The Flyers announced on Monday that they have a new head coach, and while the anticipation of what Dave Hakstol will bring to the Flyers will only grow until October, there is plenty of unfinished business to take care of in the offseason.
The draft is the next major event on the Flyers schedule.
With that, our series on potential Flyers prospect options continues.
We've highlighted most of the top prospects not named Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel. Today, that continues with a look at London Knights winger Mitch Marner.
Marner is an 18-year-old forward who is versatile up front – he played both center and right wing – while scoring 44 goals and adding 82 assists for 126 points in 63 games this season for London in the OHL. Yes, you read that correctly. That's two points per game.
To put it in perspective, McDavid had 120 points on the season albeit in 47 games – a rate of 2.55 points per game. Marner finished second for the OHL scoring title, three points behind Dylan Strome who had 129 points. Marner missed five games in the regular season, which ultimately cost him that title.
So much of the focus is on McDavid's ability to score at will and be a playmaker that ranks him up there in potential with the greats of hockey. Marner may not be too far behind.
No question about it, this is a dynamic player.
He's an excellent skater, a playmaker on offense with great hands and vision that rivals McDavid.
Marner is a hard worker in all zones. He's very effective in being a puck possession player and once he gets the puck, he's smart and displays strong determination to find ways to help his team score.
Perhaps the one thing that is alarming is his size. Marner is 5'11" and 163 pounds. That said, he isn't one to shy away from puck battles or take a hit to make a play.
He could bear to get better in his defensive play, but he displays the skills that could lead to improvement in that area, especially if he's playing for a coach that doesn't tolerate anything less than a 200-foot game.
The only other area of concern is the potential injury risk. Marner missed five regular season games and suffered an upper body injury that forced him to miss the remainder of the playoffs after he scored nine goals and had 16 points in the first seven games of the OHL.
Serving as an assistant captain for London, Marner displays the leadership qualities that garner a lot of attention. He's the type of player who will sacrifice the body to make a play and use a strong sense of hockey knowledge and skill to make his teammates better.
Marner would be a prime target for the Flyers as a player who can play wing. He can score in all situations – he has the ability to dangle and create space while being a presence near the net to pick up rebounds or goals from in close. And he has more than a few highlight-reel goals with moves that could certainly help the Flyers in the shootout.
That said, here's the problem for the Flyers. Marner is a potential Top-5 talent. And he'll likely be gone by the time the Flyers pick at seven.
But, there's always that chance. If Ron Hextall is looking for a scoring winger, it's hard to not like the package that Marner brings.
After McDavid and Eichel, there's a good chance someone goes defenseman in the Top-5 and that will most likely be Noah Hanifin. Strome is also a pretty safe bet for the Top-5.
That leaves Marner in a group that includes Lawson Crouse, Ivan Provorov and Mikko Rantanen as the picks that takes us straight through the eighth pick of the draft.
If Marner slips out of the Top 5 and stays on the board until the Flyers pick at seven, don't be surprised if Hextall jumps all over this.
That's how good Marner is. He's a sure-fire Top-5 talent. And the four teams after Edmonton and Buffalo that passed on him may end up regretting it.
Kevin Durso is managing editor for Flyerdelphia. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.