Will the Flyers Trade Up, Make a Big Splash on Draft Day As Well?

Will the Flyers Trade Up, Make a Big Splash on Draft Day As Well?

Kudos to the 76ers for embracing a long-term vision at the NBA Draft on Thursday night. The rebuilding effort will be long and at times painful, but honestly it can’t be any worse than the long and frequently painful death march to mediocrity we’ve become accustomed to from Sixers basketball.

It’s not often the Sixers steal the spotlight in Philadelphia, but it’s safe to say they’ve done exactly that with a shakeup nobody could have seen coming. The NHL selection process is right around the corner now though – on Sunday to be exact – and the Flyers are no stranger to blockbuster moves on draft day themselves.

Will Paul Holmgren try to one-up Sam Hinkie?

The Flyers aren’t likely to make any trades that change the very face of the franchise this weekend. The plan as of now is to extend Claude Giroux’s contract, while Brayden Schenn and Sean Couturier are supposedly “untouchable” as the building blocks of the team's young nucleus.

That doesn’t necessarily mean Homer is necessarily content to pick at No. 11, either. While the Flyers’ GM says he is willing to take the best player available in their current slot, it sounds like what he would really like to do is come away from the draft with an "franchise player" – somebody who could contribute at the NHL level immediately.

And yes, Holmgren is ready to trade up to accomplish that goal – perhaps as high as into the top four picks. Tim Panaccio has more:

Trades have become a common occurrence at the draft with the Flyers. What the scouts wouldn’t mind is moving higher to get into “impact” territory.

“You have to be prepared to do anything if the right thing comes up,” Holmgren said. “Every day there is more and more talk around the league. I’ve talked to more guys in the last few days. There is certainly potential for movement of picks up and down. I think some teams are looking to trade their pick for the right player.”

Again, all Holmgren would say was he feels he needs to get higher than seventh to find an impact player.

“Where we are at, we’ll get a good player at 11,” he said. “If we can move higher, and get into the guys you really like who you feel are franchise players, you probably got to get up to the top four.”

No. 4 is a long way up, so it’s unclear what the Flyers would have to send back in a swap. As long as Schenn and Couturier are untouchable, there aren’t many players left on the roster who are both expendable and enticing to the moribund franchises picking at the top. Does it take a package that involves future first-round picks to get it done?

Then there’s a question of whether or not teams are even looking to trade out of those spots.

And just who might the Flyers be targeting up there? Holmgren insists he will take the best player available, but acknowledges this a deep draft for defensemen, a clear position of need. The only blueliner going in the top six in a lot of mocks is Seth Jones, and he probably won’t slip past Florida with the second choice overall.

Perhaps they’re not looking to get into the top four at all. It’s no secret the Flyers really like D-man Darnell Nurse, nephew of Donovan McNabb. He may not be available at 11 however, so they could consider moving up just a few spots to snag him, especially if he is climbing up draft boards.

Of course, there's no rule that says they have to trade up and go D, either.

One thing is almost for certain, and that is the Flyers will not have a quiet draft. We’ll just have to wait and see what that means exactly.

>> Flyers still plan to draft best available at 11 [CSN]

Flyers' loss changes complexion after questionable penalty on Radko Gudas

Flyers' loss changes complexion after questionable penalty on Radko Gudas

There are good penalties. And bad penalties. And penalties which aren’t even penalties.

The last one would perfectly describe Radko Gudas’ hip check on Miles Wood that was whistled as clipping by referee Dan O’Halloran in the second period.

Even Wood was laughing as Gudas went to the box, realizing what a break he had gotten – a power play for nothing.

“He’s a pretty quick D-man,” Wood said. “I don’t think it should have been a call, but it was a good hit by him.”

That gave the Devils a power play. Then, when Wayne Simmond argued the call with O'Halloran, Simmonds drew two minutes for unsportsmanlike conduct. The resulting 5-on-3 New Jersey power play saw the Devils score to break a 1-1 tie.

Minutes later, the Flyers had a bad line change and it was 3-1. Game over. The Devils would go on to win, 4-1 (see game story).

Bottom line? The Gudas call changed everything.

“I was really surprised,” Gudas said. “I didn’t think it was a penalty at all.”

Is this oversimplifying the game to say everything changed with that one call?

“Are we really simplifying it?” Gudas asked. “I think that after those calls we have to get together as a group and make sure we kill these off. Unfortunately, we let them score on that power play. It was just unlucky.”

Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol called it “an excellent hit” by Gudas. He wouldn’t go deeper than that.

The six muffed power plays gave him enough reason to believe the Flyers could have gotten back in it. His Flyers are 3-9-3 since winning 10 games.

You can’t underestimate how those two calls turned the tables on the Flyers in this game.

“Everyone has their own opinion on the hit and we were obviously frustrated on the hit,” Travis Konecny said. “We thought it was a clean hit and we reacted to it. We have everyone’s backs.

“We have all had the one’s where we are angry with the ref and the one who made a hit like that. There is a time for that moment there.”

Goalie Michal Neuvirth thought it was a difference maker.

“Oh, absolutely, we were playing better in the second period,” he said. “I thought we had a momentum. You know stuff like that 5-on-3 for two minutes, it’s tough to defend.

“I think it’s taking way too many penalties lately and you got to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Best of NHL: Lee scores 2 power-play goals, Islanders beat Kings

Best of NHL: Lee scores 2 power-play goals, Islanders beat Kings

NEW YORK -- The New York Islanders are on quite a nice roll.

Anders Lee scored two power-play goals to lead the Islanders to a 4-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday night, giving New York its third straight win and fourth in the last five games.

"We've been keeping it simple of late," said Lee, who has four goals in two games against the Kings this season. "We've been getting shots on net and being more effective. I'll do my thing down low."

John Tavares had a goal and an assist, Jason Chimera also scored and Jean-Francois Berube stopped 34 shots to earn his first win in his third start of the season (see full recap).

Hartnell snaps tie as Blue Jackets beat Carolina 3-2
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The Blue Jackets would just as soon forget the second period of Saturday's game, when the Carolina Hurricanes rallied from a 2-0 deficit to tie it.

Columbus didn't play much better in the third but withstood 15 shots and killed three penalties. Midway through, Scott Hartnell scored his second goal of the game , and the Blue Jackets beat Carolina 3-2.

Columbus got the win despite being outshot 37-20.

Hartnell scored in the first period and then netted the tiebreaker, helping the Blue Jackets overcome a horrendous second period - in which they managed only two shots on goal - to beat Carolina for the second time this week (see full recap).

Beagle scores in overtime, Capitals beat Stars 4-3
DALLAS -- Jay Beagle scored 19 seconds into overtime and the Washington Capitals rallied to beat the Dallas Stars 4-3 on Saturday night.

Evgeny Kuznetsov skated behind the net and put the puck in front to Beagle. His wrist shot beat goalie Kari Lehtonen, who got tangled with a defender and lost his footing.

The Stars led 3-1 and didn't allow Washington a power play until the third period, but then Alex Ovechkin and T.J. Oshie scored with the man advantage in the first 5:26 of the period.

Adam Cracknell and Jamie Benn scored for Dallas on plays that originally were ruled no goal. Patrick Eaves had a goal and an assist for the Stars (see full recap).

Bogosian scores in overtime, Sabres edge Canadiens 3-2
MONTREAL -- The Sabres couldn't score from in close on All-Star goalie Carey Price late in regulation Saturday night.

So Zach Bogosian teed it up from a ways out in overtime to lift Buffalo.

Bogosian scored his first goal of the season in overtime and the Sabres beat the Montreal Canadiens 3-2 in the second game of a back-to-back for both teams.

Buffalo nearly broke through against Price near the end of the third period. Price made a pad save on Matt Moulson on a breakaway at 19:40, and then with six seconds remaining, he robbed Rasmus Ristolainen with a windmill glove save (see full recap).