Flyers Make 8 Selections on Day 2
The NHL Draft concluded on Thursday with the final six rounds. It was set to be an active day for the Flyers with eight picks on the board, but entering the second day, they would not be on the clock until the 87th overall pick.
GM Danny Briere made a move to change that during the second round. The Flyers traded the 167th overall pick in the sixth round and the 2024 second-round pick acquired in the Ivan Provorov trade to move up to 51st overall.
That was the starting point on a busy day for the Flyers. Here’s a look at the eight picks made on Thursday.
G Carson Bjarnason
Briere’s move up to the second round came in the middle of a run on goaltenders. It was no surprise that the Flyers wanted to come away from the draft with another piece for the goalie pipeline.
The pick was Carson Bjarnason, a goaltender in the WHL for the Brandon Wheat Kings. Bjarnason was the top-ranked North American goalie prospect in the draft according to NHL Central Scouting.
Bjarnason experienced a rise through the ranks over the last year, showing the raw talent of a potential high ceiling goaltender. He’s got a big frame with his 6’3” size and can only help that by getting stronger. He’s very good at taking away the lower part of the net with his pads.
Being the backstop for a weak defensive team in Brandon also helped Bjaranson’s cause. Don’t let the numbers fool you. There were many nights he was single-handedly responsible for keeping his team in games.
G Egor Zavragin
While taking a goalie in the second round wasn’t really a stretch for the Flyers, when their first pick in the third round came up, they went back between the pipes. This time, they selected Russian goalie Egor Zavragin with the 87th overall pick.
Zavragin is a competitor in goal, and improved over the course of his draft year by staying calm and relaxed in the crease. He can get himself into trouble if he starts to get too skittish or busy. He’s at his best when his game quiets down while still be a high-energy netminder.
He has an unorthodox style and certainly offers the mental capacity to be a solid pick. He’s got a lot of maturing to do physically before he is ready for the next level.
C Denver Barkey
In the middle rounds, you start to look for a few diamonds in the rough. That could certainly be the case with Denver Barkey.
He was available in the third round with the 95th overall pick. Barkey had 22 goals and 59 points in 61 games with the London Knights in the OHL last season.
This marked Briere’s second time going to the London Knights for a potential future Flyer. They had taken Barkey’s teammate, Oliver Bonk, in the first round on Wednesday. Barkey’s a high-energy forward that is almost build from the same mold as Briere. He’s just 5’8”, but doesn’t play like it. He’s tenacious, a battler on the forecheck.
Barkey also has the offensive skills. His positioning allows him to get to dangerous spots or move it back to teammates with his strong passing skills. Much like his teammate on the blue line, this was a solid upside pick for the Flyers in the middle of the third round.
C Cole Knuble
For the second time in this year’s draft, the Flyers selected a former NHLer’s son. Flyers fans should recognize the name. Cole Knuble, selected with the 103rd overall pick, is Mike Knuble’s son. The former Flyers winger played alongside Simon Gagne and Peter Forsberg on the “Deuces Wild” line back in the 2005-06 season.
As for Cole, he’s an overage prospect who was eligible for the draft last year and went undrafted. As a re-entry, he put in the work and had a strong season in a leadership role for Fargo in the USHL, scoring 30 goals and 66 points in 57 games.
Knuble feels like an ideal third or fourth-line player, someone who will deliver the physical goods and can still add some offensive prowess. Another high-motor, energy player who has a lot to work on, but could have the upside to eventually make an NHL lineup.
LW Alex Ciernik
The Flyers went with another upside play with the 120th overall pick. Alex Ciernik is a winger who split time between Swedish juniors and the professional level.
The standout in Ciernik’s game is his skating. He’s explosive and can weave his way through the defense and accelerate quickly to win battles to loose pucks. He’s also got skill that can make him a potential hit for a middle-round pick. It’s the type of swing you also take in the fourth round to see if you can find a gem that you weren’t expecting to be there.
D Carter Sotheran
With the 135th overall pick, the Flyers went back to the blue line with Carter Sotheran. Another right-handed shot defenseman, the WHL product with the Portland Winterhawks had four goals and 23 points in 68 games last season.
Another potential sleeper in the draft with a high upside, Sotheran is among the best transition players in the draft, using patience and skill to break out smoothly and move the puck quickly. The foundation of his game, at both ends of the ice, is more balanced, but also will take time to completely come to fruition. Much like others in this draft, he could be worth the wait.
C Ryan MacPherson
This is more of a longer play for the Flyers. Selected with the 172nd overall pick, Ryan MacPherson is still early in his development. He’s fresh off a season with 25 goals and 61 points in 49 games with the Leamington Flyers in the GOJHL. He’s set to join the Penticton Vees in the BCHL next season. Then he’ll head to the NCAA ranks to play for University of New Hampshire.
So there’s time for MacPherson to get on the radar even more.
D Matteo Mann
Listed at 6’6”, 230 pounds, this hulking defenseman can be an absolute menace on the ice. You can’t help but acknowledge the size of Matteo Mann, and when his physicality enters the game, the opposition remembers it.
While he’s a large body and a hard hitter, his skills are mostly raw and will require a lot of time before he ever makes it to the next level.
Kevin Durso is Flyers insider for 97.3 ESPN. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.
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