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]

Best of NBA: Davis' 50 points not enough in Pelicans' loss to Nuggets

Best of NBA: Davis' 50 points not enough in Pelicans' loss to Nuggets

NEW ORLEANS -- Jusuf Nurkic scored 23 points, Will Barton added 22, and the Denver Nuggets survived a dominant performance by Anthony Davis to defeat the New Orleans Pelicans 107-102 in both teams' regular season opener Wednesday night.

Davis had 50 points, 16 rebounds, seven steals, five assists and four blocks. His production helped New Orleans trim a deficit as large as 14 late in the second quarter down to two points in the waning minutes. He simply didn't have enough help.

The rest of the Pelicans combined to shoot 21 of 58. Tim Frazier scored 15 for the Pelicans. E'Twaun Moore added 10 points, but missed a 3-point attempt that could have tied it with 24 seconds left.

Danilo Gallinari scored 15 for Denver and Wilson Chandler added 12 points (see full recap).

Celtics top Nets in Horford's home debut
BOSTON -- Isaiah Thomas had 25 points and nine assists, Jae Crowder added 21 points and Al Horford pitched in 11 in his Boston debut on Wednesday night as the Celtics survived a late scare to beat the Brooklyn Nets 122-117 in their season opener.

Bojan Bogdanovic scored 21 for Brooklyn, including a 3-pointer to make it 120-117 with 47 seconds left after the Nets erased most of a 23-point deficit against the Boston bench. But he missed one with a chance to tie it after Joe Harris intercepted Thomas' cross-court pass, and the Celtics were able to hold on.

Justin Hamilton came off the bench to score 19 points and grab 10 rebounds for the Nets in coach Kenny Atkinson's debut (see full recap).

Turner's opening act leads Pacers past Mavs in OT
INDIANAPOLIS -- Myles Turner scored 30 points, tied his career high with 16 rebounds and made a 3-pointer with 1:18 left in overtime to start an 8-0 run that allowed the Indiana Pacers to close out a 130-121 victory Wednesday night over the Dallas Mavericks.

Three-time All-Star Paul George added 25 points, including another 3 with 55 seconds left to seal Indiana's fifth season-opening win in six years.

Deron Williams scored 25 points, while J.J. Barea and Dirk Nowitzki each added 22 as the Mavs lost their fifth straight in the series. They still haven't won in Indianapolis since February 2014.

Dallas didn't tie the score or take a lead until the fourth quarter, yet still forced overtime when Harrison Barnes' open 3-pointer made it 115-all with 2.3 seconds left.

Turner could have won it with a long buzzer-beating 3, but it bounced off the back of the rim (see full recap).

Best of NHL: Shea Weber's PPG gives Canadiens' 5th straight win

Best of NHL: Shea Weber's PPG gives Canadiens' 5th straight win

NEW YORK -- Shea Weber's power-play goal with 2:57 remaining lifted the Montreal Canadiens to their fifth straight victory, 3-2 over the New York Islanders on Wednesday night.

Paul Byron and Phillip Danault also scored to help Montreal improve to 6-0-1 and remain the only team in the NHL without a regulation loss. Al Montoya, who played for the Islanders from 2010-12, stopped 26 shots in his first start since Oct. 18 as the Canadiens beat New York for the seventh straight time.

John Tavares and Dennis Seidenberg scored for New York and Thomas Greiss had 26 saves in his second straight start and third of the season.

With the Islanders' Nick Leddy off for slashing, Weber fired a shot from the point for the tiebreaking goal. It was just the second power-play goal in 23 opportunities given up by New York's league-leading penalty-killing unit (see full recap).

Pirri, Rangers rally to topple Bruins
NEW YORK -- Brandon Pirri scored twice to help the New York Ranger beat the Boston Bruins 5-2 on Wednesday night.

Rick Nash, Kevin Hayes and Jimmy Vesey also scored for New York, and Henrik Lundqvist stopped 27 shots. The Rangers won their third straight game, overcoming a 2-0 deficit to improve to 5-2-0.

David Pastrnak and Austin Czarina scored for Boston. The Bruins have lost three straight to drop to 3-4-0.

Zane McIntyre made 26 saves in his first NHL start. He was called up prior to Boston's 5-0 home loss to Minnesota on Tuesday night to back up Malcolm Subban due to injuries to Tuukka Risk and Anton Khudobin (see full recap).

Pouliot scores twice, Oilers beat Capitals
EDMONTON, Alberta -- Benoit Pouliot scored twice, Cam Talbot made 34 saves and the Edmonton Oilers beat the Washington Capitals 4-1 on Wednesday night to stretch their winning streak to four games.

Patrick Maroon and Milan Lucic also scored for the Oilers (6-1-0). They have won four of five games at Rogers Place, their new downtown arena.

Alex Ovechkin scored for the Capitals (3-2-1). Braden Holtby made 25 saves (see full recap).