The Flyers are hosting the NHL Draft for the first time in their franchise’s history. With a new general manager in the fold and seemingly having topped out as far as where they are from a talent standpoint, it would come as no surprise to me if the team did something drastic at the event they will be hosting. Philadelphia is in a unique situation with where their roster sits. Their notable, young talent up front is not quite strong enough to mask their deficiencies elsewhere. Far too much of the scoring load was placed on the top line of Jake Voracek-Claude Giroux-and a veritable hodge-podge of left wingers. Brayden Schenn, though still in the early stages of his career, has yet to develop into the dependable two-way player the organization expected to take the place of Mike Richards. Meanwhile, some argue that Sean Couturier‘s offensive development has been impeded by the organization’s insistence on matching the young centerman up with the opposition’s top line as a defensive stopper.
Personally, I don’t see any one player turning this team into a Stanley Cup contender. Their situation on defense is far too bleak and, as we see with the two teams duking it out for the championship, a versatile blue-line core is essential to postseason success in today’s NHL. Considering the organization has spent the last few drafts stockpiling some more promising talent on the back-end, I would hope that maybe they pump the brakes on shipping away their minor-league talent pool for veterans. Might it mean taking a short step back in order to take several steps forward? Probably. Still, the Flyers got away with a lot of sloppy play last season and, as their first round exit at the hands of the Rangers showed, did not demonstrate the necessary formula for success. Still, until proven otherwise, Ed Snider’s insatiable thirst for another Stanley Cup tends to cloud the judgement of some of the team’s front office officials. Ron Hextall may end up being the GM who finally has it in him to say ‘no’ to some of Snider’s wheeling and dealing, but we will not know that for a few more weeks. If Snider still does have the clout everyone imagines he does, there will be no shortage of temptation come draft time. None other than Ryan Kesler, the object of the Flyers organization’s affection for years, continues to show his dissatisfaction with the rebuilding situation in Vancouver. Darren Dreger, one of TSN’s top NHL insiders, elaborated a bit more on the soon-to-be 30-year-old centerman.
Ryan Kesler hasn’t changed his mind. He wants a fresh start and to move on from Vancouver; he met with Benning earlier this week to talk about that. It’s believed that Kesler still has six teams on his list that he’s willing to be traded to. And we think that Philadelphia and Anaheim are among those.
Just to clarify, this is not saying the Flyers are necessarily interested in Kesler’s services. Anaheim makes a ton of sense for the disgruntled center, as they appear much closer to Stanley Cup contention than Philadelphia. Bringing in Kesler would most like deplete the Flyers elsewhere along the roster, creating a whole new round of issues to work around. That being said, given the fact that the draft is in Philadelphia and Kesler has been linked to the Flyers in the past, don’t put anything by Ed Snider when it comes to attaining the player he so covets. Personally, I would say the odds of the Flyers moving up for a better draft pick are far more likely than a marquee trade like bringing in Kesler.