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Draft watch: Flyers could select European winger in first round

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Brent Flahr and Chuck Fletcher, Philadelphia Flyers
Assistant Brent Flahr (left), who runs the Philadelphia Flyers' draft, and GM Chuck Fletcher are preparing for the draft. Photo: Zack Hill.

For the Philadelphia Flyers, you could say playing the kids and losing is a win-win.

The Flyers will be integrating their lineup with more prospects in the season’s final month. Good for them.

Find out what the prospects can do and how far away they are from being NHL contributors.
If the influx of kids — they signed Noah Cates on Sunday and will soon sign Ronnie Attard, Bobby Brink, and maybe others — makes them less competitive in games, well, so be it. That only increases their odds in the draft lottery.
Speaking of which …
According to tankathon, the Flyers currently have a 7.6% chance of getting the top pick in the draft (presumably center Shane Wright) and a 7.9% chance of getting the No. 2 overall selection.
They have a 30% chance of selecting sixth, and a 43% chance of picking No. 7 overall.
The best prospects expected to be on the draft board at Nos. 6 and 7 are a pair of European wingers, Joakim Kemell and Juraj Slafkovsky, according to Brock Otten, director of scouting for McKeen’s Hockey.
Unlike many other NHL teams, the Flyers have not had much success in Europe, so maybe this is the year to start? GM Chuck Fletcher and assistant GM Brent Flahr, who runs the draft for the Philadelphia Flyers, will have some interesting choices.
The draft is scheduled for July 7-8, and here is Otten’s scouting report on the above two wingers:
Joakim Kemell, 5-11, 175-pound right winger, JyP (Fin-Liiga): 23 points (15-8) in 39 games.

He’s a potential high-end goal scorer whose biggest strength is his shot. He’s one of those quick-strike players. Quick feet, quick hands, really good shot. Early in the season, he was playing really well in the Finnish men’s league and was having one of the best seasons all-time for an under-20 player. But then an (undisclosed) injury occurred and he faltered a bit.

Juraj Slafkovsky, 6-4, 225-pound left winger, TPS (Fin-Liiga): 10 points (5-5) in 31 games.

A big power forward who combines speed, strength and skill. His ability to drive the net and work through traffic is really good. You look at him as someone who can dominate the middle of the ice at the NHL level. The biggest question is his vision and how well he sees the ice.

There is also an intriguing prospect at No. 8 overall:

Conor Geekie, 6-4, 205-pound center, Winnipeg (WHL): 62 points (20-42) in 56 games.

Another big kid who is a strong-two way player. He brings physicality and has a solid overall skill set. The big drawback for him is his skating. So do you think that the skating can get to the point that he can play at the NHL level? That will be the big thing – improving those first few strides to be more explosive.

Flahr and Fletcher have made some solid picks in their three drafts with the Flyers, and their selections include defensemen Cam York, Attard, and Emil Andrae, and wingers Brink, Tyson Foerster, Bryce Brodzinski, Zayde Wisdom, Elliott Desnoyers, and Samu Tuomaala.

Breakaways

The Flyers will finish their five-game road trip Tuesday in Minnesota, which has won six straight. The Wild are coming off a 3-2 overtime win over powerful Colorado. Former Flyer Cam Talbot made 40 saves for Minny. … Minnesota’s Ryan Hartman, another former Flyer, collected his 27th goal and 50th point. … Cates will wear No. 49 for the Flyers.

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