Philadelphia Flyers: Hextall may get his wish on draft day

(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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Philadelphia Flyers
(Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /

Right-handed Defensemen

Aside from Philippe Myers, the Flyers do not possess another right-handed defenseman in the organization that will be ready to enter the NHL any time soon. With Myers projected to possibly join the big club next season, the Flyers would lack the next guy up, so to speak. They will need to draft the next big defensive prospect, and they will certainly try to target right-handers.

According to Alex Appleyard of the Athletic, there are two right-handed defensemen that could be available in Evan Bouchard and Nils Lundqvist.

Bouchard stands 6-foot-2, 196 pounds and possesses some of the best offensive skills in the entire draft outside of a guy named Rasmus Dahlin, the consensus number one pick. Bouchard has a high offensive acumen which could make him a future top-four defenseman in the NHL.  He does not have elite speed and the knock on him is that he lacks the shut down defensive skills in his own zone.

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But Bouchard is the kind of player that the Flyers could draft, develop, and eventually transition to the NHL slowly. They have a history of bringing their defenseman along slowly. Travis Sanheim, Sam Morin, and the Philippe Myers are prime examples of this strategy.

Bouchard is projected to go in the top ten currently. This would be a pick that Hextall would most likely need to trade up for. If Hextall believes Bouchard is the next great Flyers defenseman, he may be willing to deal one of his first round picks in order to move up. An excerpt from Corey Pronman’s (The Athletic) draft rankings is as follows:

"“Bouchard put up a lot of points for a reason. He has a hard, dangerous shot and can be a primary trigger guy on an NHL power play. The more I’ve watched him the more I appreciate his vision, with one scout referring to him as a general in how well and calmly he moves the puck. He has a lot of poise in the offensive zone to wait out options.”"

Another right-hander that could be had is Nils Lundqvist. Lundqvist is a well-rounded player who can join the rush, play on the power play, and play solid defense. He is a solid skater with strong puck skills that could very well one day be an asset on the man advantage in the NHL. The problem with Lundqvist right now is that he is undersized. At 5-foot-11 and 173 pounds, Lundqvist will need to grow into his frame and add on 15-20 pounds in order to handle the rigors of an entire NHL season.

Lundqvist is a bit of a project, which is why he’s not being taken in the first round of most mock drafts. Corey Pronman’s complete mock draft can be found here.

Lundqvist is a player that could be had at pick 19 if Hextall truly believes he has to have a right-handed player and Bouchard is already gone. Pronman states the following about Lundqvist:

"“He’s not a very flashy player, but he’s very smooth. He can skate pucks up the ice or out of trouble, but he’s more comfortable just making a good pass. He’s not a basic player and can hold onto pucks for a few more seconds to wait out options. I don’t think he has a ton of skill, though, in terms of being able to dominate a shift or create a chance without help. Defensively, he’s solid despite his size. He closes on guys well, makes good decisions and can win a few battles.”"

Now, it should be noted that this is a defense heavy draft. Hextall may want a righty, but there are also plenty of lefties that may be on the board at 14 and 19 that Hextall might not be able to pass up. Notable names include Ty Smith, K’Andre Miller, Rasmus Sandin, Quinn Hughes, Noah Dobson, and Bode Wilde.

Hextall will have plenty of names to choose from in terms of defensive draft picks. Now, let’s take a look at the next position Hextall will look at.