The Battle For Bedard, 3/18 Update
The Flyers faced the Buffalo Sabres last night. They played a good game, and won 5-2. Obviously, this sets them back in the race to land top-prospect and potential offensive game changer: Connor Bedard. Let’s do a full daily update.
Arizona and Vancouver still have 2 points on us. While we passed Montreal, that only moves us to 6th worst in the league. We’re hanging around top-5 right now, and last night didn’t really change that in any meaningful way.
The two teams to watch out for are Montreal and Arizona. They’re the teams who will be the difference between finishing 5th and 7th in the standings.
A Silver Lining?
Owen Tippett had a hattrick. It’s pretty awesome to see him dominating the transition game like he has been.
Cam York had an assist on one of Tippett’s goals. His ability to no-look the pass into the shooting pocket opened the top corner on the short side, and Tippett nailed it.
Joel Farabee scored a goal for the first time since 1897.
If you are going to win a hockey game, it might as well be due to the contributions of young players who fit into your future.
He’s Not Bedard; You Still Want Him: Oliver Moore.
In the interest of talking about this draft in a way that goes deeper than just Connor Bedard, every update I write for this race for Bedard will feature one prospect who isn’t Bedard that you want anyway.
This edition’s prospect spotlight is Oliver Moore. He’s the best skater in this draft. His top speed and his edgework are both high-end. He has dynamic feet, and the hands to match.
His 60 points in 49 games is good production, but might seem less eye popping than the trio of Will Smith/Gabe Perreault/Ryan Leonard.
Read more: What will the Flyers do with Cutter Gauthier? >>
I chalk that up mostly to the NTDP stacking their top-line while leaving Moore to drive play with–to say it frankly–lesser players. He’s delivered.
His shooting threat and his playmaking are both above average, though his playmaking in particular lacks the singular creativity of his teammate Smith.
If the Flyers are going to draft a player with a “200 foot game,” they couldn’t do much better than Moore. He’s a modern understanding of the concept.
He doesn’t just check and get tip-ins. He drives offense, and impacts the game in all zones.
Every aspect of the sport of hockey, Moore excels. But he’s a maestro in transition. I see Dylan Larkin style upside here.
Projected pick range: #5-#8