The 2015 NHL draft commenced a few weeks ago. Many picks were made, some of them obvious, some of them shrewd, and some of them garnered a “what the fuck are you doing reaction” *cough* Don Sweeney from Boston Bruins *cough*.
A lot of the first round picks were obvious. Some of them were odd.
Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel were the easy top two picks. After that, with the third overall pick, it was a gaunlet between young, skilled players to choose from such as Dylan Strome, Noah Hanifin, Mitch Marner, Pavel Zacha, and more. Noah Hanifin I would say was the favourite to go third overall followed by Dylan Strome. The Arizona Coyotes probably think they have their franchise defenseman already in Oliver Ekman-Larsson and that Hanifin was not needed. The Carolina Hurricanes gladly took him.
I am here to tell you that the Phiadelphia Flyers in ten years from now will have made the best selection in this draft after the Oilers obvious first overall selection of Connor McDavid. It is obvious McDavid will be a star in this league. If he goes the way Nail Yakupov did to start off his career I believe the Oilers are truly cursed. McDavid will be in the Art Ross running for years to come. He will be a Calder trophy candidate next year.
Ivan Provorov will be the same in years but for defenseman; he will be talked about as a Norris trophy candidate. This is a guy who oozes hockey IQ that you simply can’t teach. In 60 games last year on the Brandon Wheat Kings in the WHL, he posted 61 points in 60 games with a plus 36 rating at 18 years old. The Wheat Kings were a top team in the WHL largely due to his presence rocking the first defensive pairing. Not only do his junior stats and film tape stand out, he is also put into the best position to succeed.
You see, the Philadelphia Flyers are a big market team that always want to be in the mix of things. There are few organizations I recall that have consistently iced a playoff team as they have in the last twenty years. Ron Hextall is doing good things as new general manager and he hired the right new head coach in Hakstol after a distastrous few seasons. They will no doubt be in the playoff hunt in another year or two like they have been for many years before. Meanwhile what were the teams actually drafted ahead of the Flyers?
Toronto Maple Leafs
New Jersey Devils
With the exception of the Devils, wait for it, wait… These organizations are all perennial failures and you can’t say otherwise until they do change things around. The Oilers are a tire fire and have been for years up until this year. They finally made the right personnel decisions by hiring Todd McLellan as head coach and Chiarelli as general manager.
The Sabres are on their way to becoming what the Oilers are. They intentionally tanked the last NHL season and didn’t even try denying it. Tim Murray is a moron and a half when you hear him talk to media. If that’s your general manager I feel pity for you. And the Ryan O’ Reilly contract where they got rid of some of their young core? Why Nikita Zadorov?
The Ariona Coyotes, yeah, a no brainer. They can’t spend to the cap and have to rely on drafting. With the exception of their 2009-2010 and 2011-2012 seasons, they haven’t have much luck and are trending downwards. Mike Smith hasn’t been the same since his hot 2012 season and more. A positive young core. We also must question if Dylan Strome is really a franchise changer or not. Strome, Max Domi, Larsson, and Anthony Duclair. A decent young core. But you have to wonder if Dave Tippett is the right coach to be coaching up young kids or not. You get where I’m going with this before I bash the Leafs and the Hurricanes.
A lot of these picks ahead of Provorov will also go back into their junior leagues next year. I can’t see many of them garnering roster spots besides Eichel and McDavid (obviously). Provorov should see playing time next year. I can’t count six defensemen on that team off the top of my head. They are so weak in that area that a top ten pick would suffice. I am all in on this kid.
Small, skilled forwards are a dime a dozen. Look at how Tyler Johnson went undrafted. A number one puck moving defenseman with a feel for the game is not something that comes along often. Provorov is the best defenseman taking in the last two drafts: after Aaron Ekblad of course.