The Philadelphia Flyers and General Manager Paul Holmgren used the team's six draft picks to accumulate size and toughness but also address areas of need within the organization. The team drafted a total of four defensemen, including Samuel Morin with the 11th overall selection, none of whom are shorter than 6'2. The Flyers also stayed true to their historical form by using their middle and late-round picks on players who are considered long-term projects.
Samuel Morin, D, Rimouski Oceanic (QMJHL)
1st Round, 11th Overall
Height: 6'6 Weight: 203 lbs
The Flyers took a chance on a big, tough defenseman who was this year's biggest riser in many pre-draft rankings. As Morin's skating improved over the 2012-13 season, and after a solid performance in the Under-18 World Championship tournament, scouts and pundits alike began to move Morin up their lists, from a general consensus late-second round selection to a top-10 on some pre-draft lists.
Morin brings a combination of size, strength, and agility that should allow him to be a dominating force along the blue line. He makes soft, well-chosen breakout passes and has a wrist shot that jumps off his stick. He also has the footwork and positioning to cut down angles and prevent all but the speediest of wingers from turning the corner and getting to the net. Possessing solid defensive instincts, Morin shows good timing at poke checks and hits, and utilizes his big frame to pin opposing players to the boards at will.
The Flyers will need to be patient with Morin. He will need plenty of junior and minor league experience before he can be ready to make the climb into the NHL. This was a selection with some risk involved, but the potential reward of a physically dominant, mean, and surefooted defenseman is enough to offset that risk.
Hockey's Future shot video of Morin at the 2013 NHL Draft. You can view his extended remarks in this HF video.
Robert Hagg, D, Modo (SHL)
2nd round, 41st Overall
Height: 6'2 Weight: 203 lbs
The Flyers further bolstered their blue line corps by using their second-round pick on another rearguard with two-way skills. Hagg displays exceptional leadership skills, and captained his Modo junior team at the start of the season. He was named the Swedish junior league's best defenseman despite playing only half of the season at that level. He finished the year with 27 games in the SHL, and saw extensive international play at both the Under-18 championship tournament and at the World Junior Championships with Sweden's Under-20 squad.
Hagg has a tremendous slapshot that can create havoc for goaltenders and generate nice rebounds for his forwards. He has solid offensive instincts and the ability to make long, difficult passes look effortless. Hagg skates with a smooth stride and he has good lateral quickness and pivots. He can skate the puck through the zone and evade opponents to make a crisp head-man pass.
Like Morin, Hagg will need time to develop his defensive play and his decision-making in general, but he has the skill potential to become a first-pairing defenseman if he can match his talent with a sustained intensity and compete level.
The Flyers chose a small, scrappy winger in the third round. Goulbourne has quickness and some puck skills, but he is known more for his fighting than his goal scoring. He is an overage player who scored just 27 points in 64 for games for the Rockets, and who also finished near the top of the league's leaders in penalty minutes with 135. Unless he has an unlikely burst of offensive development, Goulbourne seems at best destined to be a checking line, energy player at the NHL level.
Terrance Amorosa, D, Holderness School (USHS)
5th round, 132nd Overall
Height: 6'2 Weight: 190 lbs
Holmgren selected yet another defenseman in the fifth round. Amorosa is an offensive blueliner with good skating ability but not much experience. He was a primary contributor to his high school team, with nine goals and 13 assists in 27 games, and quarterbacked the powerplay. Amorosa is a good skater, and has high upside, but is another project defenseman for the Flyers. He was drafted 94th overall in the USHL draft, and will be suit up for the Sioux City Musketeers next season.
Hockey's Future shot video of Hagg and Amorosa at the 2013 NHL Draft. You can view their extended remarks in this HF video.
Merrick Madsen, G, Proctor Academy (USHS)
6th round, 162nd Overall
Height: 6'4 Weight: 176 lbs
The Flyers added some depth to another area of concern when they added high school goaltender Merrick Madsen. A tall, rangy goaltender with still more room to grow, Madsen has good lateral movement and overall athletic ability, but is still very raw in most aspects of the game.
Madsen will join the Des Moines Buccaneers for the 2013-14 season then play for Harvard in 2014-15.
David Drake, D, Des Moines Buccaneers (USHL)
7h round, 192nd Overall
Height: 6'4 Weight: 170 lbs
Drake is a defensive defenseman who played 12 games in the USHL last season and 40 with the Chicago Fury U18 squad in the Midwest Elite Hockey League. Even at lower levels, Drake played a defense-only style, and managed six points in 40 games for the U18 Chicago Fury team. The Flyers will need to allow Drake several years to develop and add weight to his incredibly lean 6'4 frame.
Drake is expected to play for the Buccaneers for the 2013-14 season.