NHL Draft Preview: Top Targets for Flyers
It's draft time for the Flyers, as they put the 14th and 19th overall picks to use on Friday night in the first round of the 2018 NHL Draft.
For several weeks, there have been discussions of the best prospects available and potential fits for the Flyers. Throughout the week, we have been previewing some of these prospects.
With the NHL Draft getting underway in a few hours, here are six targets for the Flyers with their two first-round picks.
Joel Farabee - The Flyers have talked about centers and defensemen in this draft, so a natural left winger may not be their primary target. But if they are going with the best player available at 14th, Joel Farabee might just be that guy, position aside.
Farabee is the playmaking winger the team has desired for several years and has the two-way skills to be a solid NHL player. His upside makes him an attractive pick and he checks off many of the boxes the Flyers are looking for regarding smarts, character and work ethic.
Barrett Hayton - The belief is that Hayton won't make it to 14, but if he should be there, the Flyers would certainly be a fit. Hayton was a teammate of Morgan Frost, and if not for Frost was one of the Greyhounds better players with 21 goals and 60 points in 63 games.
Another player with good offensive instincts and two-way ability, Hayton fits the mold of an all-around center with scoring potential that the Flyers sure sound like they are targeting.
Martin Kaut - Again, Kaut is a scoring winger option for the Flyers who got some great experience in the Czech leagues and with Czech Republic at World Juniors. He's a shifty player with good footwork and creativity offensively that allows him to create opportunities to score and set up teammates. Like Farabee, this is a playmaking option for the wing.
Kaut also noted that among his numerous interviews at the Combine, the best in his opinion were with the Flyers and Rangers. Kaut wasn't able to participate physically at the Combine due to a heart condition that required surgery but won't affect his playing career. But with that in mind, he may not be as high on the draft boards anymore, making him a possible target for the Flyers at 19.
Noah Dobson - Ron Hextall specifically mentioned right-handed defenseman as an area he wanted to address. Dobson is going to go in the Top 10, but if it's getting closer to the 10th overall pick and there's a path to trade up, the Flyers may have to explore it.
Dobson got great exposure at the Memorial Cup with champion Acadie-Bathurst and the Flyers have some familiarity with German Rubtsov playing for Acadie-Bathurst and Sean Couturier's father Sylvain serving as the team's general manager. Dobson has a great offensive skillset with good mobility and instincts, but also is reliable on the back end with his two-way ability. He's a valuable player who could be off the board very early or coveted by a lot of teams in a trade-up scenario.
K'Andre Miller - Miller is not the right-handed option Hextall is looking for, but he has a lot of the same skills with good two-way ability, mobility and a physical edge that isn't found much in this draft class.
Miller has a lot of shutdown instincts but isn't an offensive liability, moving the puck well and capable of making things happen on breakout plays. He also has good vision and makes quick and crisp passes.
He would require a little bit of development, but he's not a complete work in progress and has a good foundation to be a solid second or third pairing defenseman in a shutdown role while still being able to jump in the play.
Ty Smith - It's tough to say if Smith will go early and or later in the first round, but he's got some great areas of his game. Smith is a smart defenseman with excellent skating ability and good puck skills, able to protect the puck and make smart outlets.
He's very reliable in his own zone, has the ability to be mobile and jump into the play and has solid offensive instincts that helped him be a key contributor with Spokane last season, scoring 14 goals and posting 73 points in 69 games.
He has to improve on his size, fitting the mold of the smaller, mobile defenseman, but with the way the league has trended to defensemen with this ability, he fits right in and will be able to make an impact at the NHL level.
Kevin Durso is Flyers editor for SportsTalkPhilly.com. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.