No impact player for Flyers at No. 17

ANDREW THAYER / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER General manager Ron Hextall says the Flyers will get a good return, but not an impact player, at No. 17.
ANDREW THAYER / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER General manager Ron Hextall says the Flyers will get a good return, but not an impact player, at No. 17.
Posted: June 27, 2014

THERE IS no player offensively skilled like Sidney Crosby in this weekend's NHL draft. There is no player as defensively stout as the Kings' Drew Doughty.

So says Flyers general manager Ron Hextall. Nevertheless, there are reasons to be optimistic about the Flyers adding productive talent, starting with tonight's first round at the Wells Fargo Center.

The Flyers have the 17th pick, which Hextall does not believe is high enough to draft an immediate impact player. He characterized the draft as good but not great.

"With our pick this year at 17, we've got a small range of players that we think we're going to get a good player," Hextall said. "Impact player? It's hard to say impact, but I think we're going to get a good player at 17."

Hextall said the Flyers are looking for high character players who will fit into the culture they are trying to cultivate.

"The commitment to becoming a player is huge," Hextall said. "A lot of the guys who are drafted later in the draft are typically guys that are willing to put in the time and the effort and do what it takes to be an NHL player."

Hextall referenced Justin Williams, whom the Flyers drafted late in the first round in 2000, as a blueprint for a guy they want to draft, in terms of work ethic. Williams was traded by the Flyers in 2004 and has gone on to win three Stanley Cups, two in the last three seasons with the Los Angeles Kings. Williams won the Conn Smythe Trophy 2 weeks ago when the Kings won the Cup.

Hextall was in the front office when the Flyers drafted Williams, and spent time with him on the West Coast as well when he was an assistant GM with the Kings.

"You look at Justin Williams and you say, 'There's a kid who's always willing to play the game,' " Hextall said. "He's always put the time in, he's dedicated, and quite honestly loves to play the game. That's the type of character that we will be looking for. These guys that are willing to put in the time and effort and really, as a scout, you should go see on the ice the guys that really yearn to play and love to play the game."

With Scott Hartnell having been traded earlier this week, the Flyers know that scoring and the open left side on the forward lines are issues they need to address.

"Our left side, we look to improve a little bit, but again, these kids that we're going to be picking are a few years out, so really you just pick the best player there and if that happens to be a forward, then so be it," Hextall said. "But there's a couple kids in the draft that will probably be in our wheelhouse that can score."

Regardless of whom the Flyers select the next 2 days, the pressure will be on Hextall and company to score in this year's draft.

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