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[#] Mon May 01 2017 13:55:32 EDT from rss

Subject: NHL draft 2017: What do you think the Flyers should do with the No. 2 pick?

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Hischier. Patrick. Trade?

I don’t know if it’s a bad case of Monday morning allergies or if I’m actually still hungover from partying following the Flyers’ 11-spot jump in the 2017 NHL Draft Lottery, but all of the world’s Claritin/Pedialyte couldn’t make me feel as good as those ping balls did on Saturday evening.

We’re going to have two months to really dissect what the Flyers should do with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, to be held June 23 and 24 in Chicago. But there are really only three possible answers, as we currently see it.

And of those three answers, one of them will be decided for us by Ray Shero and the New Jersey Devils when they make the No. 1 overall selection.

Pick Nolan Patrick

Nolan Patrick, the 6’3, 198 pound center and former teammate of Flyers’ defenseman Ivan Provorov, has been the expected No. 1 pick for at least a year now. He finished atop NHL Central Scouting’s rankings both midterm and in last month’s final tally. He scored 102 points — 41 goals and 62 assists -- in his second-full WHL season a year ago, and was named the postseason MVP.

But injury woes this season limited him to just 33 games — in which he scored 46 points -- and the spotlight has been held up to him long enough that he’s starting to show spots. Some scouts have turned the page on his spot atop the rankings.

The injury issues don’t seem long-term from what people are saying, but it is at least a touch concerning that Patrick has been injured every season dating back to 2012. A year ago, he had sports hernia surgery that’s very similar to the surgery Shayne Gostisbehere and Claude Giroux had a year ago, and we all know how that appeared to effect them this past season.

In any event, Patrick is a dynamic player with a booming shot and that ever-so-fun combination of both speed and size. He’ll be a fantastic addition to the Flyers prospect pool, or maybe even their 2017-18 roster, should he fall to them. HOWEVER, this might be the most revealing and troubling thing about Patrick. It’s nearly inexcusable:

I’d rather take a kid who smokes pot than a guy with these types of character issues. I mean, at least stoners like pizza and chocolate.

Pick Nico Hischier

We don’t know his thoughts on pizza, but Nico Hischier — known to Philadelphia sports radio callers as “Nick His-cheer”, it’s actually pronounced heesh-er — is Swiss, so he probably likes chocolate.

Patrick’s limited play this season gave ample opportunity for Hischier to jump up in the rankings, and some are already saying that he deserves the top spot instead. He was the No. 2-ranked prospect in both the midterm and final rankings from Central Scouting, and he’s had a great first year in North America with the QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads. The QMJHL is a pretty offense-heavy league and all, but 28 goals and 48 assists in 57 games is good no matter the league.

It was really the World Juniors that pushed the Hischier hype into overdrive, though. As an 18 year old, Hischier scored seven goals and added eight assists for Switzerland in 11 games, and he single-handedly almost carried his team past the United States with a two-goal performance in a 3-2 quarterfinal-round loss.

Both players are centers, with Hischier coming in a bit smaller at 6’0, 179 pounds. The injury issues might sink Patrick’s chances of a No. 1 pick, while Hischier might ultimately fall simply because there’s just one North American season on his resume.

Hischier definitely wins in the flashiness department as compared to Patrick. The New Jersey Devils are probably the dullest, least-flashy thing to ever be created by human beings, so maybe that’ll be enough to for Hischier to fall to No. 2.

Trade the pick

The third option would be to move this pick, of course. Personally I think talk of this is a little silly given that there just isn’t that much of a drop between the two guys at the top of the draft, and the Flyers definitely have the need for a young, game-breaking center over the long-term. Hischier and Patrick both fit the bill.

Ultimately, the Flyers are going to get a very talented young player here with the No. 1 or No. 2 overall pick. Patrick is probably more NHL-ready given his size and that he’s played more time on North American ice, but Hischier could certainly make an NHL club as early as next season too.

If you think that they aren’t ready, or if you are enamored with one player but not the other, maybe you feel you can accelerate the process by moving back in the first round and acquiring an NHL player with this pick. I don’t see it happening, and I think the Flyers should stick at the No. 2 spot. But you never know what kind of offer might be on the other side of the phone.

What do you want Philadelphia to do?

[#] Mon May 01 2017 17:28:42 EDT from rss

Subject: NHL Draft Lottery history: The Flyers made history with the biggest jump ever

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Five, six, eight, twelve.

We said all along that the Philadelphia Flyers had near-impossible odds to win the 2017 NHL Draft Lottery, and ultimately they did not win the first overall pick. But they obviously were the big winners in the event, jumping 11 spots from 13th overall to 2nd overall. There was just 2.4 percent chance of that happening.

It wasn’t just the biggest jump this year, though. It was the biggest jump all-time in the NHL Draft Lottery, dating back to the first drawing in 1995.

That’s partially due to the rules. From 1995 to 2012, the lottery allowed any team to move up as many, but no more than, four spots. Beginning in 2015, the NHL allowed any team in the lottery to win the first overall pick, and starting in 2016 — in part to avoid the tanking that many teams blatantly performed during the Connor McDavid sweepstakes the year prior — the lottery was expanded to include the top three picks.

There’s a fresh drawing for each of the three picks, with the odds changing based on each. The Flyers had a 2.4 percent chance in the second-place drawing that they won, while they had a 2.2 percent chance in the first-place drawing and a 2.7 percent chance at third. More drawings means a more of a chance for a big jump like we saw from the Philadelphia-assigned ping pong balls this year.

Three drawings were made on Saturday night at the studios of Rogers’ Sportsnet in Toronto -- one for each of the top three picks, in order. Here’s how the NHL explains the method, which was overseen by the accounting firm Ernst & Young:

For each of the three drawings, 14 balls, numbered 1 to 14, were placed in a lottery machine. The machine randomly selected four balls. The resulting four-number series (without regard to selection order) was matched against a chart that shows all possible combinations and the clubs to which each was assigned. The chart showed that the Devils had been assigned the numbers (1-5-6-12) that were expelled in the first drawing, followed by the Flyers (5-6-8-12) in the second drawing and the Stars (2-6-8-13) in the third drawing.

It took 10 years, but we’ll now officially consider the ping pong balls absolved following their betrayal of the Flyers in the 2007 NHL Draft Lottery.

[#] Tue May 02 2017 07:00:02 EDT from rss

Subject: Tuesday Morning Fly By: It's Tuesday and we still have the #2 overall pick.

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Today's open discussion thread, complete with your daily dose of Philadelphia Flyers news and notes...

*So you've won the number two overall pick in the NHL entry draft. Now what do you do? [BSH]

*If the Experts' opinions are any indication, there's a slightly great chance we end up with Nico. []

*One thing is for sure: whoever we get with this pick is going to seriously alter the timeline this team has been working on. In a good way. [CSN Philly]

*Ever wonder exactly how the NHL handles the draft lotto? And doesn't mess anything up? Wonder no more, friends. [Sportsnet]

*If you've been watching the Pens-Caps series as closely as I have, you're probably also really glad the Flyers didn't make a move for Kevin Shattenkirk. [The Washington Post]

*The "NHL in Seattle" rumors are still alive and kicking. They might not have gotten expansion but they may end up with a team after all. [King 5]

*This is a fun off-season topic: what's the best single-game performance by an unlikely hero that you can think of? I'm going with Carbomb's playoff OT game winner against the Devils. That was fun. [The Hockey News]

*And finally, new BSH Radio today! Listen here before the episode officially drops at 10AM.

[#] Tue May 02 2017 11:00:06 EDT from rss

Subject: The Nico v. Nolan debate rages on.

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The gang is joined again by Travis Hughes to gush about how much fun it is to move from #13 to #2 in the NHL Entry Draft.

This is it, everything is coming up Philly. Bill, Kelly, Steph, and Charlie are joined by Travis Hughes to discuss the Flyers WINNING the draft lottery (ok, getting number two). The implications for the team next year and the future of the franchise are discussed at length, as well as which prospect each member would prefer - hint, the answer is yes. Nolan Patrick or Nico Hischier, both better than anyone they would've gotten at 13!

You can listen below or on your mobile device thanks to iTunes, Google Play, and Soundcloud.

Follow us on twitter @BSH_Radio and tell us what you think!

[#] Tue May 02 2017 11:00:06 EDT from rss

Subject: Should Flyers fans hope for Nico Hischier or Nolan Patrick?

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The gang is joined again by Travis Hughes to gush about how much fun it is to move from #13 to #2 in the NHL Entry Draft.

This is it, everything is coming up Philly. Bill, Kelly, Steph, and Charlie are joined by Travis Hughes to discuss the Flyers WINNING the draft lottery (ok, getting number two). The implications for the team next year and the future of the franchise are discussed at length, as well as which prospect each member would prefer - hint, the answer is yes. Nolan Patrick or Nico Hischier, both better than anyone they would've gotten at 13!

You can listen below or on your mobile device thanks to iTunes, Google Play, and Soundcloud.

Follow us on twitter @BSH_Radio and tell us what you think!

THE FLYERS WON THE DRAFT LOTTERY! We are talking about it live on tonight's all-new BSH Radio.

Posted by Broad Street Hockey: For Philadelphia Flyers Fans on Monday, May 1, 2017

[#] Tue May 02 2017 12:49:41 EDT from rss

Subject: Flyers prospect Matej Tomek selected in USHL Draft, appears likely to reset NCAA career

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The goaltender has not been able to crack the lineup in North Dakota, and a one-year jump back to the USHL seems likely.

We all know the Flyers goalie pool is absolutely stacked these days, starting in the AHL with Anthony Stolarz and Alex Lyon, and going down the list to Felix Sandstrom in Sweden, Carter Hart in juniors and Merrick Madsen in college.

One guy who often gets forgotten, however, is the University of North Dakota’s Matej Tomek. He was recruited to UND while Dave Hakstol was still there, and he was selected by the Flyers in the third round of the 2015 NHL Draft. He debuted at No. 20 in our Top 25 Under 25 list that offseason, but he hasn’t done a darn thing since.

I’m not really even exaggerating. After putting up a .928 save percentage in 33 games with the USHL’s Topeka Roadrunners in his draft year, Tomek went to North Dakota, where in two seasons he has played just ... two games.

He is clearly the odd man out in North Dakota with Cam Johnson, their starter for the last two seasons, preparing to come back for his senior season. Coach Brad Berry, who replaced Hakstol behind the Fighting Hawks bench, has also recruited two goalies behind Tomek — one who will be a freshman this fall and another who will be a freshman next fall.

Tomek has potential, but he’s just not playing with his current team. So it makes sense that he would look to leave UND, and on Tuesday morning the first step in that process took place when Tomek was taken by Waterloo in Phase II of the 2017 USHL Draft.

Any player under the age of 20 and not under protection of another USHL team is eligible to be taken in Phase II of the USHL Draft. Tomek is 19.

You probably have the same questions I did when I saw this news break this morning. It’s weird for a college player to take a step back and go back into the USHL right?

As Chris Dilks of SB Nation College Hockey explained to me, however, this would be an easy way for Tomek to transfer to a new school without missing a year of the game. Were he to transfer directly from North Dakota, he’d have to sit out a year. But if he goes back to the USHL and plays a year with Waterloo, he’d then be able to play for another school for the 2018-19 season. A school that might actually put him in net.

We’re guessing that’s what’s happening here, and that Waterloo knows of his plans, because they otherwise would not have wasted a draft pick.

Tomek also has the option to give up the NCAA route completely and go to major junior, where some team would probably love to have him. That’s what Anthony Stolarz did in 2013, when he left the University of Nebraska-Omaha to join the OHL’s London Knights after struggling through the first half of his freshman year.

[#] Wed May 03 2017 07:00:02 EDT from rss

Subject: Wednesday Morning Fly By: Still talking about lotteries!

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Today's open discussion thread, complete with your daily dose of Philadelphia Flyers news and notes...

*Hey did you know that the Flyers moved from #13 to #2 in the NHL Entry Draft? Let's relive the magic! [Flyers]

*Possibly #1 overall Nolan Patrick says he's excited to play for the Devils OR the Flyers. But probably more us than them let's be real. [Inquirer]

*But let's not forget about our pal Nico Hischier. [The Hockey Writers]

*Speaking of, your favorite hockey podcast spends an entire hour thinking about whether we'd like to see Nico or Nolan in the orange and black. Have a listen! [BSH]

*So part of the reason the Flyers were able to jump up from 13 to 2 is because if the way the draft rules changed. Here's how some past drafts would've looked with today's rules. [TSN]

*The Entry Draft isn't the only fun we have to look forward to, there's the Expansion Draft as well. Let's keep trying to guess who the Golden Knights are going to pluck from us. [Inquirer]

*Goalie prospect Matej Tomek has been taken in the USHL draft, which is interesting. [BSH]

*Speaking of prospects, despite a first round exit from the playoffs the future is super bright for the Phantoms. [The Morning Call]

*In that vein, let's think about what the roster might look like up in Allentown next year. [The Morning Call]

*Sidney Crosby has suffered another concussion, and whatever you feel about him, that sucks. [Puck Daddy]

*There's a looooottttttt of talk about the two hits that resulted in this injury. "Culture of violence" and such. [The Hockey News]

*Obviously, the well-laid path to the Cup final that we all thought the Penguins had this year is a bit rockier now. [ESPN]

*DGB: can any team beat the misery of the Toronto Maple Leafs? Every Flyers Fan: hold my beer. [Sportsnet]

*And finally, it's offseason, nothing is happening, so enjoy this super cute Fanpost about how cool it is to be a hockey fan sometimes. [BSH]

[#] Wed May 03 2017 13:46:48 EDT from rss

Subject: Oskar Lindblom named 2016-17 top forward in Swedish Hockey League

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A big honor for a guy who might just make the Flyers next season.

Many people would consider the Swedish Elite League — or, wait, it’s called just the “Swedish Hockey League” now -- the second-best hockey league in the world. Better than the KHL. Better than the AHL.

Smart people can disagree, but the point is that it’s a really good league.

And Flyers prospect Oskar Lindblom was just named the SHL’s best forward for the 2017-18 season. I will note that he is only 20 years old. Here’s the terrible Google translation of this:

After the recently concluded season 2016/2017 has been voted and Oskar Lindblom, Brynäs IF have been awarded Forward.

In the vote that preceded this, Oskar been totally superior and in a class by itself, says Hockey Journalists President Hasse Andersson.

Oskar have also done a fantastic season. The soon to be 21-year-old striker scored in the 61 tournament matches (all Brynäs played, 52 of the regular season, 14 in the playoffs), a total of 26 goals and played until 35, then a total of 61 points. ...

His career has been marked out and Oskar Lindblom has constantly evolved in the right direction. His style of play is ground covering, pungent and technical. He has a good shot and is also a great challenge players.

Lindblom ranked No. 6 in our February 2017 ranking of the Flyers Top 25 Under 25. That was a six-spot jump from his September 2016 ranking of No. 12.

If you’re good enough to be the best forward in one of the best hockey leagues in the world, you’re probably good enough to crack the 2017-18 Philadelphia Flyers lineup out of training camp. Just saying.

[#] Wed May 03 2017 14:47:58 EDT from rss

Subject: NHL Draft 2017: Nico Hischier has one clear advantage over Nolan Patrick

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Only one player is AHL eligible next season.

The Nico Hischier vs. Nolan Patrick debate is ultimately kind of pointless for us here in Philadelphia, as the Flyers are simply going to get the player that the New Jersey Devils do not pick with their No. 1 overall selection.

But that shouldn’t — and won’t — stop us from talking about which player we would rather have, and it will surely be a topic of discussion on this blog all the way up until the 2017 NHL Draft. So ... uh, let’s keep doing that.

We’ve already had a decent bit of discussion about the NHL-readiness of both Patrick and Hischier. While both players could be NHLers as soon as this fall, there’s a sense that Patrick is slightly more NHL-ready just because he’s played North American hockey his whole life and because he’s both bigger and more physically mature.

One key thing neither player has is professional experience at a high level. You can easily foresee a situation in which Hischier/Patrick do not make the Flyers out of training camp this fall, but in which you’d rather have them play with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in the AHL than return to major juniors, where they are already proven stars.

That leads us into one major advantage in Hischier’s column — he can play in the AHL this coming season, while Patrick cannot. Let’s explain, because transfer rules for junior players are complicated as hell.

Normally, a major junior player — somebody in the OHL, QMJHL or WHL — needs to wait until they are 20 years old to play in the AHL for a full-season, with the lone exception being that they can be loaned to the AHL once their junior season ends like defenseman Philippe Myers did this spring. The junior leagues have this transfer rule in place because it allows them to keep their talent for as long as possible.

There are loads of players who would prefer to leave for the AHL to advance their development as opposed to just beating up on junior competition. But as you can imagine, the junior teams want to sell tickets and win games, and therefore need their best players to stick around as long as possible.

Patrick is subject to these rules as a North American player. He is property of the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings and even once drafted by an NHL team, he can only play for either that NHL team or the Wheat Kings. Nowhere else.

Hischier is not subject to these rules because technically speaking, he is not property of his junior team, the QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads. He’s under a junior contract with SC Bern of the Swiss league, and he’s been loaned to the Mooseheads, who merely own his major junior rights. Because of that, he can play in the NHL, AHL, QMJHL, or could even go back to Switzerland and play for SC Bern in a quality pro league there.

This is essentially the same thing that Alex Nylander of the Sabres did last season, going from the OHL to the AHL after he had been loaned to his junior team from a Swedish club prior to his draft year. Finnish-born Julius Honka, drafted by the Dallas Stars, jumped from the WHL to the AHL follow his selection in the 2014 NHL Draft as well.

Hischier was asked about his options for 2017-18 in an interview back in April, and he basically said that he’d do whatever the team that drafts him feels is best:

If you won’t make the NHL next season, would you play in the AHL or go back to Switzerland?

That’s tough to say. I’ll have to wait until after the draft and see what the team that drafts me think would be best for my development.

You’re under contract with SC Bern until 2019, right?

Yes, but it’s just a junior contract. It’s not a professional contract.

It might be irrelevant if Patrick/Hischier make the Flyers/Devils rosters this fall anyway, but it’s clear that this is a check in the pro column for Hischier.

[#] Wed May 03 2017 17:27:56 EDT from rss

Subject: Flyers prospect Carter Hart wins WHL Goaltender of the Year award ... again

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There’s one goalie with Hart. That’s it

Earlier today, we told you about how 20-year-old Philadelphia Flyers prospect Oskar Lindblom was named the top forward in the Swedish Hockey League -- one of the best hockey leagues in the world -- for the 2016-17 season.

That wasn’t the only major accolade handed out to a Flyers prospect today though. This afternoon, we learned that Carter Hart of the Everett Silvertips won the 2016-17 WHL Goaltender of the Year award. It’s the second-straight year that Hart has won the award, because he is wonderful.

The list of those who have won this award is pretty damn solid. Lots of names we recognize on this list:

Hart has one more year of eligibility in the WHL and will likely use it, since playing in the NHL next season seems unlikely no matter how much Kurt wants it to happen.

[#] Wed May 03 2017 18:15:24 EDT from rss

Subject: Hockey team in Claude Giroux

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Go Lumberjacks!

Claude Giroux is easily the most famous native of Hearst, Ontario, a small town of roughly 5,000 in the northern reaches of the Canadian province.

The town has a new junior hockey team starting next season, the Hearst Lumberjacks. They’ll play in the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League, a Junior A level league. A few weeks ago, the Lumberjacks released their logo and uniforms, and I’m not sure how we missed this until now but ... they honor Giroux in basically every possible way.

Our logo / Notre logo Co-design by Jennifer Harley Please visit her website

Posted by Hearst Lumberjacks on Monday, April 17, 2017

The big red beard. The Claude Giroux Foundation logo on the arm of the lumberjack. Hell, even the orange and black as the color scheme. Oh -- and the team’s uniforms:

Our jerseys / Nos gilets

Posted by Hearst Lumberjacks on Monday, April 17, 2017

Giroux has had a big hand in supporting this new team, apparently donating a bunch of money to help them get off the ground. Here’s more from team president Patrick Vaillancourt via the Timmins Daily Press:

The five trees in the background outline the shape of a crown, a tribute to the Hearst Lumber Kings of the local minor hockey association and the teams Giroux grew up skating with.


Notably, Giroux never even hinted at the idea. It was the Lumberjacks and their board of directors who decided to honour their hometown hero by including his personal design on their logo.

“As a tribute to Claude, because we're not shy about this — Claude did give us a hand in contributing to the team — so we just wanted to thank him, and that was our way of saying thanks to Claude,” explained Vaillancourt.

“His financial support to the team is one of the reasons we have a team now in Hearst, and we really, really appreciate what Claude did for the town.”

It’s cool to remember just how important players like Giroux are to their hometowns, particularly when those hometowns are small places like Hearst.

[#] Wed May 03 2017 18:35:34 EDT from rss

Subject: We have our first spotting of

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Shortly after he signed with the Eagles, Chris Long talked about how he was looking forward to sitting next to Fletcher Cox a lot this season.

I would think you wanna, you wanna always be sitting next to your d-line buddy. I think me and Fletcher will make a lot of plays together, so hopefully, we’re probably going to be in the d-line huddle a lot. You can figure that one out. […] I will always be sitting to the left of Fletch on the bench.

As it turns out, we didn’t have to wait long to see the first glimpse of LONG COX. Behold!


I’m sure it’s only a matter of time until we see LONG SMALLWOOD and LONG JOHNSON as well. And if Long and Cox wanted to get really creative, they’ll find a way to find this happen.


[#] Wed May 03 2017 18:10:46 EDT from rss

Subject: Roger Goodell encouraged former Cowboys player to troll Eagles fans at the 2017 NFL Draft

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There were a lot of glorious moments of Eagles fans trolling Cowboys fans at the scene of the 2017 NFL Draft in Philadelphia.

There was the moment when Carson Wentz ripped a Cowboys hat off of a Dallas fan. There was another moment when Cowboys fans got so upset about the Eagles’ trolling that they (unnecessarily) complained the police.

But the trolling at this year’s draft wasn’t one-sided. By now everyone’s probably seen the following video of former Cowboys wide receiver Drew Pearson trolling Eagles fans at the draft. Check it out below.

As it turns out, Roger Goodell encouraged Pearson to troll the Philly faithful. That’s surely only going to get Goodell more boos when the draft (hopefully) returns to the city next year.

Pearson appeared on PFT Live this morning and said that before he decided to talk a little trash to the Philadelphia fans, he ran it by Goodell backstage, and Goodell was on board.

“I’m thinking he might say, ‘Oh, no, don’t say anything like that, that might get them too fired up, might cause a riot out there in that crowd.’ But to my surprise, he encouraged me to say that and to get the crowd even more riled up,” Pearson said of his conversation with Goodell.

But I gotta be honest, for as much as we all hate the Cowboys, Pearson’s trolling is commendable. I respect that he leaned into the hate. And Eagles fans did an even better job of booing him very loudly.

There’s been talk about the NFL Draft being held in Dallas in the future. I personally hope it never leaves Philadelphia, but if it does, I’d love to see Brian Dawkins be up on stage trolling the Cowboys and their fans. Payback is coming.

[#] Wed May 03 2017 17:44:17 EDT from rss

Subject: Eagles claim former Redskins linebacker off waivers

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This player has a new home in the NFC East.

At a time where the Eagles are expected to cut veterans in order to make room for undrafted free agent signings, Philadelphia has added a new non-UDFA to their roster.

The Eagles claimed former Redskins linebacker Steven Daniels off waivers, according to Aaron Wilson. Washington released Daniels on Tuesday.

Daniels was selected by Washington in the 2016 NFL Draft after playing four years at Boston College. Daniels finished his BC career with 266 tackles (29 for loss), 10.5 sacks, three interceptions, and one forced fumble.

The 24-year-old Daniels measures in at 5-11, 243 pounds. He missed his entire rookie season in 2016 after tearing his labrum in training camp.

The Eagles showed pre-draft interest in Daniels last offseason. The team brought him in for a pre-draft visit and put him through a private workout. Pro Football Focus listed Daniels as one of most underrated prospects in the 2016 draft class.

Despite being the anchor of a stout defense at Boston College, Daniels is one of the most underrated prospects in the 2016 NFL Draft. He was not only the best linebacker in the ACC, but he also received the highest grade among all college linebackers, which is largely due to his work in defending the run. His run stop percentage of 15.3% led all Power-5 inside linebackers and 50 of his 56 tackles in the running game were stops, which is a very impressive number. Although, he improved in pass coverage in the 2015 season and allowed only one touchdown in coverage; it is still to be seen whether he can be a three-down linebacker in the NFL, which will probably impact his draft position.

The addition of Daniels gives the Eagles more depth at linebacker. He’ll have a chance to compete for a roster spot this summer if he can stay healthy.

[#] Wed May 03 2017 15:43:21 EDT from rss

Subject: Eagles Rookie Profile: Corey Clement is a big running back who doesn

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An insider's perspective on one of the Eagles' undrafted rookie free agent signings following the 2017 NFL Draft: Wisconsin running back Corey Clement.

The Philadelphia Eagles signed undrafted rookie free agent Corey Clement shortly after the 2017 NFL Draft. In order to learn more about the new Eagles running back, I reached out to SB Nation's Wisconsin blog: Bucky’s 5th Quarter. Badgers writer Owen Riese (@RieseDraft) was kind enough to answer questions about Clement. For more Clement, check out the Q&A I did with B5Q.

1) Can you sum up what his college career was like?

His college career was a bit of a roller coaster. He started off encouragingly, 3rd string behind James White and Melvin Gordon, and then as a sophomore behind Gordon. Rushed for 949 as a backup. Junior year he was expected to take over per se, however due to a groin injury that nagged through camp eventually cost him most of his season. As a senior, however, he came back strong, and played in 13 games, rushing for 1,300 plus yards and 15 TDs.

2) What are his strengths?

He's a big back and runs that way. He definitely doesn't shy away from contact, he'll grind out every yard a rush has to offer. He also possesses very quick feet in the hole and cuts well for a man his size. Also has nice hands.

3) What are his weaknesses?

He lacks breakaway speed and is a bit stiff athletically. He's had fumble issues throughout his career. Not much of a creator. He'll get you what's blocked. Was taken off of the field on 3rd downs.

4) Are you surprised he went undrafted?

A bit, yes. I didn't expect anything before the 5th or 6th round, but I think he was a victim of the strong running back class and over 50 defensive backs being drafted.

5) How do you see his NFL career playing out?

I think he can settle in as a rotational back. In my opinion he can play a bit on 3rd down, but gave way to Dare Ogunbowale, who might end up as a 3rd down back for the Texans. He'll never be a starter, but could carve out a nice 5-7 year career as a reserve.

6) What’s your impression of him off the field? What was up with that incident where he punched someone?

Full disclosure, I've only interviewed him during the 2016 season, but all of my encounters with him have been very positive. He's spoken a bit about 2015, and how he was all about him, and being the next great Badger back, rather than being a great teammate. 2015 was very humbling for Corey, and he's regained the trust of Coach Chryst and his teammates. From my understanding, it was a bit of an ugly incident which involved Clement at his apartment complex. He apologIzed for the event, and was suspended for the final game of 2015 against Minnesota, Wisconsin's primary rivalry game. He hasn't had any issues since.

[#] Wed May 03 2017 12:01:11 EDT from rss

Subject: Rasul Douglas brings size, a cool name, and playmaking ability to Eagles defense

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More info on the new Eagles CB.

The Eagles made a smart move by doubling down on day two at the cornerback position when they selected Rasul Douglas with their third round pick. Considering the need at cornerback and the riskiness of the Sidney Jones pick, it was only logical to invest another high pick on corner. Only this time, the pick should be seeing playing time immediately.

A lot of things stand out about Rasul Douglas. First of all, he has a cool name and that should be noted. Secondly, he just looks like an NFL cornerback. At 6’2”, 209 pounds with 32.5 inch arms, Rasul Douglas is built like a Madden Create a player. That is the type of size NFL teams covets because those types of players have the upside to neutralize receivers at the line and body them at the catch point. For Douglas, while his name is great and his size is greater, his best asset that he brings to the Eagles football team is playmaking.

Last season, Rasul Douglas picked off eight passes in the Big 12 compared to only 4 allowed touchdowns. This is not bad considering the high volume passing offenses in that conference. According to Pro Football Focus, he was targeted 93 times last year and only allowed 44.1% completion, picking off eight passes and batting down 10 more. Douglas has very good eyes in terms of tracking the ball and his huge frame often allows him to outplay receivers in man coverage. Douglas was used in a heavy zone scheme and was at his best coming forward to attack the ball after diagnosing.

Here is a good example of Douglas’ ability to locate and make a play on the ball in zone coverage. While it is not an interception, it is a tone setting hit where he places his helmet on the ball to knock it free. This type of awareness in zone is a massive asset for Jones, as is his general awareness of the ball.

This play, while the result of a bad initial play that I will show you later, shows more of Douglas’ ball skills. He is able to pursue the running back from behind and punch the ball out for a turnover to change the play. In general, Douglas is always looking to make a play on the ball and the Eagles defense ins in desperate need of that big play ability from the cornerback position.

Douglas has some rawness as a man coverage corner. Despite his immense size, West Virginia used him sparingly as a press cornerback, opting for off man and zone. His rawness in press means that his hand placement when asked to press is inconsistent and bad jams can lead to easy releases and him finding himself off balance. Down the field, Douglas also has a tendency to blatantly interfere with receivers before the ball is in the air. There is a method to being physical with receivers through the route, but Douglas is often a bit too obvious. A part of that could be his speed. His combine testing was unimpressive for a cornerback and that lack of speed and agility shows up in his play.

Even on a simple crosser, Douglas immediately gives up the inside release because he is playing off and does not have the quickness to match with the receiver, he is easily scored on here. His speed is absolutely something that can be compensated for given his length because he can use it to close space with the ball in the air and also learning to press at the line will mitigate a receiver’s speed advantage. However, like was said before, Douglas has a lot to learn as a press cornerback.

Last among Douglas’ issues are how he deals with blocks by wide receivers.

In both plays, Douglas shows passivity in attacking the blocks despite his size advantage and that ultimately gives up the big play in both instances. Douglas shows a general willingness to tackle and, overall, is not even a bad run defender, but he needs to be more physical when asked to take on perimeter blocks to limit the outside running game.

NFL Comparison: Because of his size, general lack of speed, but plus ball skills, Douglas is very similar to Brandon Browner. The league did not get to see Browner in his prime for a long time due to him spending part of his early career in Canada. However, Browner developed into a playmaking press cornerback who was able to close the speed gap with size, physicality and ball skills. Douglas has a lot of the same tools and if he can learn to press more consistently, he could be a similar player.

Given the talent on the Eagles roster, Douglas figures to see the field sooner than later. Given his experience as a zone coverage and off man cornerback, he fits into the Eagles scheme nicely. Although, for the sake of both parties, I would love to see the Eagles try to employ more press man with Douglas over time to allow him to grow into using his frame the way it should be. Due to his lack of speed, it is hard to see Douglas ever be a top cornerback on the team. However, his size and playmaking ability should make him an impact defender. The plan for him should be to use him as the outside cornerback in three receiver sets, allowing Patrick Robinson to slide inside. Do this for a few games and see how comfortable he gets before moving him outside full time. While there will be some growing pains given where Douglas is raw, the game will slow down for hm and he will give the Eagles the same ball hawk that he gave West Virginia.

[#] Wed May 03 2017 09:00:07 EDT from rss

Subject: NFL Draft 2017: Here

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Insight from NFL personnel people

Prior to the NFL Draft each year, Bob McGinn of The Journal Sentinel puts together a series of posts ranking draft prospects based on what he hears from anonymous scouts. It's always an interesting look at what actual talent evaluators think about the players. Now that this year’s draft is over, let's take a revisit what was said about some of the players the Philadelphia Eagles drafted. Note that not all Eagles picks were included in McGinn’s rankings.

Derek Barnett

Third-year junior started 36 of 39 games. “Interesting study,” said one scout. “Played down but outside backer for us. Great kid. Dirty tough. Has balance, agility, strength. I don’t know if he has enough length.” Arms were just 32 1/8 and he lacks speed. “Like him, but I just don’t see traits,” said a second scout. “He wins due to effort. I’ve been burned by those kinds of guys in the past so I’m a little bit gun-shy.” Finished with 197 tackles (52 for loss) and 33 sacks, two more than Reggie White’s school record. “Only wins from the edge,” a third scout said. “I don’t see any counter. I see special instincts to be able to time the snap and get off the ball. Average speed, average power.” From Nashville. “He’s ahead of everybody in know-how,” said a fourth scout. “He is a tremendous worker. You’re going to get something out of him. But I think the game’s going to catch up to him some on our level.”

Barnett, who will obviously be playing 4-3 defensive end for the Eagles, was actually listed under the 3-4 outside linebacker section. He was the third ranked player at that position, behind Takkarist McKinley at No. 2 and, oh yes, Charles Harris at No. 1. Scouts graded Barnett as a first or second round pick.

Despite his impressive college production, it doesn’t seem like NFL scouts love Barnett. It’s not that they think he’ll be bad as much as it is they don’t think he’ll be anything special.

Sidney Jones

It all changed for Jones when he blew out his Achilles running through drills at pro day in mid-March. “That’s a shame,” one scout said. “My guess (now) is third round. I think if teams have extra picks they might look at him earlier. If he has a negative it’s probably strength. For a lean guy he tackles well. Really a good cover guy.” Two teams said they had Jones slotted second behind Lattimore before the injury. “Good worker, willing to do extra,” a second scout said. “Really smart. Doesn’t get rattled. I question his long speed.” Third-year junior with 39 starts. Finished with 145 tackles, 9 picks and 30 PBUs. “More of a finesser,” said a third scout. “He can run and mirror anything. He wasn’t real physical with the jam. Not very big.” Added a fourth scout: “He’s 186, 4.51. There’s not a lot of special traits.” From Diamond Bar, Calif.

Jones ranked fourth out of this year’s cornerback group and was graded as a first or second round talent. He was obviously selected one round earlier than the scout in this write-up thought he would be.

Just like with Barnett, scouts were down on Jones due to a lack of “traits.” That’s interesting because it seems like the theme of this Eagles draft included not worrying about athleticism as much and prioritizing game film and production instead.

Donnel Pumphrey

Counting bowl games, he finished third in all-time rushing behind Ron Dayne and Tony Dorsett. “Well, everybody’s going to have doubts on his size, and I do, too,” one scout said. “I’ve never seen a 178-pound guy never get hurt. That guy is hard to tackle. Ask that big pretty guy from UConn (safety Obi Melifonwu) about the Senior Bowl when he planted his helmet right in his chest and ran over his (expletive). Might be the toughest guy in the draft. I don’t know what you do with him but I’ll be surprised if he’s there in the fifth (round).” Carried a phenomenal 1,059 times for 6,405 (6.0) and 62 TDs to go with 99 receptions for 1,039. Wonderlic of 21. Just five reps on the bench. “He’s a midget but is he exciting,” a third scout said. From Las Vegas.

Pumphrey ranked as the 12th best running back. He was graded as a fourth or fifth round pick.

The Eagles figure to use Pumphrey as a rotational player. It’s hard to see him being the team’s lead back, but he should have a role as a rusher and a pass catcher.

Jerod Evans

Blew out an ACL at Air Force in 2013. Opted out of the military, played two years of junior college and went 10-4 for the Hokies last season. “He’s raw but I love his presence,” said one scout. “Off the field he has a long, long ways to go as far as the football learning and background. He really should have stayed in school. He’s big and strong and athletic. You like that he went there and took over the job and had a damn good year.” Completed 63.5% for a rating of 105.1. “A real project,” a second scout said. “Probably the same type of arm strength and same type of athlete as DeShone Kizer, but Kizer is more advanced. He’s got a strong arm but he has no idea where he’s throwing the ball.” Wonderlic of 21. From Mansfield, Texas.

The Eagles reportedly signed Evans as an undrafted free agent. He ranked as the 10th best quarterback in this year’s draft and was listed with a fifth round grade.

Perhaps Evans could push for a third string quarterback spot. The Eagles might hope to keep him on the practice squad this year.

Cameron Johnston

Former Australian Rules Football player from Geelong, Australia. Tutored by Nathan Chapman, a free-agent punter for the Packers in 2004 training camp. “Aussie,” said one coach. “They’re always more mature. Older. But he didn’t kick many regular NFL-type punts. When he went to the combine he was very impressive.” Four-year starter in a scramble-rollout scheme with a 44.9 average in 211 punts. “He was just doing what the coach (Urban Meyer) was telling him to do,” a second coach said. “My biggest question was, how was he in the pocket, the way we do it in the NFL? At the combine he impressed me. He’s got a big leg, he gets it off quick and he can hold.”

The Ohio State punter the Eagles signed in undrafted free agency was the second best ranked player at his position this year. He was graded as a seventh round pick or UDFA.

Johnston likely won’t be able to beat out Donnie Jones, but the Eagles will give him a look this summer.

[#] Wed May 03 2017 07:00:02 EDT from rss

Subject: Eagles News: Philadelphia earns best NFL Draft grades in the NFC East

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Philadelphia Eagles news and links for 5/3/17.

Let's get to the Philadelphia Eagles links ...

NFC East draft grades: Eagles round out offseason with defense -
After devoting their free-agent resources to offense, the Eagles committed their draft capital to defense. Barnett gives the Eagles one of the best pass rushers in the draft. He is a "Call of Duty" player -- that is to say, he has exceptional hand-to-hand combat skills -- with the potential to be a double-digit sack producer as a rookie. Jones isn't expected to make a major contribution as a rookie, due to his lengthy recovery from a torn Achilles tendon suffered at his pro day in March. If he fully recovers, he gives the Eagles a Pro Bowl-caliber corner on the island. Hollins is a slick vertical pass catcher with A-plus skills as a special teams demon. He could blossom into an impact player in that underrated phase of the game. GRADE: A-

How Eagles fans graded Philadelphia’s draft picks - BGN
High marks for the Eagles.

BGNR on SportsRadio 94WIP: Day 3 of the NFL Draft -
Ben Natan makes his radio debut (with John Barchard and James Seltzer) as the BGN Radio crew breaks down the Day 3 picks LIVE from the NFL Draft. Plus, Pat Gallen and Sales Guy John hop on the show to discuss the draft experience and much more.

A doctor's opinion of Sidney Jones' likelihood of playing in 2017 and returning to 100 percent - PhillyVoice
"The question would be, will he be 100 percent, and I guess the answer to that is, he could be," Dr. Miller explained. "He’s got all the time in the world to rehab and focus on it, and get his leg strong, and like Roseman said, he is young. With a 45-year old, they never get back absolutely perfect. They always have a little bit of atrophy, but they do really well. The best chance to get back to sports is to operate on it, and that’s the treatment that he got, so it gives him the best opportunity. There’s a good chance that he’ll do very well. Whether that will be as good as if he never hurt it is another question."

Will Eagles draft pick Sidney Jones fully recover from his Achilles tendon injury? -
However, returning to sports following Achilles tendon rupture can be difficult. A 2009 study by Parekh et al showed that 30 percent of NFL players did not return to play following this injury. A more recent article from 2016 in the American Journal of Sports Medicine reported on 80 Achilles tendon ruptures from March 2003 to 2013. They found a return to play rate of 72.5 percent with a return to play time frame of one year +/- four months. The study showed a significantly higher proportion of defensive lineman who sustained the injury. Their results showed a 9.3 percent decrease in return to play with each increasing year of age and 6.3 percent decrease with each increasing year of experience.

Sorry, Browns: Eagles still winning the Carson Wentz trade - ESPN
Impressive in terms of volume, but to be determined what this group will amount to. Peppers and Kizer will be key to how this group, and this trade, is viewed. The Eagles, of course, got Wentz, who has impressed enough during his one year at the facility to convince management that it has a franchise quarterback on its hands. And they turned that Cleveland fourth-rounder into Donnel Pumphrey, the most prolific running back in FBS history, after trading up in a deal with the Minnesota Vikings.

Updated Look at RB - Iggles Blitz
Not overpaying for a RB also felt very much like a Ravens move. Ozzie Newsome never panics. He lets the board come to him. He knows there will be weak spots on his team, but is willing to take a chance on the guys already on his roster. He also knows there will be moves to be made in July, August and September. No one is going to see a lineup of Wendell Smallwood, Darren Sproles, Donnel Pumphrey and Corey Clement/Terrell Watson and think the Eagles are done. They would love to upgrade. That could mean a trade for Mark Ingram. That could mean signing a veteran like Rashad Jennings. The Eagles could also sit tight and see how the young guys play this spring and summer.

Three Days On The Parkway -
Growing up in Northeast Philadelphia, I felt like I’ve spent a good portion of my life sticking up for my hometown. I went to college in New York and whenever my Philly roots came up so did my need to defend the city. I always had to make the case that Philly wasn’t just a “little brother” to other, bigger cities. But this weekend made all that defensiveness fade away. As 250,000 people filled the Ben Franklin Parkway and millions more watched from home, Philadelphia – my city – shined so very brightly. As the host of the 2017 NFL Draft it was on a large stage and took advantage of every star-struck moment.

Has Howie Roseman really addressed the Eagles' biggest needs? -
Do they return an improved team? In some ways they do. They are stronger along the defensive line and at receiver. Overall, however, the issues laid out above have in a large part not been solved -- a problem that, if this team struggles next season, will fall directly on the shoulders of executive vice president of football operations Howie Roseman.

Eagles 2017 draft picks all have one thing in common - CSN Philly
There was a trend with the Eagles' choices in the 2017 NFL draft, from the first pick down to the last. There were no workout warriors taken solely on the basis of insane measurables, no "raw" athletes still learning to play their position or the game of football. Every single selection had the same thing in common. They produced in college, frequently at a historic level, or least among the leaders in the nation.

Eagles may have to add another running back - Morning Call
Add to this the following statement from Pederson: "You know as well as I do, when [Ryan Mathews] is right, he's right. He's a big, powerful back and I loved watching him run last year, obviously. But with the second year of Wendell now coming, it's going to be a big year for him, getting back out there feeling comfortable with the system and just continuing to develop his role. You mix Darren in there ... and there was a couple of games where we increased his load last year, and I think he's capable of doing that. And now with Donnel, adding another Darren Sproles-type back, he's got another skill set that we can utilize. So I don't want to say running back by committee, but at the same time, I feel like we've got enough to get the job done, especially with our offensive line and our tight ends too."

Will Corey Clement make an impact with the Philadelphia Eagles? - Bucky’s 5th Quarter
Bleeding Green Nation’s Brandon Lee Growton previewed what’s to come for the Wisconsin product and New Jersey native with the historic NFC East organization.

Can this man earn an NFL linebacker’s friendship with breakfast tacos? - SB Nation
At this point in my life, I go through most days without making a new friend. Sure, an acquaintance or associate here and there, but fewer opportunities to connect with individuals in meaningful, emotional ways. So when I was presented with the chance to build a special friendship with Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Jordan Hicks, I jumped in my car and set forth on a journey neither of us will soon forget.


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[#] Tue May 02 2017 17:30:39 EDT from rss

Subject: When Things Don

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From The Eagles.

This feature is a weekly piece on titled From The Eagles, featuring Eagles Insider Dave Spadaro. The intention is to provide a perspective directly from the Philadelphia Eagles in this forum for the great fans who visit BGN.

From the time the 2016 NFL season ended, the speculation began. The questions started. How would the Eagles attack the offseason? What would the plan be? So with that came a list of “These-are-going-to-happen” events for the Eagles in free agency, the draft and the season. How many of them have come true? Here is a mini-list as well as some post-draft thoughts about the Eagles.

1. Trading LB Mychal Kendricks

How many rumors did we hear about Kendricks being traded? How many times was Howie Roseman asked about Kendricks and the linebacker’s future in Philadelphia? All of those whispers down the lane meant … nothing. Kendricks remains. He’s the starting WILL linebacker here. Kendricks played only 27 percent of the defensive snaps in 2016, the fourth straight year his playing time has decreased. To be fair, some of those reductions were due to injuries, but in 2016 Kendricks was healthy all the way through. He just didn’t play all that much.

So the prevailing thinking out there was that Kendricks would be traded or released. Anything. Just not on the roster on May 2. Kendricks is here and remains the starter at WILL.

2. Running back would be a high priority in the 2017 NFL Draft

I thought so, too! It just seemed logical to conclude that in a draft filled with running backs, the Eagles would get one very high in the draft. Maybe as early as Day 2. But it didn’t happen, as the Eagles went defense with their first three picks, and then traded in the fourth round and took a wide receiver (Mack Hollins) with the first pick of Day 3. The Eagles did use a fourth-round pick on the record-setting Donnel Pumphrey, but he is not, at first glance, an every-down back in the NFL.

Running back remains a position to watch, because the Eagles just don’t have a go-to running back on the roster who is going to carry the football 20 times a game. What happens here? We’ll see. The coaching staff will use Pumphrey creatively. It’s going to be really interesting to watch. Running back, remember, is only as good as the players around him. The Eagles are strong up front and they have weapons in the passing game. Maybe they add to the position. Maybe they go with what they’ve got. In 2000, when Duce Staley was injured, the Eagles turned to Darnell Autry for, gulp, 112 carries. Late-season addition Chris Warren had 85 rushing yards as the starting running back in the playoff win over Tampa Bay that season. It can be done, even with less-than-ideal personnel.

3. The Eagles would trade C Jason Kelce

Maybe the questions will stop now, although Howie Roseman was asked about Kelce on Sunday. The Eagles believe in Kelce. He’s here. He’s going to be here. Kelce is the starting center.

Will the questions stop? Probably not. The Eagles are stacked pretty darn nicely along the offensive line. There is going to be competition at every position, center included.

4. Eagles would not be major players in free agency

I sure didn’t think the Eagles would sign Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith and Chance Warmack on the first day of free agency. I didn’t think they would trade for Tim Jernigan. Chris Long and Patrick Robinson? Yeah, I felt those kinds of short-term investments would be just about right for a tight-to-the-salary-cap team, as the Eagles were, and are. Roseman pulled off the deals to add some star power to the free-agency class, though. He made it happen. The Eagles did a whole lot more in free agency than I expected.

5. First-round pick would be a splashy selection

A running back? Maybe. A cornerback? I think there were many convinced that the Eagles would take a corner in the first round, and maybe in the second round as well. And if a player like tight end O.J. Howard slipped through the cracks, perhaps the Eagles would make a surprising selection.

No doubt there was a strong school of thought that the Eagles were going to make a “splashy” pick at 14 overall. Instead, they stayed true to their board, selecting defensive end Derek Barnett from Tennessee. The Eagles fans’ reaction was mild, at best. Barnett was anything but splashy. But he was among the team’s top eight players on the board when the draft started and the Eagles liked Barnett too much to pass on. So he’s here and could be a Day 1 starter, and if he plays the way the Eagles think he can play, Barnett makes the entire defense better.

6. Team would play back-to-back games in California

It didn’t quite work out that way. Instead of playing in California on back-to-back weekends to lighten the travel load, the Eagles play in Seattle and then California, so it’s back-to-back travel games no matter how you slice it. The air travel time from Seattle to Los Angeles is 2 hours, 40 minutes. This ain’t going to be a picnic. And there is no etched-in-stone plane to spend that week in either Seattle or Los Angeles.

Sometimes, reality just doesn’t follow the script.

[#] Thu May 04 2017 07:00:01 EDT from rss

Subject: Thursday Morning Fly By: In which there is a cartoon Claude Giroux

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Today's open discussion thread, complete with your daily dose of Philadelphia Flyers news and notes...

*We are still talking about having this #2 pick. Just get used it it, we've got a few weeks still. Anyhoo, there is one very clear advantage that Nico Hischier holds over Nolan Patrick that might make him the more attractive player to take 1st overall. [BSH]

*And here's another set of reasons why we might want to settle into the idea of Nolan Patrick being our guy. [Hockeybuzz]

*And for funsies, here are five games that could've changed the lottery results. Alternate universes are fun. [The Hockey News]

*Let's see what The Experts think the Flyers' offseason plans should be. [TSN]

*Charlie's favorite prospect Oskar Lindblom has been named the top forward in the SHL, which is pretty awesome. [BSH]

*AND Carter Hart won goalie of the year AGAIN! [BSH]

*Our Canadian boys are absolutely crushing it at the IIHF Worlds right now. [Yahoo Sports]

*The fine folks over at Hockey Graphs have put together a ranking of all of the current NHL GMs and, spoiler alert, Ron's just okay. [Hockey Graphs]

*On the AHL playoff format and why it is dumb and needs fixing. [The Morning Call]

*Here's a list of players that are exempt from the expansion draft for...reasons. [ProHockeyTalk]

*There has been a lot of talk about the Nikita Zaitsev extension being a pretty decent model for what we should expect Shayne Gostisbehere to get from the Flyers. So it seems worth looking at why the Leafs fans think the signing is a good one... [Pension Plan Puppets]

*...and why they think it might be bad. [Pension Plan Puppets]

*Speaking of the Leafs, they apparently want to add more defense. We have some of that! [ProHockeyTalk]

*And finally, in what might just be the coolest thing ever to happen, the Hearst Lumberjacks of the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League have released a new logo with A CLAUDE GIROUX THEME. [Timmins Press]

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