Flyers

2017 NHL draft prep: 2nd-round options for Flyers

2017 NHL draft prep: 2nd-round options for Flyers

It's easy to forget the NHL draft does not end at No. 2 for the Flyers.

In fact, they have 10 more picks after the first round and five in the first four rounds. Needless to say, this is a crucial draft for the Flyers. GM Ron Hextall already set himself up for one before landing the No. 2 pick. Now comes time to execute months of scouting.

"We have a lot of picks here and we have to hit," Hextall recently told the Flyers' website. "We can't just hit on No. 2 and then be satisfied."

Because we have an idea of whom the pick will be at No. 2, we decided to take a look at some potential targets for the Flyers in the second round.

Grant Mismash, LW, 18, 6-0/186, USNTDP
Mismash may not be around when the Flyers are on the board in the second round. The Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, native is projected to go anywhere between late first round and middle of the second. He finished as the 24th-rated North American skater by the NHL's Central Scouting Bureau. The 6-foot, 186-pound winger styles his game after Corey Perry and enjoys the physical side of the game. He's a product of the USNTDP, where he scored 26 goals and 35 assists in 65 games playing for the program's U-18 team. In 26 USHL games, he tallied eight goals and 24 helpers. He was part of the U.S. gold-medal team at the 2017 U-18 world championship, a tournament in which he registered three goals and eight points.

In the fall, he'll begin his college career at the University of North Dakota, a storied program that has produced many hockey greats, including Zach Parise and Jonathan Toews. In fact, Mismash also played one season, in 2014-15, at Shattuck-St. Mary's, a private high school, in Faribault, Minnesota, where Parise also played as a teenager. After Mismash committed to UND in 2015, Shattuck coach Tom Ward told the Grand-Forks Herald that Mismash "doesn't play like an Edina (Minnesota) kid. He plays like a kid who grew up in the country, playing like a farm boy, which is a compliment."

Jesper Boqvist, C, 18, 6-0/179, Brynäs IF (SHL)
The Flyers are likely familiar with Boqvist from keeping tabs on Oskar Lindblom, their 2015 fifth-round pick who's coming overseas next season with great anticipation. Boqvist plays both center and wing with a quick first step, good puck skills and a scoring touch. After breaking onto the scene in the junior ranks in 2015-16, he scored a combined 33 points in 50 games this past season in the SHL, Division 2 and the J20 SuperElit league.

Whether it's fair or not, Boqvist will ultimately be compared to other Swedish players such as Nicklas Backstrom and Jakob Silfverberg, who both also played for Brynäs. Mats Backlin, the Brynäs J20 coach, told Swedish newspaper Dalarnas Tidningar Boqvist is "as good as those in this age. He's incredibly talented and you can compare him with them at this age." He finished as the 10th-rated European skater by Central Scouting. He's a left-handed shot who compares his play to Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov. According to Expressen, Boqvist may leave Brynäs for another SHL team if he's promised an expanded role.

Matthew Strome, LW, 18, 6-4/206 (Hamilton, OHL)
If his last name rings familiarity, it should. Strome's older brothers, Ryan and Dylan, were both top-five draft picks in the last six years. The Islanders drafted Ryan Strome fifth overall in 2011, while Arizona selected Dylan Strome with the third pick in 2015. The youngest Strome brother is not taking the same path to the NHL as his brothers, however. Matthew Strome still could squeak into the first round but projects to be a second-rounder. Whether he falls to the 43-44 range is unforeseen, but the biggest knock on him is skating.

An Ontario-based NHL scout told Sportsnet last November of Strome's skating: "Technically it's sort of painful to watch. He has a short, choppy stride." There is still plenty to like about Strome's game. He's a big, physical winger who's not afraid to head to the dirty areas to score. Strome, who finished as the 33rd-rated North American skater by Central Scouting, led Hamilton with 34 goals this season. But his skating might be a problem going forward, which may be enough for him to slip into the Flyers' range in the second round.

Scott Reedy, C, 18, 6-2/204, USNTDP
Another product of the USNTDP and Shattuck-St. Mary's, Reedy, a Prior Lake, Minnesota, native, is committed to play at the University of Minnesota in the fall. He finished as the 40th-rated North American skater by Central Scouting, a seven-slot climb from the midterm rankings. At 6-foot-2, he has good size, playmaking ability and a high compete level. His versatility is a bonus. He can play both the pivot and the wing. Future Considerations calls him a "supreme skater who is just as agile, quick and mobile as he is smart."

Reedy, who likens his game to Islanders center John Tavares, notched 22 goals and 42 points in 60 games with the USNTDP U-18 team in 2016-17, and 10 goals and 14 points in 21 USHL contests. In scoring a hat trick against Arizona State on Feb. 25, Reedy showcased the willingness to create havoc in front of the net and get to the slot for easy scoring chances. He figures to go around the middle of the second round, where the Flyers pick.

Morgan Frost, C, 18, 5-11/170, Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)
One common theme with Frost that comes to mind is his hockey intelligence. Central Scouting, which rated him 31st among North American skaters, describes him as a "smart and skilled center with very good offensive hockey sense — excellent vision and anticipation to quickly take advantage of opportunities." He's a playmaking center who projects to play wing in the NHL until he adds more muscle, which he could do by the time his drafting team decides he's ready. He's a creative, plus passer who could benefit from shooting the puck more.

The Sault Ste. Marie forward scored 20 goals and 62 points in 67 games during the regular season and added 11 points in 11 postseason games. He styles his game after Minnesota center Mikael Granlund. He projects to go in the second round and very well could be an option for the Flyers when they're on the clock.

Ivan Lodnia, RW, 17, 5-10/182, Erie (OHL)
Lodnia has a Flyers connection — the Flyers hired Erie coach Kris Knoblauch as an assistant last Wednesday — but would have been on this list regardless. He finished as the 36th-rated North American skater by Central Scouting. He's regarded as a highly skilled forward who bounced around the Otters' lineup this season in different roles largely because of Erie's loaded lineup. Lodnia largely was a staple on Erie's shutdown third line as the season progressed and the playoffs rolled around, which explains the dip in production.

During the regular season, Lodnia collected 57 points in 66 games with Erie. In his first 32 games, he registered 34 points but compiled just 22 in the final 34 games of the season. He had just two points in 22 playoff games but did add five in five Memorial Cup games. Lodnia's size might scare off teams, but in today's NHL there is a place for smaller players. One concern with Lodnia may be his skating. According to OHL Prospects' Brock Otten, Lodnia's "not explosive, nor does he possess high-end speed." Still, Lodnia is described by Future Considerations as "despite his size he is a very difficult player to take off the puck."

Marcus Davidsson, C, 18, 6-0/191, Djurgårdens IF (SHL)
With the Flyers finally appearing to be placing an increased importance on speed and skill, Davidsson could be an intriguing option should he be available when the Orange and Black are on the clock. Davidsson's skating stride produces great speed. Central Scouting rated him the 12th-best European skater, a position he's been in both the midterm and final rankings. A two-way, playmaking pivot, Davidsson tries to emulate fellow Swede and Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog. Future Considerations says of Davidsson: "Not physical, but will step into an opponent to separate the puck as well as battle for position deep in the offensive zone." He's still a project, though, who has to develop consistency, but that should be expected from a teenager dabbling in the SHL.

This season, Davidsson skated on a line with his older brother, Jonathan Davidsson, and Lukas Vejdemo, Montreal's 2015 third-round pick, for Djurgårdens IF of the SHL. He registered just five goals and nine points with Djurgårdens — he had six goals and 10 points in nine games with Djurgårdens' junior club — but played 45 games in one of the best professional leagues in the world outside of the NHL as an 18-year-old.

Jonah Gadjovich, LW, 18, 6-2/209, Owen Sound (OHL)
The numbers are impressive: 46 goals, 28 assists, 74 points in 60 games with the Attack during the 2016-17 campaign, but are those numbers inflated from playing with projected first-round pick Nick Suzuki? That is one of the questions surrounding Gadjovich. He jumped up from the 60th-rated North American skater in Central Scouting's midterm rankings to the 39th-rated skater. From his second year in the OHL to his third, he saw a 50-point increase and produced more than a point-per-game rate.

Gadjovich is projected to go anywhere between the middle of the second round and even the third or fourth rounds. Elite Prospects describes him as "a feisty two-way winger that uses his size and speed to open up space for himself and teammates." He's a gritty, team-first player who has potential to either hit or flop. He may be a reach for where the Flyers will be drafting in the second round, though. He carries some risk.

Other names to watch

Henri Jokiharju, D, 17, 6-0/180, Portland (WHL)
Jokiharju is projected to go anywhere between late in the first round or early second. Probably isn't an option for the Flyers in the early teens of the second but if he falls, it'd be hard to pass up. He finished as the 19th-rated North American skater by Central Scouting.

Pierre-Olivier Joseph, D, 17, 6-2/161, Charlottetown (QMJHL)
A puck-moving defenseman with size who finished as the 27th-rated North American skater in Central Scouting's final rankings. He had six goals and 39 points in 62 games with Charlottetown this season. Like Jokiharju, Joseph likely will be gone before the Flyers pick.

Michael DiPietro, G, 18, 6-0/200, Windsor (OHL)
The Flyers are high on Carter Hart and Felix Sandstrom, so goaltender is probably not something they'll look for in the second round, but if they do, DiPietro is an option. Finished as the fourth-rated North American goalie by Central Scouting.

Stelio Mattheos, C, 17, 6-1/192, Brandon (WHL)
Mattheos fell from the 23rd-rated North American skater by Central Scouting in the midterm rankings to the 38th-rated skater in the final rankings. He models his game after Jeff Carter. Scored 26 goals and 61 points in 69 games this season with Brandon.

Alexander Chmelevski, C, 18, 6-0/190, Ottawa (OHL)
Finished as the 43rd-rated North American skater by Central Scouting. Had 43 points in 58 games with Ottawa this season. Should be available when the Flyers pick but likely goes later in the second round or even the third.

Alex Formenton, LW, 17, 6-2/165, London (OHL)
Formenton finished as the 29th-rated North American skater by Central Scouting. Has good size and is a plus skater but still needs to add muscle to his frame. Had 34 points in 65 games in his first season with London, his second year in the OHL.

Flyers re-sign restricted free agent Anthony Stolarz

Flyers re-sign restricted free agent Anthony Stolarz

General manager Ron Hextall is nearly finished wrapping up contracts for his restricted free agents.

And his goalie picture is now clear for 2018-19.

The Flyers on Wednesday re-signed netminder Anthony Stolarz to a one-year, two-way contract. The deal is worth $761,250, according to a report by hockey writer John Hoven.

With Stolarz back, defenseman Robert Hagg remains the Flyers' lone restricted free agent.

Stolarz, a 2012 second-round pick, underwent a nightmarish 2017-18 season just a year after he made his NHL debut and performed well in seven games with the Flyers. The 24-year-old tore the meniscus in his left knee during early September, the same injury he suffered at the end of 2016-17 with AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley.

He played in just one AHL game and three ECHL contests as a result. In 2016-17, he made his way to the big club and put up a 2.07 goals-against average and .928 save percentage in a small sample. Then the injury occurred with the Phantoms and it's been an uphill battle ever since for the 6-foot-6, 210-pounder.

Stolarz will have his work cut out for him — if he hasn't already — as playing time will be earned at Lehigh Valley with Alex Lyon back in the fold and Carter Hart joining them.

"It's just competition. No one is going to go in there and hand you a job, so you have to earn it,” Stolarz said in June after an on-ice workout at Flyers Skate Zone. "I think the thing for me is to prove I'm healthy. I don't think I've skated since the end of January. I had the one flare up before one of my games and it had nothing to do with my knee injury. It was a separate injury. I think the biggest thing is proving I'm healthy and going out there and working to prove I'm still a high-caliber goalie."

The Flyers' goaltending tandem is set with Brian Elliott and Michal Neuvirth, both of whom are in the final year of their contracts. Things obviously can change this offseason, as Neuvirth and Stolarz seemed like realistic trade candidates.

But as of now, it's Elliott and Neuvirth with the younger trio pushing and competing.

"I'd rather have too many goalies than too few," Hextall said earlier this month. "If something makes sense and we can make something happen, we'd at least look at it. We saw it last year. All of a sudden, a couple goalies go down and you're scrambling for goalies. If we start with five, we start with five. Not a perfect situation, but again, I'd rather start with five than with three."

More on the Flyers' goalies

• Following 'gloomy' time, what's next for Elliott?

• Why Neuvirth's NHL career hinges on this offseason

• Hart says so long to Twitter, hello to pro life

• No arbitration needed for Flyers and Lyon

• Sandstrom hungry to prove he's not the 'other' goalie

Former Flyers goalie Ray Emery dies at 35

Former Flyers goalie Ray Emery dies at 35

Former Flyers goaltender Ray Emery died Sunday morning. First responders pulled his body out of Hamilton Harbour, where he had been swimming with friends. An investigation into the cause of death is still ongoing. 

Emery was 35.

According to local authorities, Emery was checking out a friend’s boat docked at Royal Hamilton Yacht Club when the group he was with decided to jump in the water around 6:30 a.m. Emery’s body never surfaced and was eventually recovered around 2:50 p.m. Sunday afternoon. Hamilton police say Emery’s body was recovered in close proximity to where he was last seen.

Emery was last seen publicly with a handful of his former teammates Saturday night as the goaltender participated in Zac Rinaldo’s charity hockey game in Hamilton. Emery can be seen standing during the playing of “O Canada.”

"The Philadelphia Flyers are stunned and extremely saddened to hear of the tragic passing of former Flyers goaltender Ray Emery," president Paul Holmgren said in a statement from the team. "Ray was an outstanding teammate and an extremely gifted goaltender. He had exceptional athleticism, was a fierce competitor and battled in every game he played with the Flyers.

"His performances through the 2009-10 season were a very big part of the team's success in making the playoffs and reaching the Stanley Cup Final. Ray's talent, work ethic and determination helped him enjoy a successful 11-year NHL career. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends during this difficult time."

Several of Emery’s former teammates over the years offered their condolences via Twitter after learning of the tragedy.

Former Flyer Daniel Carcillo shared the he was crushed by the news (NSFW).

Jakub Voracek also shared his condolences (NSFW).

Emery joined the Flyers in June 2009 on a one-year contract, shutting out the Carolina Hurricanes 2-0 in his Flyers debut. The goaltender’s first stint in Philadelphia was cut short when he suffered a muscle tear in his abdomen in December missing the remainder of the season. Emery was later diagnosed with avascular necrosis — a degenerative condition to the bone tissue in his hip.

After undergoing successful surgery, Emery eventually joined the Ducks before winning a Stanley Cup with the Blackhawks in 2013. Impressively, Emery finished the regular season with a 17-1-0 record. He re-signed with the Flyers that summer as a backup to Steve Mason.

Emery’s most infamous moment in Philadelphia came during an ugly 7-0 loss to the Washington Capitals on November 1, 2013, as the Flyers netminder pummeled Caps goalie Braden Holtby during a line brawl in the early stages of the third period.

Emery faced criminal charges over a handful of off-the-ice incidents and altercations. Most recently, he was arrested for assault with a weapon in 2017 against former fiancé Keshia Chanté. 

Emery played a total of 287 NHL games, 88 with the Flyers.