2020 NHL draft

2020 NHL draft profile: With 'real mature game,' defenseman Ryan O'Rourke shouldn't be overlooked

2020 NHL draft profile: With 'real mature game,' defenseman Ryan O'Rourke shouldn't be overlooked

The entire picture for the 2020 NHL draft remains cloudy with the ongoing suspension of the 2019-20 regular season because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Where will the Flyers be picking? When and how will the draft be held? Those questions are currently unanswered.

The Flyers hold seven total selections and, as of right now, are slotted with the 26th overall pick.

“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 don’t know totally where we’re picking, but we have an idea. We have some guys targeted we feel we would be very happy with in the top couple of rounds and then we still have some work to do to clean up the mid-to-later-round picks.

"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.”

This month and into June, we'll continue to break down options for the Flyers at No. 26.

Ryan O'Rourke

Position: Defenseman
Height: 6-foot
Weight: 178
Shoots: Left
Team: Soo Greyhounds

Scouting report

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. 26. If O'Rourke is in their ballpark during the second round, though, he'll definitely have the club's attention.

(Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

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2020 NHL draft profile: Daniel Torgersson has 'unique size,' ability to 'dominate'

2020 NHL draft profile: Daniel Torgersson has 'unique size,' ability to 'dominate'

The entire picture for the 2020 NHL draft remains cloudy with the ongoing suspension of the 2019-20 regular season because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Where will the Flyers be picking? When and how will the draft be held? Those questions are currently unanswered.

The Flyers hold seven total selections and, as of right now, are slotted with the 26th overall pick.

“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 don’t know totally where we’re picking, but we have an idea. We have some guys targeted we feel we would be very happy with in the top couple of rounds and then we still have some work to do to clean up the mid-to-later-round picks.

"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.”

This month and into June, we'll continue to break down options for the Flyers at No. 26.

Daniel Torgersson

Position: Winger
Height: 6-foot-3
Weight: 199
Shoots: Left
Team: Frolunda HC

Scouting report

Playing in Sweden's top junior league SuperElit, Torgersson finished tied for fourth with 26 goals and third with a plus-38 rating. The 18-year-old was over a point-per-game scorer for Frolunda, putting up 44 points in 39 games. He got a taste of the Swedish Elite League, going scoreless in six games, and showed a well-rounded makeup at the Five Nations tournament.

A rangy winger who is proficient around the net, Torgersson can also move well and understands how to augment talented centers. There will be a good amount of projection with Torgersson, who has the tools to develop into an NHL winger.

There's some Isaac Ratcliffe in the Swede. Ratcliffe, the Flyers' 2017 second-round pick, is a 6-foot-6, 203-pound, lefty-shot winger with impressive mobility. Ratcliffe's hands and touch are considerably better than Torgersson's, but both players are big wingers with scoring ability. In 2019-20, Ratcliffe experienced his first season at the pro level, learning how important it is to use his size with the puck just as much as his skill.

Torgersson will need to prove he can utilize his frame and score in harder ways against men.

“Big body, strong down low on the walls, can shoot it," Flahr said last week. "He is a winger, for sure, and it’s just the tip of the iceberg with him. Eventually he’s going to hopefully dominate using his size and ability to get to the net and shoot the puck. On the national teams and certainly on the junior teams, he complements skilled centers pretty well and obviously he has unique size.”


Fit with Flyers

The draft stock for Torgersson has fluctuated as he's the 13th-ranked European skater by NHL Central Scouting and considered the 27th-best player in the draft by TSN's Craig Button. However, ESPN's Chris Peters rated Torgersson at No. 61 among the class and many view him as a second-round pick.

The Flyers, who have some nice wingers in the system but are not exceptionally deep at the position, could get two cracks at Torgersson with their first- or second-round pick. The Flyers may not see Torgersson as the best player available during the first round if they end up picking at No. 26 overall and they do not have a third-round selection after the Justin Braun trade.

But when a winger can score with that type of size, the Flyers will certainly be interested, especially if Torgersson is available in the second round.

“Everybody has seen him," Flahr said of his staff. "He plays on a fairly prominent team over there with a number of prospects, he’s been on all the national teams.”

(Christian Wahlgren/Pucksnack.com)

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2020 NHL draft profile: Roni Hirvonen is an undersized center already playing against pros

2020 NHL draft profile: Roni Hirvonen is an undersized center already playing against pros

This month and into June, we'll break down NHL draft options for the Flyers, who have seven selections this year and would currently pick 26th in the first round.

Today, we’ll look at Roni Hirvonen, an undersized center who was on the ice for about 15 minutes per game this season in Finland’s top league. 

Roni Hirvonen 

Position: Center 
Height: 5-foot-9 
Weight: 164 
Shoots: Left 
Team: Ässät 

Scouting report

Hirvonen transitioned to Finland’s Liiga this season and had 16 points in 52 games for Ässät (five goals, 11 assists). In 2018-19, he had impressive production at the U-20 level for his hometown team, Kiekko-Espoo, with 21 goals and 34 assists in 50 games. 

His modest numbers for Ässät this season shouldn’t be discouraging. Playing against adults for the first time, Hirvonen was good enough to earn a regular spot in the lineup. The 18-year-old plays a relatively mature game, reading the play well and showing a solid sense of where he should be positioned on both ends. One of his strengths is moving the puck up ice with crisp long-distance passes. 

Though he’s unafraid to grapple in difficult areas, Hirvonen’s size is a concern, and it’s possible he’ll need to play on the wing in the NHL. The Athletic’s Scott Wheeler praises his “feistiness,” which is a trait that should serve him well moving forward. Even when Hirvonen is giving up height and muscle, he finds ways to get to the front of the net. Despite not recording a power play goal this year, Hirvonen has the potential to be impactful on the power play because of that knack for sticking himself in dangerous spots, his vision and his puck handling.

His skating sometimes appears effortful and it takes him a while to accelerate, but he's generally pretty smooth once he gets going. Hirvonen told Jokke Nevalainen of DobberProspects.com in October that he feels his skating has recently improved. 

“I’m a smart player,” he said to Nevalainen. “Versatile. And as previously said, a dynamic skater. I have a warrior’s mentality.”

Fit with Flyers 

NHL Central Scouting ranked Hirvonen 10th among European skaters, while ESPN’s Chris Peters has him at No. 36 overall and TSN’s Craig Button puts him at No. 57. He’s worth consideration in the first two rounds for the Flyers, who took an undersized player at No. 34 last season in 5-foot-8, 164-pound right winger Bobby Brink.

"Obviously you’d want the big, scoring, playmaking center, anybody does,” Flyers assistant GM Brent Flahr told NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Jordan Hall in a phone interview on April 25. “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.”

Though Hirvonen successfully took the step up from the junior level this year, the typical timeline of at least “two or three years down the road” likely still applies. He’s not the classic, can’t-miss center Flahr described, but he’s an interesting prospect. 

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