Flyers

Ron Hextall surprised by quiet draft weekend for Flyers

Ron Hextall surprised by quiet draft weekend for Flyers

DALLAS — The Flyers finally made a draft day deal. 

They disposed of one of their two seventh-round picks (190th overall) to the Canadiens for Montreal’s seventh-rounder in 2019.

That was it.

A quiet weekend for general manager Ron Hextall, who certainly had discussions, but it was just one big billow of smoke and not all that different from the wood-filled BBQ pits in the surrounding Dallas area.

“The draft didn’t have the typical big deals. I was surprised as anybody,” Hextall said Saturday. “I thought there were some bigger deals, but that’s the way it goes.”

Hextall couldn’t even get a seventh-rounder for RFA goaltender Petr Mrazek, who the Flyers acquired for a third-round pick back in February, and will now be a free agent on July 1.

“Someone calls me, I’ll certainly listen,” Hextall said. “But I don’t think there’s a market there.” 

So the organization came to the American Airlines Center on Saturday focused on the draft at hand, and it started at the defense position, which the Flyers failed to address during the first round.

After snagging Adam Ginning to kick-start Day 2, the Flyers found that elusive right-handed defenseman by taking John St. Ivany with their fourth-round selection. St. Ivany developed through the Junior Kings program in L.A. before spending the past two years with Sioux Falls of the USHL. He will attend Yale University next season.

“Good size, moves well and solid with the puck,” Hextall said. “He was a good fit for our group.”

St. Ivany was the first right-handed defenseman the Flyers had selected since Mark Friedman in 2014, but the organization didn’t wait around to find another. Hextall and the scouts jumped at the opportunity to choose Wyatte Wylie, Carter Hart’s teammate with the Everett Silvertips of the Western Hockey League.

Wylie wasn’t projected to be drafted when the season started, but he shot up the board with a very strong second half by contributing offensively.

“We like him. He was a fit for us,” Hextall said. “Kind of a guy you look before the draft and see where he fits and a guy that we targeted later in the draft. We like his game.” 

To some surprise, the Flyers picked Swedish goaltender Samuel Ersson one round later, a position Hextall didn’t believe the team would address in this year’s draft.

“We weren’t chasing a goalie,” Hextall said. “We like his size. We like his athleticism. We think there’s some upside there that hasn’t been tapped yet. We got him a lot later. Had we needed a goalie, we would have taken him a lot earlier.”

The Flyers found another college-bound forward with two-way center Gavin Hain, who self-admittedly struggled in his first year with the USA Hockey National Team Development Program, calling last season a “tough” year.

“My first year away from home and all the adversity I faced,” Hain, who will attend North Dakota next season, said. “A new team and everything at the program. The NTDP itself is a hard-grooming place to play as a player, but it’s a great spot to develop. I struggled for a bit at times.”

After trading their first seventh-round selection, it left the Flyers with only the 205th overall pick, which they used to take Sweden’s Marcus Westfalt, and with that, for the first time in Flyers draft history, not a single Canadian was selected.

Hextall didn’t need the reminder.

“I know," he said. "I was hearing it at my table.”

More on the 2018 NHL draft

• Flyers' draft shows big year for USA Hockey

• Hextall surprised by Flyers' quiet draft weekend

• With O'Brien, Hextall shows he's 'never' one to be safe

• With Philly ties, Farabee can't wait to help Flyers

• Samuelsson continues family's NHL tradition

Flyers draft Marcus Westfalt with 205th overall pick in 2018 NHL draft

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USA Today Images

Flyers draft Marcus Westfalt with 205th overall pick in 2018 NHL draft

The Flyers brought a close to their 2018 NHL draft class by taking forward Marcus Westfalt in the seventh round Saturday with the 205th overall pick.

The 18-year-old became the third Swedish player drafted by the Flyers. In 2017-18, Westfalt was a teammate of Samuel Ersson, a goalie the Flyers drafted two rounds prior (see story).

Westfalt scored at more than a point-per-game clip playing Swedish junior hockey for Brynäs IF J20. He recorded 27 points (12 goals, 15 assists) in 26 regular-season games while posting a plus-19 rating. Westfalt also played 39 SHL games, eight of which came in the postseason, for Brynäs, the former club of Flyers winger Oskar Lindblom. Westfalt had four points (one goal, three assists) over that stretch.

Like Westfalt, Lindblom was also a late-round pick, going in the fifth during the 2014 draft. He then turned himself into one of the organization's prized forward prospects before playing 23 games for the Flyers in 2017-18, to go along with four playoff contests.

Westfalt, at 6-foot-3 and 203 pounds, has similar size to Lindblom, who is 6-foot-1, 191 pounds.

The Flyers entered the draft with nine picks. They ended up making eight of those picks, trading the 190th selection to the Canadiens for a 2019 seventh-round pick.

More on the 2018 NHL draft

• Flyers' draft shows big year for USA Hockey

• Hextall surprised by Flyers' quiet draft weekend

• With O'Brien, Hextall shows he's 'never' one to be safe

• With Philly ties, Farabee can't wait to help Flyers

• Samuelsson continues family's NHL tradition

Flyers draft Gavin Hain with 174th overall pick in 2018 NHL draft

Flyers draft Gavin Hain with 174th overall pick in 2018 NHL draft

After drafting three defensemen and a goalie on Day 2 of the 2018 NHL draft, Flyers general manager Ron Hextall went back to forward in the sixth round.

The Flyers on Saturday selected center Gavin Hain of the USA Hockey National Team Development Program with the 174th overall pick at the American Airlines Center in Dallas.

Hain is committed to play college hockey for the University of North Dakota and is the fourth player the Flyers drafted this year that's headed to the NCAA.

The 5-foot-11, 193-pound centerman scored 15 goals and 35 points in 61 games with the Team USA U-18 team. He had 18 points in 25 games for the USNTDP junior team in the USHL.

He's characterized as a two-way center with bottom-six potential. He was teammates with the Flyers' first pick of the draft, Joel Farabee (14th overall).

With Farabee and Hain, the Flyers have drafted two players from the USNTDP. Before Farabee, James van Riemsdyk was the last player they drafted from the program.

On Friday night, Farabee gave a ringing endorsement for the USNDTP.

"The NDTP has been everything really as I look back," Farabee said. "I'd do it again in a heartbeat. To be able to play with such elite players on a day-to-day basis and the coaching staff; they're there every day giving a 100 percent just like you are.

"If you're a U.S.-born player, it's the place to go. They really develop you into the player you need to become. They don't look at you and BS you in what you need to do."

More on the 2018 NHL draft

• Flyers' draft shows big year for USA Hockey

• Hextall surprised by Flyers' quiet draft weekend

• With O'Brien, Hextall shows he's 'never' one to be safe

• With Philly ties, Farabee can't wait to help Flyers

• Samuelsson continues family's NHL tradition