Flyers 2009 draft review

By Cory Wilkins

Trading top picks in this and next year’s draft to acquire Chris Pronger, the Flyers were down picks before the draft started. They didn’t begin picking until 81st, near the end of the third round. Nevertheless, the Flyers made the most of the six picks they owned, their selections including a playoff hero, a pair of goaltenders, and a hulking defenseman who hails from Denmark. Of the six picks made by the Flyers, only two were ranked by Central Scouting. 

Adam Morrison, G – WHL Saskatoon
81st Overall 3rd Round
6’3 196 lbs
February 9, 1991 Edmonton, Alberta

After just one year in the WHL, goaltender Adam Morrison was drafted into the NHL. Morrison was the first pick by the Flyers, selected 81st overall.

Playing the backup role last season with the Saskatoon Blades, Morrison appeared in just 13 games, though his record was quite strong, posting a 9-1-1 mark, alongside a .907 save percentage, 2.49 GAA, and one shutout. Morrison will be the starting goaltender for the Blades in 2009-10.

Ranked 24th among NA goaltenders by CS, Morrison was not talked a lot about coming into the draft and is a bit off-the-board pick by the Flyers at 81st.

The 6-foot-3 goaltender brings size to the crease, while full-time duty next season with Saskatoon will serve as a more true assessment of Morrison’s potential at the NHL level.

Simon Bertilsson, D – SEL Brynas

87th Overall 3rd Round
6’0 185 lbs
April 19, 1991 Karlskoga, Sweden

A two-way defenseman who patterns his game after Detroit Red Wings defender Niklas Kronwall, the Philadelphia Flyers took Bertilsson 87th overall.

Ranked 17th among European skaters by CSS, Bertilsson is a skilled, mobile defenseman with good hockey sense, who also likes to play physically. He’s a good fit for the classic Flyers style of play.

Bertilsson didn’t score a lot in the SEL last year, but not many 17-year-olds do, limited to just one assist through 21 games. He has more offensive ability than this, and had a point per game with the junior team.

Nicola Riopel, G – QMJHL Moncton

142nd Overall 5th Round
6’0 175 lbs
February 20, 1989 St-Pie De Bagot, Quebec

With Riopel, the Flyers either have drafted a goaltender from a great team or have found a draft gem. The Flyers hope it is the latter.

Riopel, 20, plays a butterfly style built upon his good positioning and athleticism. Notably, these attributes contributed greatly in Riopel capturing the Michel Briere Memorial Trophy last season, awarded to the most valuable player of the QMJHL.

Riopel also set a QMJHL record for lowest GAA in a season (2.01), a mark previously set in 2003-04 by Martin Houle with a 2.32 GAA.

Through 59 games, Riopel posted a 43-11-4 record, alongside a .930 save percentage and five shutouts. This success continued into the playoffs, as Riopel notched a 5-5 record through 10 games, a 2.03 GAA, .936 save percentage, and two shutouts.

Riopel, an overager, was not ranked by CSS. He will likely turn pro right away.

Dave Labrecque, C – QMJHL Shawinigan

153rd Overall 6th Round
6’0 170 lbs
January 27, 1990 Vanier, Quebec

Another pick by the Flyers not ranked by CSS, Philadelphia chose center Dave Labrecque with the 153rd pick.

Spending the past three season with Shawinigan of the QMJHL, Labrecque is an impressive skating, playmaking center, as illustrated by his statistics. Through 59 games in 2008-09, Labrecque scored 13 goals alongside 48 assists. The forward also amassed 76 penalty minutes.

Labrecque was part of the QMJHL team at the 2008 ADT Canada-Russia Challenge.

Eric Wellwood, LW – OHL Windsor
172nd Overall 6th Round
5’11 168 lbs
March 6, 1990 Windsor, Ontario

The younger brother of Vancouver Canucks forward Kyle Wellwood, Eric had a good season last year with the Windsor Spitfires, en route to winning both the OHL championship and the Memorial Cup.

Eric plays a similar game to Kyle in that the two have similar size and agility, and neither is overly physical. Though Eric’s offensive instincts are less than Kyle’s, his performance in the defensive end of the rink is superior.

Wellwood began last season on a strong Windsor team, relegated to a shutdown and checking role. Through 61 games, Wellwood scored 16 goals and 18 assists. As the season progressed, so too did Wellwood in both his play and his offensive acumen.

In the post-season, Wellwood was among the top OHL scorers, tallying 10 goals and 11 assists through 20 playoff games, including the game-winning goal that eliminated the London Knights.

Wellwood was not ranked by Central Scouting.

Oliver Lauridsen, D – NCAA St. Cloud State

196th Overall 7th Round
6’6 220 lbs
March 24, 1989 Gentofte, Denmark

In pure Broad Street Bullies fashion, the Flyers added a hulking defenseman in Oliver Lauridsen with their last pick in the draft.

Another selection not ranked by Central Scouting, Lauridsen is a raw talent prospect and a project player. While Lauridsen is touted for his size, reach and physicality, he needs to better adjust to the North American game. Lauridsen lacks in foot speed and mobility.

Through 28 games with St. Cloud State last season, the Danish defenseman tallied one assist and 38 penalty minutes.