Throughout the offseason, we’ll ask questions about the Flyers to our resident hockey analysts and see what they have to say.
Going End to End today are CSNPhilly.com producers/reporters Tom Dougherty, Jordan Hall, and Greg Paone.
The question: Should the Flyers be receptive to trading the No. 2 overall pick?
Flyers general manager Ron Hextall said last Saturday night that he “can’t say no to anything because you don’t know what will come your way.” Except he can and he should.
There is little justification for the Flyers to move out of the No. 2 overall pick. The Flyers won the draft lottery by jumping from No. 13 to No. 2, the largest jump in lottery history.
There is no clear-cut No. 1 pick this year but there are two prospects, Nolan Patrick and Nico Hischier, who are the consensus top picks. Scouts are split on who should be No. 1.
They both fit what the Flyers need. Either one will be a building block for the Flyers. Patrick or Hischier gives the Flyers a potential top-line center. They are both 18 years old.
I cannot imagine a scenario where a team offers the Flyers a package worthwhile for the No. 2 pick. The Flyers would need an immediate top-six center and a first-round pick.
The No. 2 pick in, what Hextall described as an “average” draft is too valuable to just trade away. Let’s lay the “No. 2 for Matt Duchene/Gabriel Landeskog” discussion to rest.
One week ago, the Flyers struck gold. Let’s enjoy the pot rather than give it away. Opportunities like this one do not happen often. They absolutely cannot trade this pick.
The Flyers shouldn't rule out anything, and Hextall said they wouldn't.
They'll be open-minded because they're in a very favorable and powerful position.
With that said, don't expect Hextall to trade out of the No. 2 spot. All draft picks are like gold to the Flyers' general manager. At the end of the 2015-16 regular season, Hextall talked about the team's reluctance to deal a draft pick at the trade deadline, "even if it was a seventh-round pick, it just wasn't happening," he said.
We know Hextall's mission, which is to build from within — and that's all possible through the draft. This year, the mission hit the jackpot and the Flyers are ready to plug a No. 2 pick into their promising system.
My general gut feeling on drafts, in all sports, not just hockey, is that they are total crapshoots. Do you really know what you're getting? A guy could be a world-beater at one level and then be a flame-out at the next level. So unless there's a Connor McDavid or LeBron James-type floating at the top of the draft board, you just don't know what you're getting. And, by all accounts, there isn't that type of player or players in this draft
So that's why I usually lean toward a proven commodity — in this case a trade for a younger player who has proven he can produce at the NHL level — rather than an unproven commodity.
But there are exceptions and the case Ron Hextall and the Flyers find themselves in with this No. 2 pick is one of those exceptions. This is about the state of the Flyers and the current retooling Hextall is watching over.
Let's be honest here — the Flyers pretty much fell backwards into this No. 2 pick thanks to a ping-pong ball and a stroke of luck. This is a golden opportunity to improve the franchise with a stalwart center now and for the long term. These kinds of breaks don't come often. The Flyers now have one and need to seize it. The retooling now has a jetpack tied to it to speed it up.
So should Hextall listen to offers? Sure he should. He'd be doing a disservice to the franchise if he didn't at least listen.
But should he trade away this potential franchise-changing opportunity? Nope.