Now that the World Championships is over, the Philadelphia Flyers really need to start gearing up for the 2013 NHL draft. We’ve talked about some key defenseman and we’ve dissected the Flyers best options at the forward position, but let’s look back to the team’s picks from last year. More specifically, let’s look at the team’s top two picks from last year and analyze their performance.
Scott Laughton was drafted in the first round (20th overall) of the 2012 draft by the Flyers. With the team struggling defensively, fans were not happy to get another forward. However, the Flyers’ philosophy is to draft the best player, not necessarily the one they need. They also believe that defensemen mature as players later in their careers, which is why the team likes to find blueliners through free agency and trades.
Laughton had a pretty good year. He was put on the roster after training camp and played in the first five games of the season. He was only sent back to the OHL so his entry-level contact didn’t get eaten up. Had their been a full 82-game season, he might have gotten a spot on the roster. In his five games, he didn’t get on the scoreboard but he wasn’t afraid to take shots on goal. He also got a surprising amount of ice time for an incoming rookie.
Laughton returned to the Oshawa Generals but he was called up to the Adirondack Phantoms for six games at the end of the season. He’s on the right track and we’ll have to see how he does at this year’s training camp to see if he gets a permanent spot on the roster.
The Flyers traded up in the second round to acquire the 15th pick and drafted goaltender Anthony Stolarz (45th overall). This season, Stolarz has been playing with the London Knights of the OHL. He’s doing okay this season and could be a starter goalie for the Flyers in years to come. The Knights are currently in the running for the Mastercard Memorial Cup and headed into their fourth game of the tournament against the Portland Winterhawks on Monday. It looked like Stolarz wasn’t going to see any ice time in the tournament; but when his goalie partner got the flu, he proved himself by leading his team to victory against the Saskatoon Blades.
Drafting this goalie was a good move on the Flyers part because they may need to call him up if the goaltending gets really bad. Which is entirely possible. In his 20 games with the Knights this season, Stolarz’s record was 13-3-1 with a goals against average of 2.29 and a save percentage of .920. His record has also been pretty consistent in the 13 playoff-games he’s been in.
Both these picks turned out to work well for the Flyers. With some more development, we’ll see these two on the ice in the next few seasons. Considering that Laughton has already been on the ice in a Flyers uniform, he will definitely make the roster cut again.