Flyers 2008 draft review

By William Roark

Entering into the draft, the Flyers held picks No. 27, 118, 178, 196 and 208 overall.  The Flyers would eventually select in a much different place and frequency due to a number of draft day trades. 

It was no secret that the Flyers were looking to make a move, due to their proximity to the league’s salary cap.  Shortly after the open of the draft the Flyers announced a trade sending RJ Umberger to Columbus in exchange for the 19th and 67th overall picks in the 2008 draft. 

The Flyers later traded the 27th pick overall to Washington for defenseman Steve Eminger and the 84th pick of the draft.  Later they also traded pick No. 208 to the Anaheim Ducks for a future seventh-round draft choice in 2009. 

Luca Sbisa, D – WHL Lethbridge

1st round (19th overall)
Born:  January 30th, 1990

With the 19th pick overall, the Flyers addressed their perceived lack of depth at the defensive position by adding Luca Sbisa.  The Italian-born Swiss defenseman played his first season of North American hockey in the WHL.  Sbisa quickly showed he was capable of effectively skating the puck out of trouble and producing points on this stage.  However, most impressive was the fact that he also displayed a very strong willingness to play a physical brand of hockey by outworking players in the corners, throwing open-ice hits and even dropping the gloves when the situation called for it. 

By the end of the season, Sbisa had represented the Swiss at the U18 World Championships and completed a successful rookie campaign in the WHL by collecting 6 goals and 22 assists in 62 regular season games for Lethbridge.  Then, in perhaps his best showcase of skill before the draft, Sbisa went on to lead all WHL defensemen in playoff scoring with 3 goals and 12 assists in 19 games. 

Sbisa will likely spend another year in the WHL at least, but he has all the tools to be a quality NHL puckmoving defenseman in the future. 

  

Marc-Andre Bourdon, D – QMJHL Rouyn-Noranda

3rd round (67th overall)
Born:  September 17th, 1989

Bourdon, who competed versus fellow Flyer prospect Claude Giroux in the QMJHL championship, was named QMJHL defenseman of the year in 2008 after scoring 12 goals 47 assists and finishing the year with an impressive +39 rating. 

Although Bourdon was overshadowed by some more high-profile defensive prospects, Bourdon displays many of the traits of a very solid NHL prospect.  In addition to above average offensive skills, Bourdon is quite capable of defending in his own zone.  He rarely gives up on a loose puck and is very willing, perhaps even eager, to play physically or drop his gloves. 

Already possessing NHL size, Bourdon will need additional time to improve on his first-step quickness if he is to be effective at the NHL level.  The Flyers, in the meantime, will hope the player they saw in the QMJHL playoffs develops into the kind of steady, aggressive NHL defenseman.

Jacob DeSerres, G – WHL Seattle

3rd round (84th overall)
Born:  March 18th, 1990

With the 84th pick overall, the Flyers selected goaltender Jacob DeSerres.  After an outstanding season with Seattle of the WHL where he played in 34 games and held a GAA of 2.28 and .922 save percentage, DeSerres saw his stock rise. 

He displays very good lateral mobility as well as excellent rebound control and positioning when facing shooters.  DeSerres also utilizes his big frame to take away the majority of the net and challenges attacking players aggressively when the situation calls for it. 

DeSerres was regarded by some teams as one of the best goaltending prospects in the draft.  While he was not as hyped as some of his fellow draftees, DeSerres has a good shot at becoming a professional goaltender in time. 

Zac Rinaldo, C – OHL Mississauga

6th round (178th overall)
Born:  June 15th, 1990

Although undersized by NHL standards, Rinaldo was selected by the Flyers in the sixth round for his agitating qualities.  Rinaldo racked up an impressive 191 penalty minutes for Mississauga of the OHL in just 63 games. 

Rinaldo should be able to use his skating skills and hockey sense to grow into a quality agitating winger.

There is some potential with this pick, but Rinaldo will need to continue to work towards developing in all aspects of the game and add on more muscle if he wants to ply his trade at the NHL level. 

Joacim Eriksson, G – SuperElite Brynas IF

7th round (196th overall)
Born:  April 9th, 1990

A relative unknown to many fans of North American hockey, Eriksson has been developing his game quietly in Sweden.  In 2006-07, Eriksson played for the Swedish U17 team internationally recording a 1.25 GAA and .961 save percentage.  In 2007-08 Eriksson continued his development with Brynas IF in Sweden.  He also appeared in two games for Sweden in the U18 World Championships this year where he had a GAA of 3.00 and save percentage of .906. 

Eriksson is a classic butterfly goaltender with good size and respectable lateral mobility.  He will continue to gain experience internationally and try to challenge his fellow countrymen, the highly rated Jacob Markstrom, for playing time in Brynas and the Swedish national team.