DALLAS — The Flyers have the 14th and 19th picks in Friday’s opening round of a defense-dominated draft in Dallas.
Who will they select?
From here, it appears general manager Ron Hextall would like to trade up to around 7. If he does, I believe he’ll take Evan Bouchard, a right-handed defenseman with great upside. The 6-foot-2, 196-pound Bouchard has played three seasons in the Ontario Hockey League and may be NHL-ready. (I think Noah Dobson, another gifted righthanded defenseman, will be gone by No. 7.)
If Hextall can’t trade up, I see him taking speedy left winger Joel Farabee if he’s still available. The 6-foot, 162-pound Farabee is a great playmaker and scorer who has been compared to Jake Guentzel, who had 22 goals last season for the Penguins.
If Farabee is already gone, I think 6-5, 204-pound Serron Noel, who has size and is a good skater — or center Isac Lundestrom will be selected by the Flyers at 14. Russian RW Vitaly Kravtsov, who had a strong finish to his KHL season, is also a possibility.
With the 19th overall pick, look for Hextall to select a defenseman, and he may have a choice between Bode Wilde or Rasmus Sandin.
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Wilde shoots right-handed — a Flyers need — but Sandin, who is built like Kimmo Timonen and plays with his smarts, has the higher hockey IQ and that gives him the edge. The Flyers are very familiar with Sandin (5-11, 186) because he was teammates with their prize prospect, Morgan Frost, on Sault Ste. Marie in the Ontario Hockey League.
Bottom line: Flyers take Farabee 14th and Sandin 19th if they are available — and Hextall is unsuccessful moving up in the draft and getting defenseman Bouchard.
The first-round begins at 7:30 pm Friday and can be seen on NBCSN. Rounds 2-7 will be Saturday starting at 10 a.m. on NHL Network.