The Philadelphia Flyers selected Elliot Desnoyers in the fifth round of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft after trading away two seventh-round picks to get in position to draft him. The French-Canadian left-winger has quickly made their investment look favorable with offensive explosions in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL). He will now get the opportunity to play on one of hockey’s biggest stages for Team Canada at the World Junior Championships beginning on Dec. 26 in Edmonton and Red Deer, Alberta.
Elliot “The Destroyer” Desnoyers
Desnoyers played a secondary role as a grinder for the Moncton Wildcats during his first two seasons in the QMJHL, but he broke out offensively after the Flyers drafted him. He has expanded on his game and played a bigger scoring role since the Halifax Mooseheads acquired him following the 2019-20 season. He finished with 49 points (21 goals, 28 assists) in 37 games in 2020-21, and he has increased his torrid space in 2021-22 with 36 points (16 goals, 20 assists) in 23 games.
Elite Prospects called Desnoyers “a player who will selflessly run head-first through a brick wall if that’s what’s necessary for his linemates to succeed” prior to the draft in October 2020. Brent Flahr, Philadelphia’s assistant general manager who supervises the scouting department, spoke about the decision to trade up in the fifth round to make the selection. He attributed it to his relationship with John Torchetti, who lauded Desnoyers for his strong work ethic after coaching him in the QMJHL for part of the 2019-20 season.
The compliments continue to pour in. SportsNet called him a “tireless worker with a solid all-around game” last week when they mentioned the 19-year-old as a lesser-known player with a chance to crack Team Canada’s loaded roster. He’ll hope to showcase his ability as a depth player alongside four of the top ten picks from the 2021 draft and future NHL hopefuls Shane Wright and Connor Bedard. Carving out a role successfully on a team with the most talented junior players in the world could shed some light on his professional future.
Future with the Flyers
The Flyers dressed Desnoyers in their final home preseason game in October. The feisty 5-foot-11 winger put on a show for the crowd at the Wells Fargo Center, dropping the gloves with 6-foot-3 defenseman John Moore of the Boston Bruins. He lightheartedly answered a question after the game about his love for the boxing movie series Rocky that he revealed after he got drafted by Philadelphia.
“It was a part of my game that I wanted to show. Not to show that I’m a fighter because it was my first fight. It was to show that I’m ready to do anything to get my team the W. I just felt it was a good time because we were losing by one.”-Elliot Desnoyers
Former Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault joked that Desnoyers was just showing his French side. He rewarded the prospect with some power-play time, an indication that the organization was pleased with his offensive development. The outlook on his potential NHL future improved in camp despite his longshot odds of earning a roster spot. Given his outstanding point production in the QMJHL, his offensive skill might be enough to earn him a spot as a top-nine forward in the NHL.
Every indication points to Desnoyers as a character player who uses hard work to leave positive lasting impressions wherever he plays. The Flyers are an organization that has prided themselves on players with similar characteristics throughout their history. They drafted him based on a strong recommendation, and he continues to advance his already-strong reputation. He will have another opportunity to prove himself at the WJC for Team Canada.
Colin Newby is a freelance journalist from Delaware County, PA covering the Philadelphia Flyers for The Hockey Writers. He is an encyclopedia of useless sports knowledge with an uncanny ability to rattle off Flyers goaltending stats from 2004 and every Stanley Cup winner during his lifetime. The depths of his knowledge stem from spending his entire life following the Flyers and the NHL, from fan favorites like the Legion of Doom and Claude Giroux to no-namers like Andy Delmore and Branko Radivojevič. Colin also writes fictional sports stories and covers the Philadelphia Eagles.