For many young Philadelphia-area ice hockey players, a chance to compete professionally after high school is an aspiration that rarely materializes. But one West Chester player’s professional hockey dream may come to fruition in a big way.
West Chester Rustin graduate Eric Knodel — all 6-6 and 216 pounds of him — has earned the rare opportunity to be included among 211 potential players selected at the 2009 NHL Entry draft, taking place in Montreal, Quebec, today and Saturday.
On a rumor-filled day prior to the 2009 NHL entry draft in Montreal, TSN reported that a player in the Jay Bouwmeester sweeps made a “major” offer for Toronto defenseman Tomas Kaberle. Many people speculated that the mystery suitor could be the Flyers, who just last offseason, had the trigger pulled on a trade for the puck-moving blue liner and was held back by Kaberle’s no trade clause.
However, details have surfaced that it was the Boston Bruins who had made the offer, which included sending Phil Kessel to Canada in return for Kaberle and the No. 7 overall.
As of this morning, the most likely move the Flyers make is to fall backwards in the draft in order to pick up a second rounder. The Flyers are absent from the second round due to sending their second rounder, along with Alex Picard to the Tampa Bay Lightning for Vinny Prospel, at 2007-08 trade deadline.
Look to the Islanders for a possible trade. New York owns three second-round picks, along with the 26th pick in the first. If former Flyer and current GM of the Isles Garth Snow, wants to move up to 21, he could send the Flyers the 26 and a decent selection in the second.
General Manager Paul Holmgren has made it clear that unless one of a certain group of highlighted players falls to Philly, the team is likely to trade back.
As Director of Hockey Operations, Chris Pryor is the gateway between General Manager Paul Holmgren and a team of scouts, that have spent the previous year preparing for the 2009 NHL draft. And with the draft just days away, Pryor gives some information as to the team’s mindset heading to Montreal.
“We have an idea of who we’re looking at,” said Pryor, in an interview with Kevin Kurz. “And we hope one of those guys are there.”
The Flyers have made it clear that they have an accurate idea of who they want to take. A small group of prospects they hope are on the board at 21. But as both Pryor and Holmgren reiterated, it’s all about taking the best player available.
“If all things are equal, we might look more toward a defenseman,” said Pryor. “Since that position is more difficult to find. But typically, we take the best player available.”
The Flyers are planning to select at 21, but aren’t canceling out the notion of moving up or down. It has been public that Holmgren has been trying hard to make a deal that could jostle the team’s position.
“There are a lot of possibilities that could come up in the next few days,” said Pryor. “We don’t know what could happen. If those guys we target aren’t there, we talk about different scenarios. We want to be prepared for what comes up in different situations.”
On June 26-27 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, the Flyers are set to select the 21st pick in the 2009 NHL draft. And because of the amount of talent in the pool, the Flyers are sure to have an exciting day.
“Our stance is always the best available player,” said Flyers’ General Manager Paul Holmgren, during a pre-draft press conference. “We have a group we’re looking at and there are guys at each position that we have in that group. It’s a good draft, we believe that with our first pick we’ll get good prospect.”
On Monday, the oft erroneous rumor monger, “Eklund,” reported that the Flyers were trying to work a deal with the Los Angeles Kings, that would send forward Danny Briere and the Flyers’ 21st overall selection in the 2009 NHL entry draft to the Kings, in exchange for the 5th overall pick. And while Philadelphia buzzed with the prospect, many people still pondered LA’s logic in taking on $6.5 million a year worth of damaged goods in place of a key cog of the future. But one media source put to sleep the mangy rumor.
The Montreal Gazette called bravo sierra on the paper thin rumored deal, stating “The folks in Philly have talked to the Canadiens and the Los Angeles Kings, but neither team was interested (in Briere). There also is a report that they have talked to the Phoenix Coyotes..”
This statement proves the Flyers do not have a master plan involving Briere, heading into the June 26-27 draft. They just want to dump his salary. With the uprising of Claude Giroux and his steady two-way play, Briere’s services as the goal-line feeder on the power play, as well as one-dimensional even strength ability is not needed.
There is likely to be more rumors involving Briere as the draft inches closer, simply because the Flyers who will talk to whomever will listen.
After much deliberation, selections 15-25 have been added to the Philabright 2009 mock draft. Anaheim, Columbus, St. Louis, Montreal, New York Rangers, Calgary, Boston, Vancouver, New Jersey, Washington and Philadelphia, have all been predicted. More detailed Flyers draft options piece will be put together as June 26 approaches.
The 2009 NHL entry draft will take place at the Bell Centre in Montreal on June 26 -27 and it is set to be an active one. With many teams in the top-10 holding multiple picks in the first and second round, it is almost unpredictable as to which teams will deal to move up or down.
The top-end talent in the 2009 draft is one of the best in years, so many teams are hungry to get in the race.
The list below is a preliminary and is subject to change as the draft approaches and teams narrow down their choices.