Three sixth-round targets for Philadelphia Flyers in 2021
Now we come to the exciting part of finding rough diamonds. Over the course of the five rounds, just about every position has been counted except for a goalie. In the sixth round, there are a lot of targets that fit the Philadelphia Flyers’ bill.
Pending the circumstances of a potential trade for a top pair defenseman, the Philadelphia Flyers may have to double down. A current prospect will surely be part of a packed trade, with at least one other player. Oh, don’t forget the obvious first-round pick in 2021.
Due to the impending potential trade, Chuck Fletcher must find the best available player for each round he has a selection to make. This draft runs deep with defenders, and I’ve described a few potential forwards who could develop a great career. It’s all about rebuilding the system after an expansion and, perhaps, a trade for a top pair defender. Missing out on a first-round pick if Fletcher trades for players like Seth Jones, Mattias Ekholm or Dougie Hamilton limits opportunities for organic growth through the draft.
The only way the Flyers can retool and hold on is to have a good draw. Here are three targets Philadelphia should note in the sixth round:
(For rounds 1-5: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
Standing at 5’8 ″ and 154 pounds from the Flint Firebirds, Braeden Kressler is an OHL middle center who hasn’t played since 2019-20, before pandemic hockey.
Many players who did not sign an entry contract into the NHL from the OHL missed competitive hockey in 2020-21. It will work against them in the 2021 NHL Draft, but it will depreciate value more than it should. Without a recent season to spot, players who are better than recency bias admits will be available in rounds six and seven.
Kressler finished second among all Firebirds freshmen for team score in 2019-2020. His balanced approach, collecting eighteen points (9G, 9A), could offer a good hand on the fourth line. Remarkably, he finished with a mark of plus sixteen. When Kressler is on the ice, his line plays hard.
A strong skater with a good shot, Kressler is an underrated scoring threat. His puck protection is an area for improvement, but he’s devious and able to cut through defenses with his speed. Kressler is a solid choice in the sixth round who could be left out of the table in the fifth if another franchise sees him as a solution to a team need. He will be a draft player in the AHL long before an NHL opportunity arises. Ian Laperriere will have his fingerprints throughout his evolution as a disciple of the Alain Vigneault system.
Standing at 5’9 ″ and 163lbs from the Victoriaville Tigers, Nicolas Daigle is not the son of former Tigre and future Philadelphia Flyer Alexandre Daigle.
Coincidentally, Nicolas follows in Alexander’s footsteps. He won’t be one of the top picks overall in 2021, but where he could play in the NHL is still the same.
A left-handed center, Daigle is considered a smart striker in all situations. Already, he speaks the language of Alain Vigneault. Daigle had a breakout season in half the time of his 2019-20 campaign. Previously, he had scored fifteen points in 61 games with a plus-five rating. In 2020-2021, Daigle played 26 games, scoring 24 points (9G, 15A) with a differential of over fifteen.
Offensively, Daigle is a playmaker before being a scorer. It’s a trend for him in the QMJHL. If this season indicates how his development will progress, this is a sixth-round steal for the Flyers. He’s a sleeping prospect who could thrive in the AHL and contribute to Philadelphia when called up.
Standing 6’1 ″ and 187lbs behind Dinamo-Molodechno, Alexei Kolosov deserves a selection now that the depth of the Philadelphia Flyers goaltender is a giant question mark.
Think how much money the Flyers could save by not counting on signing a replacement goalie at Carter Hart outside of the independent agency market. Brian Elliott is almost 36 years old and Alex Lyon appears to be halfway between the AHL starter and the NHL marginal replacement. Felix Sandstrom is a questionable option, especially when Kirill Ustimenko missed the 2020-2021 season and Samuel Ersson recently signed an entry-level deal.
Jonas Johansson was a goaltender Philadelphia could have targeted in free agency, but he decided to sign a one-year extension with the Colorado Avalanche. Ivan Fedotov’s bleak future offers Hart no relief. Since all of these factors come into play, Chuck Fletcher might be wise to try his luck with Kolosov. In nine KHL matches with Dinamo Minsk, Kolosov has allowed 2.69 goals on average and a save percentage of 91.1%.
In a brilliant game of chess with Ron Francis, Fletcher could show he is the brightest GM in the sixth round. Kolosov’s selection could deprive the Seattle Kraken of another goalie in their system on draft day. Kolosov is a goalkeeper who finds his rhythm as he sees more shots. He’s ideal in a rotation with Hart, given his history as a plug-and-play goalie in the KHL. Kolosov is unlikely to be on the board in the sixth round, making him the choice of choice for any franchise looking for a goalie like Philadelphia.
Photo credit: Alex McIntyre