Monday, June 21, 2010

89th - Philadelphia Flyers Draft Preview

You have to respect the way the Flyers have resisted the urge to experiment with logo changes or alternate jerseys. This 3-D release is the biggest departure from the look that every hockey fan recognizes and it's obviously not a huge change at all. Philly has turned their crest into a brand and it's become one of the more recognizable ones in all of professional sports.

1st Pick Last Year: Adam Morrison (81st overall) – The expected starter for the Saskatoon Blades struggled enough this season that the team went out and acquired Steven Stanford from Prince Albert and the duo split the workload. Unfortunately for Morrison, his numbers were far weaker than Sanford’s and the latter got all the starts in the post season. Where does that leave Morrison for 2010-11?

The Good: Claude Giroux (22nd overall, 2006) – The former QMJHL standout has made a fast transition to the NHL and played a key role in helping get the Flyers to the Stanley Cup Finals this year. The Ontario native played three years with the Gatineau Olympiques, got to the 2008 Memorial Cup and then turned pro. He was a point per game player during his 33-game stint in the AHL. No one drafted after him in 2006 has more points-per-game percentage at the NHL level.

The Bad: Jacob DeSerres – (84th overall, 2008) – The goalie was with Seattle when Philly drafted him but he ended up with the Brandon Wheat Kings and was their starter this season as hosts of the Memorial Cup. Unfortunately, goaltending was the weakest link for the Wheaties and DeSerres was only slightly better than Andrew Hayes. The Flyers chose not to sign the Calgary-born netminder and his rights are now up for grabs once again.

The Unknown: Jonathan Matsumoto (79th overall, 2006) – After three productive seasons at Bowling Green and now three more on the farm, Matsumoto (photo below) has proven he can play the game at the professional level. The Ottawa native has two back-to-back 60-point campaigns with the Phantoms but has yet to get a sniff at the NHL level.

Coming Down the Pipe: Most of the Flyers top prospects have already cracked the NHL roster but there are still a few guys bubbling under the surface looking for their chance. Austrian Andreas Nodl and Patrick Maroon lead the forward crop, Kevin Marshall and Marc-Andre Bourdon feature on the back end. Netminder Joacim Eriksson might be the best of a large number of goalie prospects that also includes Adam Morrison and Nicola Riopel.

Draft Trends: The Flyers are money in the first round; Luca Sbisa, James van Riemsdyk, Claude Giroux and Steve Downie have all played in the NHL already and only JVR was a top 10 pick. The club has only drawn 4 players from the OHL since 2005, 5 from the WHL but 8 from the QMJHL. Philly has drafted 8 goalies over the last 5 years but none in the top 80 picks of any one draft.

2010 Prediction 89th overall:

Luke Curadi (Penticton) – The 6’5, 255 lb blueliner is headed to R.P.I. after scoring 17 points with the Penticton Vees of the BCHL. Curadi picked up 98 PIM in 58 games and is known for his physical play. Obviously, at the junior level he’s an imposing physical specimen but he may need a few years at the next level before he can step into the pro ranks.

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