Here at Broad Street Hockey, we decided to start the 2018 SBN mock draft by hanging a sign that read “Open For Buisness”. And cousin, let me tell you, business is a boomin’. We completed three trades, including this one: The Philadelphia Flyers traded right wing Wayne Simmonds to the Toronto Maple Leafs for forwards Tyler Bozak and Jeremy Bracco as well as the 25th overall pick.
We decided it would be unfair to our draft pick to go into deep detail about the trade here, and a trade of a fan favorite like Wayne Simmonds — even a fake one-deserved it’s own story and deeper explanation.
To recap the draft so far:
- Buffalo selects Rasmus Dahlin, via Die By The Blade
- Carolina selects Andrei Svechnikov, via Canes Country
- Montreal selects Filip Zadina, via Eyes on the Prize
- Ottawa selects Quinn Hughes, via Silver Seven
- Arizona selects Brady Tkachuk, via Five For Howling
- Detroit selects Adam Boqvist, via Winging it in Motown
- Vancouver selects Noah Dobson, via Nucks Misconduct
- Chicago selects Oliver Wahlstrom, via Second City Hockey
- New York Rangers select Evan Bouchard, via Blueshirts Banter
- Edmonton selects Martin Kaut, via Copper and Blue
- Washington* selects Jesperi Kotkaniemi, via Japers Rink
- New York Islanders select Ty Smith, via Lighthouse Hockey
- Colorado* selects Joe Veleno, via Mile High Hockey
- Dallas* selects Joel Farabee, via Defending Big D
- Florida selects Bode Wilde, via Litter Box Cats
- Philadelphia* selects Rasmus Kupari, via Broad Street Hockey
- New Jersey selects Barret Hayton, via All About The Jersey
- Columbus selects Isac Lunderstrom, via The Cannon
- Philadelphia selects Vitali Kravtsov, via Broad Street Hockey
- Los Angeles selects K’Andre Miller, via Jewels From The Crown
- San Jose selects Ryan Merkley, via Fear The Fin
- Ottawa selects Jonatan Berggren, via Silver Seven
- Anaheim selects Grigori Denisenko, via Anaheim Calling
- Minnesota selects Dominik Bokk, via Hockey Wilderness
* Trades:NY Islanders traded the 11th pick to Washington in exchange for the 31st pick and Phillipp Grubauer.
Dallas traded the 13th pick to Philadelphia in exchange for the 14th pick and Petr Mrazek.
Philadelphia traded the 13th pick and the 127th pick to Colorado in exchange for the 16th pick and the 58th pick.
Philadelphia traded Wayne Simmonds to Toronto for Tyler Bozak, Jeremy Bracco and the 25th pick.
So without further delay, The Philadelphia Flyers are pleased to select, from Lulea HF of the SHL, defenseman Nils Lundkvist.
Measurements: 5’11.3”, 172 lbs
Team/League: Lulea HF, SHL (Sweden)
3 G, 11 A in 26 GP (SuperElite)
2 G, 3 A in 28 GP (SHL)
0 G, 2 A in 7 GP (WJC Tourney)
1 G, 3 A in 8 GP (International-Jr )
Even though the Flyers have a fine stable of young defensemen with legitimate NHL potential, it was hard to pass up a skill set like this.
Nils Lundkvist is a late riser and one of the younger players available in the 2018 NHL entry draft. He spent time not only with Lulea’s SHL team, but also played for their SuperElite team and for the Swedish National team at the WJC. He has exceptional puck skills and excels as an outlet passer. He’s not a big defender, but he doesn’t shy away from physical hockey while defending or when he needs to take a hit to make a play. He’s a very good skater and his ability to adjust to the faster pace of the SHL showcased his hockey sense and smarts.
Here’s a brief highlight video of Lundkvist’s exploits:
Watching video of Lundkvist, especially after he became acclimated to the SHL, was a treat. In our review, we saw a well rounded defenseman that was outstanding in the transition game. He did a good job reading plays in the neutral zone and adjusted well to the situation in front of him. The bulk of the video we watched was from later in the year (which was after he got comfortable in the SHL) and more than a few of us were surprised that early draft rankings had him so low.
Obviously, there are limits to simply reviewing all the available video, so we also utilize the expertise and knowledge of others who prioritize prospect scouting and are well connected to those who did the in depth study on these players, and for the most part found that the general assessment was similar to ours. His puck skills and passing were universally lauded, as was his skating and hockey sense. He rarely showed panic with the puck on his stick, remaining calm even under aggressive forechecking.
The fact that he was a late riser won’t scare off the Flyers. GM Ron Hextall’s first selection as GM, defenseman Travis Sanheim shot up the draft ranking in his draft year and looks ready to seize a job in the Flyers top four this season. Lundkvist seems even more well rounded than Sanheim, who had more work to do on his game away from the puck than Lundkvist at a similar stage in his development.
Bill Meltzer of Hockeybuzz recently wrote a great in depth prospect preview in which he used Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Anton Stralman as a comparison for Lundkvist:
Hockey Prospects Black Book, which is a fantastic resource for those who would like to be more versed in the draft, was even more lavish in it’s praise of Lundkvist.
In Lundkvist we feel we’re not only getting a talented prospect with a very high ceiling, but also a safe pick. His hockey sense and skating ability alone should translate into him being a very solid 5-6 defenseman, at the very least. But the full package Lundkvist brings to that table has us excited for a lot more.
He will fit in well with the Flyers stable of exciting young defensemen. Ivan Provorov is the Flyers top D-man after just two NHL seasons. Robert Hagg made the jump last season. Sanheim showed flashes and had a big boost in confidence after a mid season demotion to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms of the AHL. Philippe Myers is a big, smooth skating former undrafted free agent who is going to be knocking on the door this fall. Samuel Morin remains a bit of a question mark following a tough luck year. He’s likely out until February of 2019 with a knee injury, but still a viable prospect.
The only defenseman who is signed past 2019-20 on the NHL roster is Shayne Gostisbehere. Provorov is in the last year of his ELC this season. Veterans Radko Gudas and Andrew MacDonald have deals that expire in the summer of 2020. Barring trades, the Flyers are going to have a good number of job openings and Lundkvist would be a leading candidate to fill one. We also have some concerns about a lack of defensemen in the system that look like safe bets to end up as top four guys at the NHL level after Myers. Players like Mark Friedman, Linus Hogberg and David Bernhardt have promise, but still have a ways to go. Plus, after selecting two forwards with our first two picks, it made sense to grab a defenseman — and we had Lundkvist rated higher than any of the forwards on our list.