NHL News & Notes: Flyers First-Round Pick, Oilers & More

In today’s News & Notes, the Philadelphia Flyers could be shopping their first-round draft pick, the Edmonton Oilers have re-signed Patrick Russell and the Washington Capitals have re-signed Liam O’Brien.

Flyers Shopping First-Round Draft Pick

When the 2019 NHL Draft takes place at the end of June, the Philadelphia Flyers are set to make the 11th overall selection on a prospect of their choosing. While they are currently the team who are scheduled to be on the clock at that time, there could be another team who ultimately does the honors courtesy of a trade.

Philadelphia Flyers general manger Chuck Fletcher
Philadelphia Flyers general manger Chuck Fletcher (Jose F. Morena/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)

When speaking about his team’s draft position, general manager Chuck Fletcher mentioned the options they have as far as the 11th overall pick is concerned.

“It’s early. I’ve mentioned to teams that we’re in play but there hasn’t been a big push for the pick yet. If we keep it & stay at 11, we’re going to get a good player…It’s certainly a good chip that if moved, it could help.”

Related: THW Draft Guide – 2019 Edition

Fletcher wasn’t the only member of the Flyers’ management team who would talk about the draft as assistant general manager Brent Flahr, who is the point-man for running the scouts and draft for the Flyers, would also weigh in.

At number 11, somebody will fall to us. After the top two … I think from three to 15 there will be a lot of the same names but teams will have them ordered differently and I think that bodes well for us.

This draft is a little unique… especially the top 15, I think there are a number of different types of players, which is interesting… The way we look at it, we will take the best player at 11. I think as we go in the draft, we have some young defensemen that are in the NHL right now, and a couple coming, but we probably like to add defensemen depth to our organization going forward, whether it’s at 11 or the second or third round, we will see.

For the Flyers, there are certainly going to be options this year as far as players available and as far as trades go. While Flahr is correct that after the first two picks, there’s a similar skill-level between the next 13 or so selections, that can be interpreted in one of two ways. Either this year features a deep draft class or it’s a class that doesn’t feature high-end talent outside of the first two picks.

Oilers Re-Sign Russell

The Oilers have re-signed Russell to a one-year contract for the 2019-20 season. Russell was originally signed by the Oilers in 2016 out of St. Cloud State and has consistently improved every season he’s spent in the AHL with the Bakersfield Condors.

In his rookie season, Russell would score eight goals and 17 points in 68 games after having a breakout 20-goal, 41-point season in 41 games in his final season with St. Cloud. In his sophomore AHL season, Russell would see an uptick in goals (14), assists (13) and points (27) in the same number of games he played during his rookie season.

This past season, though, Russell would really take a step forward, setting a new career-high in all scoring categories once again with 18 goals and 40 points in just 51 games. He’d also score two goals and seven points in 10 postseason games.

In six NHL games, Russell has yet to record a point.

Capitals Re-Sign O’Brien

The Capitals took care of some minor-league business Tuesday when the re-signed O’Brien to a one-year, two-way contract worth $700,000. O’Brien scored 15 goals and 28 points in 74 games with the Hershey Bears last season and didn’t appear in an NHL contest.

Hurricanes goaltender Petr Mrazek
Hurricanes goaltender Petr Mrazek (James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports)

In 17 NHL games dating back to the 2014-15 season, all with the Capitals, O’Brien has scored one goal and two points.

The 24-year-old will remain in familiar territory with the Bears next season but his NHL upside doesn’t appear to be taking him to the Capitals’ lineup on a full-time basis any time soon.