2018 NHL Draft Prospect Profiles: Left Wingers
Later this week, hundreds of prospects will have a new home following the NHL Draft. In particular, the first round can hold many potential stars in the league for years to come.
The Flyers have two picks in the first round at 14th and 19th overall. Throughout the week, we're looking at prospects available at each position as potential targets and top players available in the draft.
We continue that preview with left wingers.
There aren't many prospects that are listed at left wing that could go in the first round. More or less, prospects are typically listed as combinations at forward positions or centers who can easily transition to the win. There are a few pure wingers who are probably far above the Flyers selection range, even in trade-up scenarios.
Filip Zadina is one of them, but you never know with Ron Hextall. So it's best to still take a look.
It seems like almost every year, the Halifax Mooseheads have a top prospect in the draft. Last year, it was first overall pick Nico Hischier. This year it is Zadina.
Zadina certainly turned heads at the World Junior Championships with Czech Republic, and had a stellar season with Halifax, scoring 44 goals and 82 points in 57 games. His shot is tremendous and his offensive skills may be the best in the draft. This is a pure goal scorer, but also a playmaker who can just as easily create for his teammates.
Defensively, he's improved over time and adjusted well to the North American game, so he's poised to make a play for an NHL roster in the fall. With that combination of skill and scoring that's making highlight reels in the NHL, it won't be long before you see Zadina on one.
"Quick hands, very shifty and smart," ISS Scout Bob Johnson writes in the 2018 ISS NHL Draft Guide. "Not too many players with his hands and skills. Plays the game like a N.A. player. He competes and goes in traffic."
Like Zadina, Brady Tkachuk isn't going to be on the board long. He defines the power forward role with great size and strength and a tenacious style of play that resembles his brother Matthew.
Brady Tkachuk doesn't really have many weaknesses. He could get a little quicker on his feet, but his skating overall is solid and like many prospects, he needs to work on his consistency, but it's the edge he brings to a game that makes his game.
He combines the competitiveness and edge to his game with good hockey smarts, able to read the game well and play situational hockey. Physicality is also a staple to his game, and brings out the best in his game.
"High energy physical game," ISS Scout Dave McDonald writes in the 2018 ISS NHL Draft Guide. "Sees the game very well; though he plays a physical game, he consistently put himself in good position to give himself opportunities. Projects as a top-six power forward with offensive upside."
Now onto some of the more realistic options for the Flyers in the middle of the first round. Joel Farabee is kind of a wild card in the draft. Some have him as a borderline Top-10 talent, others have him as low as the late first round.
Aside from his size -- just 5'11", 164 pounds -- Farabee has all the tools, he just needs to mature both in size and skill.
Farabee has the scoring ability and the playmaking skills to be a solid NHL player in a top-six role. He doesn't have a glaring weakness to his game and is a smart player, getting time in all situations and excelling on the penalty kill. He's a strong skater, good hands and has solid two-way ability.
Farabee certainly has a future in the NHL and the Flyers should be on notice since he will likely be around when it's their time to pick. It's just a matter of where he ranks on the team's board, since scouts' rankings of him are all over the map.
"Very smart two-way forward," ISS Scout Tim Zeches writes in the 2018 ISS NHL Draft Guide. "Has a great ability to read and anticipate and puts himself in the right position to make plays. Has good vision, quick hands, makes smart reads on zone entries and attacks one-on-one."
Farabee is more of an all-around forward. Grigori Denisenko is more of a scorer.
Denisenko has all of the offensive tools, a good shot, explosive skating ability, solid awareness of the offensive zone, creativity and certainly a lot of potential.
Denisenko is more of a work in progress, needing to add some size and work on his defensive skills and consistency from game to game, but he's got top-line scoring potential that could be attractive to a team with a mid-first pick.
Depending on how the board plays out, Denisenko is a player that could be there at either pick for the Flyers, but would be a solid addition to the team's prospect pool given his raw offensive ability.
"Very good offensive winger in the mold of a Jonathan Drouin," ISS Scout Chris Mooring writes in the 2018 ISS NHL Draft Guide. "Very good skater with speed and mobility, accelerates with puck and makes plays at speed. Shows very good release and scoring instincts."
Kevin Durso is Flyers editor for SportsTalkPhilly.com. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.