We’re now getting to the exciting part when digging for the diamonds in the rough. Through five rounds, just about every position has been accounted for aside from a goaltender. In the sixth round, there are plenty of targets who fit the bill for the Philadelphia Flyers.
Pending on any circumstances deriving from a potential trade for a top-pair defenseman, the Philadelphia Flyers may have to double-dip. Surely a current prospect will be a part of a packaged trade, along with at least another player. Oh, don’t forget the obvious 2021 first-round pick.
Due to the looming potential trade, Chuck Fletcher needs to find the best player available for each round he has a selection to make. This draft is deep with defensemen, and I’ve outlined a few potential forwards who could develop a fine career. It’s about replenishing the system after an expansion and, maybe, a trade for a top-pair defenseman. Missing a first-round pick if Fletcher trades for players like Seth Jones, Mattias Ekholm, or Dougie Hamilton limits opportunities to grow in-house via the draft.
The only way the Flyers can retool and retain is through a good draft. Here are three targets Philadelphia should note in the sixth round:
Standing in at 5’8″ and 154lbs from the Flint Firebirds, Braeden Kressler is an average OHL center that hasn’t played since 2019-2020, before pandemic hockey.
Many players who didn’t sign an entry-level contract in the NHL from the OHL missed competitive hockey in 2020-2021. That will play against them in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, but it will depreciate value more than it should. Without a recent season to scout, players who are better than the recency bias admits will be available in the sixth and seventh rounds.
Kressler finished second amongst all first-year Firebirds players in team scoring in 2019-2020. His balanced approach, collecting eighteen points (9G, 9A), could offer a good hand on the fourth line. Remarkably, he finished with a plus-sixteen rating. When Kressler is on the ice, his line plays hard.
A strong skater with a good shot, Kressler is an underappreciated scoring threat. His puck protection is an area for improvement, but he’s shifty and able to cut through defenses with his speed. Kressler is a solid pick in the sixth round who could be off the board in the fifth if another franchise labels him as a solution to a team need. He’ll be a project player in the AHL long before any NHL opportunity arises. Ian Laperriere will have his fingerprints all over his development as a disciple of Alain Vigneault’s system.
Standing in at 5’9″ and 163lbs from the Victoriaville Tigres, Nicolas Daigle is not the son of former Tigre and eventual Philadelphia Flyer Alexandre Daigle.
Coincidentally, Nicolas is following in the footsteps of Alexandre. He won’t be a top overall pick in 2021, but where he could play in the NHL is all the same.
A left-handed center, Daigle is considered an intelligent two-way forward in all situations. Already, he’s speaking Alain Vigneault’s language. Daigle had a breakout season in half the time of his 2019-2020 campaign. Previously, he scored fifteen points in 61 games with a plus-five rating. In 2020-2021, Daigle played in 26 games, notching 24 points (9G, 15A) with a plus-fifteen rating.
Offensively, Daigle is a playmaker before he’s a scorer. That’s a trend for him in the QMJHL. If this season indicates how his development will progress, he’s a steal in the sixth round for the Flyers. He’s a sleeper prospect who could bloom in the AHL and contribute in Philadelphia when recalled.
Standing in at 6’1″ and 187lbs from Dinamo-Molodechno, Alexei Kolosov is worth a selection now that the Philadelphia Flyers goaltending depth is a giant question mark.
Think about the money the Flyers could save by not relying on signing a backup goaltender to Carter Hart out of the free agency market. Brian Elliott is almost 36-years-old, and Alex Lyon seemingly is middling between AHL starter and fringe NHL backup. Felix Sandstrom is a questionable option, especially when Kirill Ustimenko missed the 2020-2021 season and Samuel Ersson recently signed an entry-level contract.
Jonas Johansson was a goaltender Philadelphia could have targeted in free agency, but he decided to sign a one-year extension with the Colorado Avalanche. The murky future of Ivan Fedotov doesn’t offer any relief to Hart. As all these factors weigh in, Chuck Fletcher could be wise in taking a chance with Kolosov. In nine games at the KHL level with Dinamo Minsk, Kolosov allowed 2.69 goals on average and a 91.1% save percentage.
In a brilliant chess game with Ron Francis, Fletcher could show he’s the brighter general manager in the sixth round. Selecting Kolosov could strip the Seattle Kraken of another goaltender in their system on draft day. Kolosov is a goaltender who finds his groove as he sees more shots. He is ideal in a rotation with Hart, considering his history as a plug-and-play goaltender in the KHL. Kolosov should not be on the board in the sixth round, making him the premium pick for any franchise searching for a goaltender, such as Philadelphia.