In case you were too busy gushing over Ben Simmons-to-the-Sixers to notice or care, the Flyers had their draft this past weekend as well. Reviews were almost entirely positive, although choosing 18th overall — then trading down to No. 22 — doesn't come with the same hype or excitement as some of the other recent first-round picks around here.
Perhaps it should. ESPN's Craig Custance looked at the five NHL teams that improved the most on draft weekend, ranking the Flyers third behind only Toronto and Calgary, who made the Nos. 1 and 6 picks, respectively. And if that wasn't enough, at least one scout felt the Flyers came away with the best overall haul of all.
When asked which team had the best draft weekend, a veteran scout didn’t even need the question to be finished before he answered.
“Philadelphia,” he said. “Hands down. He who gets the most best players wins. Philly was No. 1. Calgary and Carolina were tied for No. 2.”
The pick of German Rubtsov was a popular one among multiple executives.
“Rubtsov is a top-10 talent,” one NHL general manager said. “They got a good mix of skill and weighty players.”
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There's little debate Rubtsov was a major coup for the Flyers. Considered to be one of the best two-way forward in the draft, the Russian's fall was fueled largely by a doping scandal involving his under-18 club — although seemingly more because it limited scouts' opportunities to watch him play. It may be a couple years until he hits the states, but Rubtsov is a heck of a prospect.
The Flyers' draft net four more of the top 100 skaters in the draft according to Central Scouting, all forwards, including two more in the second round — Pascal Laaberge and Wade Allison. They also took this year's first goaltender, Carter Hart, No. 48 overall.
It sure sounds like the Flyers did well for themselves anyway, granted it's hard to say having never really seen any of these prospects. With that in mind, hearing a scout say this was easily the best draft class will suffice.
>> Five teams that improved most on draft weekend [Insider]