On The Clock: Florida Panthers and Philadelphia Flyers

Annually on draft week or draft day, we post an article on the likely candidates for selection of the first few picks of both the Panthers and Flyers. This year we are combining the posts into one–as at 14th overall Philadelphia greatly impacts what Florida can do just after at 15. Another wrinkle to the complexity of predicting likely outcomes for the two teams is Ron Hextall. The Flyers GM holds two picks Friday night (14 & 19) and a top 3 prospect pool with depth at all positions. Philadelphia is in the position to step in any direction on the draft floor.

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Picks 1-13…

Dahlin, Svechnikov are Sharpie®-d in at first and second overall. Montreal will likely draft a center or trade back. Should they keep the pick, Tkachuck would be my bet. That’s Montreal Typical to steal a phrase from Peter Laviolette.

Zadina is rumored to slip to 5 or 6 and both Florida and Philadelphia should act like gangbusters to get in on that action. Philadelphia is better positioned to take advantage of the chance, but FLA did just surprise everyone with Hoffman and do not appear finished.

The draft is focused on offensive defenseman, and a run of them should start anywhere from 3 to 8. I’d expect Hughes to go first aggregating all the media thoughts but Dobson is a good bet, Smith would be my pick, and I still think Wilde is the wild(e ) card D some teams love. Hextall jumped for Morin and Sanheim previously (to mixed results) and he or another GM could be thinking similar.

Dahlin, Svechnikov, Tkachuck, Zadina, Hughes, Wahlstrom, Kotkaniemi, Dobson, Bouchard. These are the nine players 95-100% likely to be off the board in any scenario come picks 14 and 15. Hayton, Kravtsov, Boqvist, Veleno are also probables but some may be considered below.

This post assumes no trading happens (just like the Mock draft in the draft guide – direct download link).

Whyhockey’s unpaid West Coast Head of Scouting, Trev @PrecariousPhoto believes Chicago at 8th overall is a prime target to fall back. Could Florida move 15th and forward Owen Tippett to move up? Or would they rather target Edmonton’s 10th overall. Every year we hear a variety of teams offer up serious consideration on trading their top 10 picks. Every year I get my hope up. May this year be the year!

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For the tables below, “Likely Pick” is pretty self explanatory. “Sleeper” may not always be someone who is picked 20-30 picks early but could just be someone not usually thought of in that spot, or for that team. “Slippers” are not luxurious footwear. Rather Slippers are prospects who more than not will already be selected by that pick but could just fall.

Flyers – 14th overall 


Likely Pick Sleepers Slippers

Rasmus Kupari

Jesse Ylonen Ty Smith

Dominik Bokk

Kirill Marchenko Adam Boqvist

Vitali Kravtsov

Bode Wilde Barrett Hayton


The introduction laid out Hextall’s leverage behind his poker face on Friday. Two picks, and well stocked pond, Hextall is one of a few GMs picking in lottery that is not expecting his prospect to make the NHL for a few years. Or, at least, they have the time to give. This leads me to believe they will take one of the forwards Whyhockey believes have the best top end potential down the road.

The Pick – Rasmus Kupari C/W Liiga

Rasmus Kupari (C) and Dominik Bokk (W) likely represent the best chance to walk away with the best forward in the draft beyond Svechnikov and Zadina. Hextall has a pick at 19, and understands that a few other players high on his list will be available five picks later. It would be foolish to risk Kupari or Bokk getting away to draft a Joel Farabee or prospect that most likely tops out on second line, a prospect Flyers have in spades. Kupari, over Bokk, offers the most security as well. Kupari can be a center or winger, is a much more rounded player and has proven himself at a higher level for a longer time.

Should any prospects fall past the double New York Islanders pick, Philadlephia would likely prioritize them over Kupari or Bokkk. Boqvist could be one of those players. The Swedish defender has seemingly lost some traction since the prospects stopped playing games. Barrett Hayton may not be a traditional prospect who drops, in the sense that he is not a traditional Top 10 pick. But late hype and Philly’s many scouting trips to the Soo to watch Hayton’s similarly packaged Morgan Frost make it possible that if Hayton does make it to 14, Philly could have interest. That is asentence I can not believe I typed. Hayton Top 15…

For Florida fans that have not skipped ahead, the double NYI picks at 11 and 12, and PHI right ahead of FLA means that there should be little expectation of picking up a prospect who falls through the ranks. Anything is possible, but it looks bleak at the moment without trading up.

Panthers – 15th overall


Likely Pick Sleepers Slippers

Dominik Bokk

Jesse Ylonen Rasmus Kupari

Grigori Denisenko

Kirill Marchenko Joseph Veleno

Jacob Olofsson

Bode Wilde Vitali Kravtsov


A lot of chatter on Panthers twitter about Kravtsov, a player I like. However, Kravtsov’s myth at the moment may be better than the prospect and he’s likely to go too early. Even if available, I’d still prefer Kupari, Bokk, Denisenko, and Olofsson to Kravtsov–though Kravtsov would get no guff from me if selected 15th. Why? I think those prospects have another level to their ceilings than Kravtsov.

The Pick – Dominik Bokk W SuperElit

My gut tells me that Florida selects Russian sniper Grigori Denisenko — really A-Okay. Maybe that is because of the recent surge of Russians into FLA. But their recent draft selections of high end, raw scoring talent is a narrative that might dwarf the more recent Russian record. Bokk rates higher on draft day compared to Henrik Borgstrom on his draft day. The main reason for this is Bokk is a half year younger with a more developed game and higher level of play. That should get some excited about the talent level Bokk possesses.

Kupari is a bias hope/pick for us at Whyhockey but makes sense. Beyond Barkov and Trocheck the Panthers have no Top 6 center options. Borgstrom and Aleksi Heponiemi are options but most likely fit in as wingers. Jon Ang has skill but is maybe more 3C option at best. Denis Malgin, Jared McCann, Nick Bjugstad, Frank Vatrano are all centers but not all should be center or should be counted on to cover those duties.

Florida could even trade back deeper into the first and stock back up on picks. Would Detroit trade for 15th for some or all of their seconds? Maybe Montreal would? It is possible and pragmatic. They also could upset the apple cart (the apple cart being my analysis) and draft a defender. While if Boqvist or Smith fall I wouldn’t hate it, taking a defender like Wilde or a typical mid first round defender would be leaving value on the table. In a draft where most teams before 15 will be picking off defender talent, the top of the forward list will stay intact. Take the prospect with more potential and better history fo panning out (both in recent team history and in general league history).

Flyers – 19th overall


Likely Pick Sleepers Slippers

Grigori Denisenko

Jesse Ylonen Isac Lundestrom

Rasmus Sandin

Jonatan Berggren Joseph Veleno

Ryan Merkley

Akil Thomas Joel Farabee


This is a difficult pick to assess. Hextall is not the easiest guy to read on the best day. With the second pick of the first round and no real pressure or need, the world is his oyster.

The Pick – Grigori Denisenko

Denisenko should make it through to 19 if he does not get selected at 15. Colorado and New Jersey will likely have some good defenders to choose from, and in there spot it would make sense value-wise and prospect pool wise to select a defender. Columbus has been a big reach team in the first pick last two years with Dubois and Texier, and they are happy with both so possible another off board pick this year.

Denisenko plays fast, is a solid play maker but eats off his shot. High volume, high accuracy, Denisenko turns 18 on Sunday.  Sharp shooter potential but may round out to be even more than that.

I’d expect this pick to be traded, in some form. To move up, to get a roster player, to move back add some picks where they do not have any. Though, if Hextall likes a guy it would make little sense to not take him. Again, no pressure or need for this pick to be anything at the end of the day, and that is a freeing feeling. Farabee and Sandin are my two other serious contenders here. Sandin is underrated, especially with who is being considered for first round selection on the blueline higher and lower in the round.

Florida – 34th Overall


Likely Pick Sleepers Slippers

Kirill Marchenko

Liam Foudy Filip Hallander

Alexander Khovanov

Ruslan Iskhakov Rasmus Sandin

K'Andre Miller

Nils Lundkvist Akil Thomas


This one should be an “easy” pick to make. After Round 1, the Cats will be the third pick on day two and have time to prepare. It is likely they will have a short list of plans for the pick and will choose the best remaining one when FLA gets on the clock. The 34th pick feels safe from trade after 4th and 5th picks went in the Hoffman trade. However, never say never. FLA will likely add a pick or two but may be moving all over the board to get the total value they want by the end of both days.

The Pick – Kirill Marchenko LW MHL

Marchenko is highly sought after. Other than a KHL contract and an off year production wise in the MHL , Marchenko is a first rounder. But that may just be enough for the player to be there at 34. At 34, FLA should be trying to find one of the few true first round prospects that fell through the cracks for whatever reason day one. It always happens, and smart teams in the early thirties snatch them up. Florida has the Russian connection to embed him into the team, and the time to wait for the KHL contract to end.

Filip Hallander is a realistic Slipper. Some scouting outfits and teams have him rated in the mid twenties at the highest. Given the uncertainty and movement expected in the Top 10 let alone Top 25, Hallander could be a forgotten gem. Liam Foudy is a Robert Thomas, Josh Norris, Colin White-esque center who could easily be a top rated prospect this time next year.

I do not expect this to be the last pick until the 6th round for FLA. Alex Petrovic, Mark Pysysk, Nick Bjugstad, James Reimer, Jared McCann (RFA), and Frank Vatrano (RFA) would be realistic roster players that could go in return for a package containing pick or picks.

Flyers – 50th Overall


Likely Pick Sleepers Slippers

Calen Addison

Pavel Gogolev Serron Noel

Sampo Ranta

Albin Eriksson Mattias Samuelsson

Ty Dellandrea

Nicolas Beaudin Jett Woo


The Pick – Albin Eriksson W SuperElit

Philadelphia can wait a long while for this pick and take some chances that aren’t listed above. But Eriksson is a good fit. Wayne Simmonds is out the door soon and though Eriksson wouldn’t be jumping in right away, Flyers (if they lack anything) could use to backfill that role. Matthew Strome was a similar pick in 2017, and has paid off well. Eriksson is not much of a stretch at 50 and last year, Hextall took Frost and Isaac Ratcliffe higher than expected between 25 and 60, so precedent is there.

Pavel Gogolev is a favorite of mine. The Petes graduate a lot of NHL players, and Gogolev produced pretty well for one of the weakest teams scoring wise. I also like Sampo Ranta and feel 40s or 50s is right where he will go. Both players have goal scoring potential and a lot of molding/shaping left. A good proposition for a team excellent in developing toolsets lately.

Remaining Picks

Philadelphia does not pick until the middle of the 4th round, and Florida is waiting all the way until the 6th. Here are prospects both teams could target.


Carl Wassenius C

Mathias Emilio Pettersen C

Christian Lindberg D

Jared McIsaac D

Mac Hollowell D

Milos Roman F

Jacob Ragnarsson D


Demid Mansurov C

Sean Durzi D

Slava Demin D

Yegor Sokolov F

Alex Steeves F

Akira Schmid G

Cameron Hillis F

Alexei Melnichuk G



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