Flyers could eye winger with ‘blast of a one-timer’ in 1st round originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia]]>
With slim odds, the Flyers didn’t strike gold in the Connor Bedard sweepstakes.
But they will have a chance to bring in some needed high-end talent near the top of the 2023 NHL draft.
“We’re fortunate it’s a good year,” Flyers general manager Danny Briere said of the draft crop in April. “We have quite a few picks and we have a high one.
“You have to go through a lot of bad times to get there unfortunately, but it’s exciting when you’re at the draft table and you get to pick such a high pick. It’s going to be a critical pick for the organization moving forward, there’s no doubt about it.”
After selecting Cutter Gauthier fifth overall last summer, the Flyers are slotted at No. 7 for this year’s draft, which will be held June 28-29 at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee. With the Ivan Provorov trade, the Flyers acquired the 22nd overall pick, giving them two first-rounders and 10 total selections in the draft. The first round kicks off at 7 p.m. ET Wednesday, while Rounds 2-7 follow Thursday starting at 11 a.m. ET.
Leading up to the draft, we’re breaking down targets for the Flyers at No. 7.
Team: Owen Sound Attack
The hard-working Barlow might have one of the most advanced shots in the draft, behind only Bedard.
It’s already a multifaceted, NHL-caliber blast. He knows how to beat goalies in a variety of ways.
In 59 regular-season games for the Attack, Barlow put up the OHL’s fifth-most goals with 46. He led the league with 12 game-winners, while 13 of his goals came on the power play and one at shorthanded. The Canadian finished with 79 points and a plus-14 rating before adding three goals over four playoff games.
“He’s more of a specialized commodity in the draft because he’s a scorer, he’s a shooter,” Dan Marr, the director of NHL Central Scouting, said June 1 in a phone interview with NBC Sports Philadelphia. “He’s got the one-timer. He’s a solid kid. I still think that there can be some upgrades to his skating for the next level. That’s only in the sense to where his first couple of strides to gain a step on the play and then maybe the full stride to pull away on the play.
“But neither of those have any impact on what he does best. His game is in the offensive zone, he knows how to get open, he knows how to shoot, he’s got the quick release, he’s got the blast of a one-timer and he can score, like he can finish.”
The consensus is Barlow will be picked outside the top 10 because his overall game needs some refining. He’s not the fastest skater or a dynamic playmaker, but the shooting ability is top notch and he offers plenty of intangibles.
“There are little tricks of the trade that he has to learn along the way and little improvements that he needs to make,” Marr said. “Just because he scored close to 50 in junior doesn’t mean you’re going to do the same thing at the NHL; it’s a lot harder league to score in.
“But he brings the advantage of adding that power shooter to a team. He’s also a team leader, he was captain of the team at 17 years old. He’s physically mature where he can go into battles, win his own battles. He makes plays in his own right, his offensive hockey sense is good there. He’s got a good package there.”
Barlow, who turned 18 in February, is the 12th-ranked North American skater by NHL Central Scouting. TSN’s Bob McKenzie pegged him as the 12th-best player in the draft, while EliteProspects.com and The Athletic’s Scott Wheeler both have him at No. 17.
“I think his game will round out a little more as he develops into a pro where he won’t be known as just a scorer and finisher,” Marr said. “He brings a lot of other attributes to a team.”
Fit with Flyers
At No. 7 overall, Barlow would likely be viewed as a reach for the Flyers.
But, if the Flyers really wanted to add his shot into their system, they could make it happen by trading back or up at some point in the first round.
Briere said Thursday that the Flyers were interested in gaining a second-round pick. They don’t have one because of the Rasmus Ristolainen trade two summers ago. If the Flyers get a sense Barlow will slide, it may offer Briere an opportunity to trade back, grab the winger and acquire a second-rounder.
The Flyers could also move up from No. 22 if Barlow is still available and within range. Holding 10 picks in the draft gives them assets to use and the potential to climb in certain rounds.
The organization has lacked pure shooters, a significant reason why it drafted Tyson Foerster at 23rd overall in 2020. In some ways, Foerster was similar to Barlow then — raw in some areas but his biggest strength was elite.
Source: Yahoo Sports