By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor
The Flyers added four new prospects to their pipeline on Wednesday afternoon, choosing to trade up in the draft twice to acquire talent they felt had fallen to them.
The day began with the Flyers keeping their second-round pick to select defenseman Emil Andrae with the 54th overall pick. The team traded up to the first pick of the fourth round at 94th overall to select center Zayde Wisdom. The team made another trade to move back into the fifth round with the 135th overall pick and selected winger Elliot Desnoyers. Finally, the team made their final pick of Day 2 in the sixth round with the 178th overall pick, selecting winger Connor McClennon.
Now that you know the names, get to know the four newest Flyers prospects with these scouting reports.
D Emil Andrae (2nd Round, 54th overall)
Emil Andrae is an undersized, offensive-minded defenseman who stands just 5’9” and 181 pounds, but he’s an entertaining player. He has good speed but needs to improve on his skating by adding muscle to his lower body to create more power in his strides.
He’s aggressive with the puck and will certainly jump into the play. Despite his size, he isn’t afraid to get involved in physical battles, but his size can be a problem in winning those battles and gaining possession. He’s a good communicator and helps his teammates a lot with his leadership and he certainly brings a poise to his game. Torey Krug is a good comparable for his style.
He’s adjusted well to the Swedish Elite league and has a lot of upside, just needs to continue to grow and improve on his skill set.
"With high-end offensive instincts and poise with the puck, Andrae is a defenseman who doesn't meet the prototypical size standards by any means.” – Chris Peters, ESPN
"He’s strong on his feet, which he leverages effectively along the wall. He’s physical for his size. And he’s calculated enough with the puck to recognize when he needs to hang onto it and when he just needs to advance the play.” – Scott Wheeler, The Athletic
"I like his offensive dynamic. He’s a good skater. Heads-up player that’s a really crafty puck handler. Has vision. At times, you can see him slow down the game in transition and going forward. Can also be dynamic off the offensive blue line and find offense. I think that’s the strength in his game. He’s little undersized, but he’s pretty aware so he doesn’t get himself in trouble." – Flyers scout Mark Greig
C Zayde Wisdom (4th Round, 94th overall)
Without question, the best story in the draft. He’s overcome a lot in his life as a grassroots hockey product and used that determination to learn and grow at the game. A year ago, he was an OHL rookie with Kingston and still adjusting to the game, posting low production of three goals and 10 points in 60 games. In his draft year, he made a 49-point jump, reaching 29 goals and 59 points in 62 games.
His work ethic and heart is off the charts. You won’t ever question his desire to succeed. In that sense, he’s got a lot of Wayne Simmonds in him – and ironically it was Simmonds who presented Wisdom with the E.J. McGuire Award for Excellence and has stayed in touch with the prospect since. But he dedicated himself to improving and being the best player he could be, becoming one of the OHL’s most improved last season and drastically raising his draft stock.
His skating is above average and his energy is tough to match. He’s a good passer and has a good shot that allows him to be productive and brings hockey smarts to the game by reading plays well. He can be a complete player and just needs to continue to hone his skills to reach the next level.
“There’s some real upside in Wisdom, who brings an untapped yet rare skill set to the table.” – Hockey Prospect Scout, Brad Allen
“He has already improved so much as a player, who is to say that his game, especially offensively, could not find yet another gear? This is a player you want in your organization as he would go through a wall to help secure a W.” – Brock Otten, McKeen’s
"We really like him from a complimentary standpoint. He’s a guy that can make plays. He thinks on the ice well. His puck game is a positive. We like that he provides a physical element. He’s strong. We think he’s competitive and he has a well-rounded game." – Flyers scout Rick Pracey
LW Elliot Desnoyers (5th Round, 135th overall)
Playing with Moncton in the QMJHL, he was part of arguably the best junior team in hockey at the time junior hockey stopped back in March and he was playing a lesser role on their third line. So don’t let the numbers fool you, while he had just 11 goals and 35 points in 61 games, he knew his role and played it well.
He brings a combination of high-end skating and hockey sense that makes him a versatile player and is a well-positioned player without the puck and is a high-energy player that likes to pursue the puck and does a lot of the dirty work, hard on the backcheck, blocking shots, getting in passing lanes and can provide good support as a forward.
Now with Halifax, he’s going to be in a leadership role and have a chance to increase his production. As a fifth-round pick, there could be a lot of upside for Elliot Desnoyers and his simple approach to the game could lead to a breakout season.
“He's so much better off of the puck than he is on it. If you want a player who will selflessly run head-first through a brick wall if that's what's necessary for his linemates to succeed, then look no further than Desnoyers. He plays an honest brand of hockey in the defensive zone and never flees a moment sooner than his team has secured the puck.” – EliteProspects Draft Guide
“He’s a good skater who always had his feet moving and he caused the opposing team to create a few turnovers by applying pressure or by stick checking correctly.” – Hockey Prospect Black Book
“He’s a guy that our guys in the Quebec league were high on. He played on a very good Moncton team last year. Didn’t have a huge role, but got better and better throughout the year. This year, he’s moved to Halifax and has a big role on the team. He’s had a real good start. He’s a real hardworking, energy two-way center and wing. He’s playing center right now. He’s a real smart player, real detailed player. A player all coaches like. Our guys just think he’s going to get better and better there so we stepped up on him.”– Flyers Assistant GM Brent Flahr
RW Connor McClellon (6th Round, 178th overall)
Connor McClennon was having an excellent production year when a collarbone injury ultimately shut down his season. To that point, he had 21 goals and 49 points in 42 games.
He’s a shooter and possesses a strong shot at that, but speed is really the component to his game that matters most. He’s got quick acceleration and needs to work on his abilities to make plays with the puck at the speed he wants to go, and he’s another undersized player. He models his game after a lot of the smaller-type forwards in the NHL, among them Johnny Gaudreau and Alex DeBrincat.
If he can sure up his strength and improve his play without the puck and not trying to force plays too much when he has it, he’s got the speed and skill combination to be successful down the road, especially as he advances to a leadership role with Winnipeg in the WHL.
The biggest thing holding McClennon back is that he isn’t that big. He has excellent puck skills and the ability to manipulate his shooting angle and the rush. If McClennon was 6’0″, he would likely be much higher on draft boards and teams wouldn’t be as hesitant to take a risk in the early rounds of the draft. – Tony Ferrari, DobberProspects
“Connor is small but competes hard. He has good skating ability. He has a good shot and gets it off quickly. Makes a lot of good plays with the puck. Good level of physicality for a smaller forward. Drew a power play with his compete level on a defensive zone draw. He drew another one when he took a high stick to the face. Plays in all game situations for Winnipeg. Forces a massive amount of turnovers with his compete.” – Hockey Prospect Black Book
"One of the top picks in the Western League. Has been a prolific scorer in his age group. His competitiveness is very strong, very good motor. Very good shot and loves to shoot. Players his size need that. He has to get stronger, obviously, and he is working on that. We had a bit of an inside edge on him. He is good friends with Ridly Greig." – Flyers Assistant GM Brent Flahr