Flyers grab righty-shot defenseman they’re ‘very high on’ at No. 22 originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia]]>
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Holding a second first-round pick Wednesday night, a result of the Ivan Provorov trade, the Flyers selected Oliver Bonk at 22nd overall.
The club went with the righty-shot defenseman 15 picks after taking Matvei Michkov seventh overall at Bridgestone Arena on Day 1 of the 2023 NHL draft.
The Flyers liked him so much that they passed up on Gabe Perreault, a 132-point U.S. forward who fell to the Rangers at No. 23.
“Oliver’s a defenseman we’re very high on,” assistant general manager Brent Flahr said Wednesday night, via Flyers public relations. “A coveted, right-shot defenseman. He’s very cerebral, an excellent puck mover, solid defender and he just steadily improved throughout the season. He’s a good-sized kid, but he’s just growing into his body and we feel he’s just scratching the surface at this point.”
The 6-foot-2, 180-pounder had 40 points (10 goals, 30 assists) in 67 games this season for the OHL’s London Knights. In London’s long playoff run, Bonk had 11 points (all assists) and a plus-8 mark over 21 games.
The rebuilding Flyers desperately need to find answers for their future on defense. They have struggled mightily to find long-term stability on the back end and had used a first-round pick on a blueliner just once over the previous seven drafts (Cam York in 2019).
“I’ve never been to Philadelphia actually, so it’s going to be a cool thing going there for the first time,” Bonk said Wednesday night. “About the Flyers, I just know that they work extremely hard, they’ve got their work boots on, so definitely a good team to go to.”
Bonk’s father Radek Bonk is from Czech Republic and played 14 years in the NHL. The forward was drafted by the Senators third overall during 1991 and finished with 497 points over 969 games in his career.
The 18-year-old Bonk grew up in Ottawa, Ontario, so the Senators were his favorite team and he loved watching defenseman Erik Karlsson.
He’s excited to join Michkov in the Flyers’ organization.
“It’s going to be crazy. He’s a really good player,” Bonk said. “I think he would have gone a lot higher if people got to watch him.”
Source: Yahoo Sports