Would Ron Hextall Consider Trading up in Draft?

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The draft is an exciting time in the world of hockey with the possibility of many trades and deals to be made. As the 2016 NHL Draft draws near, so do the rumors. Flyers general manager Ron Hextall has many options.

Trading up is one option, and even though it would go against his philosophy of previous seasons and a rebuilding process still ongoing, it could be a risk worth taking for the Flyers.

One spot in the draft the Flyers could look at is the second overall pick, currently held by the Winnipeg Jets. If Hextall chooses the right players and prospects to trade, it could be a smart move for the Flyers to trade with Winnipeg.

Patrik Laine, a star in the Finnish Liiga, is highly projected among the Top 3 prospects in the draft and very likely to go second overall behind Auston Matthews. Laine would make a fine addition to the Flyers if he were ready to start in the NHL, given the attributes fit the mold of a clear need for the Flyers.

Laine is a 6'4", 209-pound winger who can play on both wings. He is known for his shot, particularly from the top of the circle, and is a natural scorer. Due to his large size, he is not fast but he can play the puck masterfully. He was part of the Finnish World Junior Championship team which won the gold medal in 2016 and emerged into the spotlight as a prospect to watch. By all indications, he is a future superstar from his accomplishments thus far.

With that combination of size, speed and scoring, it sounds like just what the Flyers are looking for. The big question is if Hextall would be willing to make a deal here and which players he would have to put in a deal to get it done. The price would be high, but potentially worth it. After several years of a conservative approach, is a shot at Laine worth the risk?

Big risks sometimes make for big success. Winnipeg would probably require an established player like Sean Couturier or Jake Voracek and a prospect like Sam Morin for the second pick, in addition to the Flyers pick at 18th overall, and potentially another player from Winnipeg would be included in a deal. In Winnipeg's case, a player like Mark Scheifele would make sense.

This would give the Jets the bragging rights with four first rounders for two, a solid three lines, a power forward who was an All-Star, a highly-regarded defensive prospect and still the benefit of a first-round selection. Philadelphia would earn a potential superstar and a speedy forward who has the ability to score many goals.

It is highly unlikely that a deal like this be completed, if even considered by the Flyers, who have held firm on Hextall's policy of keeping prospects and draft picks as the years have progressed. Still, it's fun to imagine putting Laine and Scheifele both on the top line with Claude Giroux and what the Flyers would be capable of if that happened.

Denise Mroz is a contributing writer for Flyerdelphia. Follow her on Twitter @denisemroz10.

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