The Philadelphia Flyers left many scratching their heads after the 2013 NHL draft. With the 11th overall pick, they drafted Samuel Morin, a 6-foot-7, 17-year-old defenseman built like Chris Pronger. Morin was projected to be drafted in the second round, and the Flyers utilizing such a high pick on him surprised many.
In the second round, the Flyers drafted Robert Hagg, another defenseman, with the 41st overall pick. Ironically, Hagg was projected higher than Morin in pre-draft rankings, with many believing he would go in the first round.
Whereas Morin is expected to emulate Pronger, Hagg resembles Kimmo Timonen in many aspects of his game. At 6-foot-2, Hagg has a few inches on the 5-foot-10 Timonen, but both have similarly powerful and accurate slapshots. He’s offensive-minded with great goal-scoring abilities.
More important than his offensive skills is the confidence Hagg possess on the ice, a manner which is extremely similar to that of Timonen’s. Timonen is the definition of calm while playing, as he’s always making smart defensive plays and well-planned passes. He serves as a leader while on the ice, and his presence affects his fellow players positively.
In Hagg, the Flyers have drafted a player with similar attributes to Timonen, perhaps the greatest Finn to play on the blueline to date. Unfortunately, he won’t be NHL-ready for a number of years, and it’s widely expected that Timonen will retire at the conclusion of the 2013-2014 season, although it isn’t certain.
With any luck, Hagg will learn quickly, and the Flyers will be lucky to have a homegrown defender with the skill Timonen possesses.