It feels like it was just last week when Flyers fans got the surprise of the offseason moving from the 13th spot all the way up to picking second in the upcoming NHL entry draft.
The excitement has not subsided and fans continue to evaluate and discuss potential draft options for the Flyers. There is the potential for another unexpected splash of exciting news regarding a potential CHL free agent, OHL standout Darren Raddysh.
Named the OHL Defenseman of the Year, Raddysh helped the Erie Otters win the league's regular-season title and the OHL championship. Erie reached the championship game of the MasterCard Memorial Cup. The Otters fell a goal short in the championship game, but looked dominant most of the way. Raddysh led all defensemen in the tournament and ended up tied for fourth in scoring for the tournament with three goals and eight points in five games.
In fact, Erie had four of the Top-5 points leaders for the tournament. Only Jeremy Bracco of the champion Windsor Spitfires managed to crack the Top-5 among the remaining tournament participants. Only captain Dylan Strome, forward Alex Debrincat and Darren's brother Taylor Raddysh had more points.
The 21-year-old right-handed blueliner is a free agent who went undrafted and is playing as an over-ager for Erie.
Rumors are already swirling about Raddysh being highly sought after by both San Jose and Vancouver. The list will not end there. Many other NHL teams will be in the running for the services of the right-handed shooting defenseman.
Darren Raddysh: Player Profile
Weight: 201 pounds
Hometown: Caledon, ON CAN
2017 Stats: 62 Games, 16 Goals, 65 Assists, 81 Points, plus-62
2016 Stats: 66 Games, 8 Goals, 32 Assists, 40 Points, plus-27
- 2016-17 OHL Champions
- 2016-17 OHL Defenseman of Year
- 2016-17 OHL Overage Player of Year
- 2016-17 OHL Most Points by Defenseman
- 2016-17 OHL Highest +/- by Defenseman
Raddysh truly excelled at every aspect of the game in his final junior season.
In the regular season, he doubled his point production from the prior year, tallying 81 points in 62 games for a 1.4 points per game ratio. He led all defensemen in scoring and was second overall in the OHL with a plus-minus rating of plus-62.
Raddysh has been a solid two-way player each year with positive plus-minus ratings in all five seasons of OHL play -- plus-12, plus-26, plus-32, plus-27 and plus-62 -- for a total of plus-159 in 272 games over his career.
As an over-ager Raddysh tallied 16 goals and 65 assists in his final season. He was third in the OHL in assists only two behind his brother Taylor for the league lead.
In the OHL playoffs, Raddysh tallied eight goals and 14 assists for 22 points and went plus-14 over that span. That was good enough for ninth overall. NHL Draft standouts, all projected for first-round selections, dominated the eight spots above him in that category.
Raddysh was certainly a late bloomer and there were not a lot of irate comments when he was passed over in the draft. However, he has proven he can be a highly effective 200-foot player and offensive defenseman.
The Flyers have a very strong stable of talented, young blueliners. Where they are not strong is balance on the blueline. Currently, the only right-handed defenseman the Flyers have on their roster is Radko Gudas. Gudas is not a puck-carrying offensive defenseman, so the need is there.
The Flyers have Philippe Myers, who will likely be joining the Phantoms this fall barring an outstanding training camp. He will most likely begin his NHL career the following season.
Even with Myers, the Flyers could still use a player of the caliber of Raddysh on the right side of the ice. Landing Raddysh would also give GM Ron Hextall the flexibility to package one of his left-handed defensive prospects in an effort to trade for a significant talent, should the Flyers choose to go that route.
In Philadelphia, he would have to have the camp of his life to break into the lineup and even then someone else would have to be moved. It is not out of the realm of possibility and he brings attributes that are a scarcity for the Flyers.
It would be a longshot, especially given the Flyers current crop of defensive prospects. But if landed, Raddysh could find himself making an impact and garnering a solid base of fans in the City of Brotherly Love.