DALLAS – The Flyers selected three centers, three defensemen, a left winger, and a goalie during the two-day NHL draft that ended Saturday in Dallas.
For the first time in franchise history, they did not draft a Canadian.
“I know. I’m hearing it at my table,” said general manager Ron Hextall, smiling, after choosing five Americans and three Swedes. “U.S. hockey is growing, and in terms of Canada, the Western League this year was really weak. That’s kind of where I take my pride from because that’s where I’m from. … Next year looks like a good year for the West. These are some of the cycles that go on.”
Here is a look at the Flyers’ eight selections:
- Joel Farabee LW (6-0, 162 pounds): Chosen in the first round with the 14th overall pick, the speedy Farabee is a strong two-way player who is headed to Boston University. Ranked 13th by the Hockey News, he had 15 goals and 40 points in 26 USHL games. Projects as a top-six player in the Flyers’ lineup down the road.
- Jay O’Brien C (5-11, 185): Another first-round selection (19th overall), O’Brien was a bit of a gamble this high in the draft. He was rated as the 61st best prospect by the Hockey News. Hextall loves his upside. O’Brien, who is headed to Providence College, had 80 points in 30 high school games last season at Thayer Academy. Hextall called him a smart player who “has a little agitator in him.”
- Adam Ginning D (6-3, 196): A prototypical stay-at-home defenseman who is a Robert Hagg-type player, the 18-year-old Ginning played against men in the Swedish Hockey League and had a goal and an assist in 28 games, and he has one year left on his contract. He was selected 50th overall – 10 spots later than the Hockey News had him ranked.
- Jack St. Ivany D (6-3, 198): Hextall didn’t get one of the big-name right-handed defensemen like Noah Dobson or Adam Boqvist, so he had to settle for the right-handed St. Ivany, who has committed to Yale. The California native had 36 points and a plus-2 rating in 54 USHL games last season. He was picked in the fourth round (112th overall).
- Wyatte Wylie D (6-1, 192): Hextall selected another right-handed defenseman with his first pick in the fifth round (127th overall). The Washington state native played on Everett in the Western Hockey League – he had 31 points and a plus-12 rating — and he kidded he was the reason his goaltender, Flyers mega-prospect Carter Hart, has won so many awards.
- Samuel Ersson G (6-2, 176): The Swede became the sixth goalie the Flyers have chosen over the last four drafts. Ranked seventh among European goalies by NHL Central Scouting, Ersson was taken with the Flyers’ second pick (143rd overall) of the fifth round. He had a 2.53 GAA and .920 save percentage last season for Bynas’ junior team.
- Gavin Hain C (5-11, 194): Drafted in the sixth round (174th overall), the Minnesota native is committed to attend the University of North Dakota, the school where Dave Hakstol used to be the head coach. He had 15 goals and 35 points in 61 games last season with the U.S. National U18 team. Hain is known for his rugged play.
- Marcus Westfalt C (6-3, 203): The third Swede selected by the Flyers in the draft, Westfalt had four points in 31 games in the Swedish Hockey League after collecting 27 points (12 goals) on Sweden’s junior level. Westfalt (seventh round, 205th overall), who was Ersson’s teammate, is a solid defensive player, but, by his own admission, has to improve “my game with the puck.”