Flyers gain negotiating rights to goalie Evgeni Nabokov

Michael Chaput , drafted in the third round by the Flyers, had 28 goals and 27 assists last season for Lewiston.
Michael Chaput , drafted in the third round by the Flyers, had 28 goals and 27 assists last season for Lewiston.
Posted: June 27, 2010

LOS ANGELES - The Flyers' quest for San Jose standout goalie Evgeni Nabokov upstaged any of the selections - including a sixth-round choice used on the club president's son - that they made in Saturday's draft here at the Staples Center.

Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren continued talking to San Jose GM Doug Wilson about acquiring the rights to Nabokov, who can become an unrestricted free agent Thursday.

The Flyers have been granted permission to negotiate with Nabokov's agent before the free-agency period starts. But Holmgren said he wouldn't be surprised if Nabokov reached free agency. Don Meehan, Nabokov's agent, agreed.

Meehan had discussions with Holmgren at the draft. Meehan said Saturday that Nabokov, who will turn 35 next month, was open to playing in Philadelphia.

"It just depends on the terms," he said, adding that the deal could be for fewer than three years. He also said Nabokov has the option of playing in Russia if he cannot come to terms with an NHL team.

The Sharks last week said they would not re-sign Nabokov, who earned $6 million last season, when he had a 2.43 goals-against average and .922 save percentage.

Holmgren said he was optimistic the Flyers would re-sign Michael Leighton, a potential free agent. Whether Leighton is the starter or the backup will depend on whether the team lands Nabokov - or another goalie.

Meanwhile, the Flyers made six selections at the draft, one in which they didn't have a pick until the third round. They had two seventh-round picks because they acquired one from Carolina by sending Phantoms center Jonathan Matsumoto to the Hurricanes. Matsumoto scored 30 goals last season for the Phantoms.

All told, the Flyers selected three wingers, a center, and two defensemen, and added some size up front.

Here is a look at their draftees:

Michael Chaput, 6-foot-1½, 194-pound center.

Selected in the third round with the 89th overall pick, Chaput collected 28 goals and 27 assists in 68 games for Lewiston in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League last season. He said he modeled his game after Vancouver's Alex Burrows, who scored 35 goals last season, because he's a "go-go guy who never stops."

Chaput, who grew up outside Montreal as a Canadiens fan, said he hoped to reach the NHL in two or three years. The 18-year-old was ranked as the 79th North American skater by Central Scouting.

Tye McGinn, 6-2, 205-pound left winger.

Chosen in the fourth round (119th overall), McGinn, an Ontario native, also played in the "Q," and had 27 goals and 35 assists in 50 games for Gatineau. He'll turn 20 next month, and Holmgren thinks he'll play in the AHL in 2010-11.

Michael Parks, 5-10½, 188-pound right winger.

The fifth-round pick (149th overall), a St. Louis native, had 11 goals in 51 games for Cedar Rapids in the USHL. He is 18.

Nick Luukko, 6-2, 180-pound defenseman.

Two days earlier, Peter Luukko, president of the Flyers' parent company, Comcast-Spectacor, said he told Holmgren not to select his son because it would put extra pressure on the young player.

But Holmgren chose Luukko with the sixth-round pick (179th overall). The righthanded-shooting Luukko had 23 points in 31 games for The Gunnery (Conn.) last season.

"It absolutely proves what kind of input I have in the hockey operation," Peter Luukko said with a smile. "But they had him rated higher on the board than even the sixth [round]."

Nick Luukko, 18, called it "a huge shocker, especially when my dad told me they wouldn't draft me." He has worked out frequently with the Flyers and called it "a dream of mine" to play for them one day.

Luukko will play in the USHL this season and then at the University of Vermont the following year.

Ricard Blidstrand, 6-2½, 202-pound defenseman.

The 18-year-old Sweden native, chosen in the seventh round (206th overall) with the pick acquired from Carolina, gives the Flyers some beef. He had two goals for his Sweden junior team.

Brendan Ranford, 5-9½ 182-pound left winger.

Chosen with the draft's next-to-last pick (seventh round, 209th overall), the 18-year-old Ranford had 29 goals and 65 points in 72 WHL games.

Breakaways. High-scoring center/right winger Jimmy Mullin, who grew up in Delaware County before playing high-school hockey in Minnesota, was selected in the fourth round (No. 118 overall) by Tampa Bay.

Rangers defenseman Bobby Sanguinetti, a product of Lumberton, Burlington County, who was a first-round pick in 2006, was traded to Carolina for a second-round selection (previously owned by Washington) in 2011 and Carolina's sixth pick (winger Jesper Fasth) on Saturday. Sanguinetti played in five games for the Rangers last season. . . . A total of 210 players were drafted, with Canadians (99) and Americans (59) leading the way. Sweden was third with 20 players drafted.


Flyers' Draft Choices

ROUND 3

(89th overall)

Michael Chaput, C, Lewiston (QMJHL).

ROUND 4

(119) Tye McGinn, LW, Gatineau (QMJHL).

ROUND 5

(149) Michael Parks, RW, Cedar Rapids (USHL).

ROUND 6

(179) Nick Luukko, D, The Gunnery

(Conn. H.S.).

ROUND 7

(206) Ricard Blidstrand, D, AIK Jr. (Sweden).

(209) Brendan Ranford, LW, Kamloops (WHL).


Contact staff writer Sam Carchidi at 215-854-5181 or scarchidi@phillynews.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/BroadStBull.

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