-2/203, USNTDP (USHL)
Frederic, a talented pivot, had the second-best fatigue index at the combine. That bodes well for the second-liner from the United States National Team Development Program.

At the U-18s, Frederic had seven points in seven games with four goals. He's a great skater and works hard to create scoring chances.

Adam Fox, D, 5-11/185, USNTDP (USHL)
Fox, a smooth-skating defenseman, had 59 points in 64 games for the USNTDP. He saw his stock rise slightly after his stellar performance at the U-18s, where he registered nine points in eight games. The Long Island, New York, native can make the hard, accurate passes right on the tape that the NHL requires of its defensemen. He can also quarterback the power play.

Tarmo Reunanen, D, 6-0/178, TPS (Liiga)
An injury caused Reunanen to miss a lot of last season in the Finnish Elite League. He played just 11 regular-season games and two preseason contests for TPS.

Reunanen benefits from his feistiness and good stick on defense, both of which add to his package. His offensive game and crisp passing have teams talking about him. 

Tyler Benson, LW, 6-0/196, Vancouver (WHL)
Benson is another player who lost a large portion of last season because of injury. Christian Dvorak had the same issue and went 58th overall in 2014. Dvorak won a Memorial Cup that year with the London Knights.

Benson, the Vancouver Giants' captain, was just shy of a point-per-game player this year.

Lucas Johansen, D, 6-2/175, Kelowna (WHL)
The younger brother of Nashville Predators forward Ryan Johansen, Lucas can cover the better players. His skating is excellent and he protects the puck well with his body, especially in the offensive zone.

Johansen is a terrific passer with excellent stick and puck skills. He had 10 goals and 49 points in 69 games this year for Kelowna. He gets physically stronger each year, and he's terrific on both the penalty kill and power play.

Victor Mete, D, 5-10/174, London (OHL)
Don't let the size fool you. Mete is used to covering a lot of terrific talent with his excellent speed with the London Knights. He was an important cog in the Knights' championship this season.

The blueliner turned up his offense during the Memorial Cup run, with 11 points in 18 postseason games. He can be a power-play quarterback.

Sam Steel, C, 5-11, 176, Regina (WHL)
Steel is a terrific all-around pivot who works hard and trains harder. His offense has improved every season for the Regina Pats. His stick skills are excellent and he's strong on the penalty kill. Steel had 16 points in 12 playoff games this season.

He has a high ceiling.

Simon Stransky, LW, 6-0/174, Prince Albert (WHL)
The Czech forward plays with a lot of heart. He was a point-per-game player this season for the Prince Albert Raiders. Stransky had four points in five playoff games, and he always manages to score goals in big tournaments.

Stransky's father is a coach and the kid is very mature both on and off the ice.

Yikes! Flyers choke away 3-0 third-period lead for shootout loss to Islanders

Yikes! Flyers choke away 3-0 third-period lead for shootout loss to Islanders


The Flyers choked away a 3-0 third-period lead Saturday night en route to a crushing 4-3 shootout loss at the hands of the Islanders.

The aftermath: an ugly and lost weekend.

Returning home to the Wells Fargo Center, head coach Alain Vigneault's team was in prime position to secure a noteworthy win following a befuddling letdown in Ottawa the night prior.

The Flyers wilted, though, in the final stanza, wasting away an opportunity for a quality win within the division. The Flyers (10-6-4) have lost three straight and gone to the shootout seven times this season because of blown leads and an inability to finish games.

After scoring two goals over their last two games, both losses, the Flyers were able to put up three on New York through two periods. The Islanders entered allowing the NHL's fewest goals per game at 2.29.

If only the Flyers kept their foot on the gas.

Give credit to the Islanders (14-3-1) for storming back and extending their point streak to 14 games (13-0-1). They took advantage of a too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty in the third period and completely had the Flyers on their heels.

• The Flyers are at the 20-game mark and this was not how they wanted to reach it. While they look different this season, they are still maddeningly inconsistent at times.

Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek, James van Riemsdyk and Kevin Hayes went scoreless against New York.

It's a good thing when others are producing, but the Flyers will need to get their big boys going with the others. It hasn't happened yet and the team's record reflects it.

• Brian Elliott came in and out of his crease quite often Saturday night. He had a weird game as he made some timely saves but fell flat in the third period.

That's when they really needed him.

• Oskar Lindblom has arguably been the Flyers' best forward 20 games into the year. The 23-year-old plays on both special teams units and has nine goals and seven assists.

Other NHL players with nine goals so far: Sebastian Aho, Filip Forsberg and Artemi Panarin.

Lindblom had a two-point effort Saturday, marking his third multi-point game of the season after having four all of last season.

He has run away with the opportunity given to him by Vigneault and company.

• The new line of Lindblom, Joel Farabee and Sean Couturier features plenty of intrigue.

The group opened the game's scoring just 1:38 into the action when Lindblom found Couturier, who had a two-point performance himself. The Flyers were 12-5-2 when Couturier had a multi-point game last season.

Lindblom, Couturier and Farabee combined for five points. It still wasn't enough, which is troubling.

• Ivan Provorov and Shayne Gostisbehere have been flip-flopping on the first and second power play units. Provorov was moved off the first group in Friday night's 2-1 loss to the Senators.

"Provy started off, he had three turnovers in the first 10 minutes, made a switch," Vigneault said before Saturday night's game. "Ghost seemed to me that he was playing a little bit better. If you want to play, you’ve got to make the plays."

Provorov made one on the man advantage Saturday to give the Flyers a 2-0 lead in the opening frame. He has four goals and nine assists in 20 games. Last season, he had four goals and eight assists through 40 games. The addition of Matt Niskanen has been huge for the 22-year-old defenseman.

• A little over two hours before puck drop, Vigneault said the Flyers had lineup decisions to make regarding some players nursing minor injuries.

The club's full roster took warmups. Afterward, Philippe Myers and Carsen Twarynski were the scratches as Robert Hagg and Chris Stewart played in their spots.

It's uncertain why the Flyers went that route. Vigneault said postgame that both Myers and Twarynski were healthy.

Myers will be back in the lineup. The 22-year-old defenseman has been great with three goals, an assist and a plus-7 mark in eight games since being called up from AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley.

Twarynski, a 21-year-old forward, is in a more precarious spot with Scott Laughton (broken finger) nearing his return from long-term injured reserve. Laughton could be back as soon as next Saturday's game against the Flames.

• The Flyers rocked military appreciation jerseys during warmups.

• The Flyers are off Sunday and practice Monday at 11:30 a.m. in Voorhees, New Jersey, before traveling to Florida for a matchup Tuesday with Joel Quenneville's Panthers (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).


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Flyers vs. Islanders: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

Flyers vs. Islanders: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

The Flyers are hoping some home cooking can serve as the remedy for their sudden scoring troubles.

Sparking the offense will not come easily Saturday when the Flyers (10-6-3) host the Islanders (13-3-1).

Let's get into the essentials:

When: 7 p.m. ET with Flyers Pregame Live at 6:30 p.m. ET
Where: Wells Fargo Center
Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Live stream: and the NBC Sports MyTeams app

• The Flyers' goal-scoring difficulty crept up rather quietly because the team was playing well, beating quality clubs and on a seven-game point streak.

The issue became much more recognizable when the point streak was halted Friday night by a 2-1 loss to the Senators (see observations).

After scoring 3.27 goals per game over their first 15 games, the Flyers have put up just 1.50 in their past four. They've lost two straight games, scoring only one goal in each outing.

• Why won't it get any easier?

Because Barry Trotz and the Islanders are in town. New York is on a 13-game point streak (12-0-1) and allowing just two goals per game during that stretch. Overall, the Islanders surrender the NHL's fewest goals per game at 2.29.

However, New York has played only five road games — the fewest in the NHL — compared to 12 home games. The Flyers have earned at least a point in eight of nine home games (6-1-2) and are scoring 3.67 goals per game at home.

• Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss, who is 7-1-0 with a 1.88 goals-against average and .942 save percentage, doesn't have great career numbers against the Flyers: 6-4-2, 3.35 GAA, .897 save percentage.

• Playing a back-to-back set, the Flyers did not skate this morning, so it's uncertain how the lineup will look exactly.

Projected lineup


Joel Farabee-Claude Giroux-Jakub Voracek
Oskar Lindblom-Sean Couturier-Travis Konecny
James van Riemsdyk-Kevin Hayes-Carsen Twarynski
Andy Andreoff-Michael Raffl-Tyler Pitlick


Ivan Provorov-Matt Niskanen
Shayne Gostisbehere-Justin Braun
Travis Sanheim-Philippe Myers


Brian Elliott
Carter Hart

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