Live downstairs in the media room at the NHL Draft. My first appearance at such an event and also the first time the Philadelphia Flyers have hosted.
Flyers will select 17th tonight in the first round. But there has been talk that the Flyers could be serious about trying to trade up. So no "coasting" in the rounds leading up to Philly's pick. I could all happen very quickly that Gary Bettman thrills the crowd with the announcement that "We have a trade...the Flyers have made a deal with Toronto and will now select 8th!!"
Rounds 2-7 are Saturday at 10am. Undoubtedly there will be some future Phantoms in that group. But not ALL of them. Some players drafted this weekend will be a part of the Phantoms in a couple of years. But others might fall through or may eventually be traded or something else can happen. Going back through past drafts, there are a lot of "hey, I remember that name" situations with a guy who had high potential at one time but never even played a single game in the Flyers' organization.
Some fans kind of assume that the teams should be able to project with borderline 100% accuracy and that just isn't realistic. They are drafted 18-year-olds who will continue to play in juniors or college...and are attempting to GUESS how good these players will be 3-5 years down the road (or more). It's a difficult task.
Tweet of the day comes from Steve Mears of NHL Network who reminded everyone that Henrik Lundqvist was drafted after 13 other goalies who would never play a single game in the NHL. 30 teams had their opportunities over and over to select Lundqvist, and continually passed because he simply didn't really grab them as having the potential to become an NHL starter (much less superstar). Conversely, those 13 goalies who were selected who never went anywhere really: Not uncommon.
A few more thoughts later.
David Andrews, President of the American Hockey League, just walked through and said a few hellos. The Lehigh Valley Phantoms have a table set up across the parking lot at the Flyers/NHL FanFest over there. A lot of fans in this area are extremely excited for the Phantoms return to Pennsylvania and many have questions about the team, tickets, arena, etc. Hockey fans are a hard-core bunch for the most part. Obviously the vast majority of the Phantoms fan-base will emanate from the Allentown area and surrounding Lehigh Valley communities. But there ill certainly be many fans coming up to Allentown from Philadelphia to attend some games as well.
I think back to all of the games the Adirondack Phantoms would play in Hershey and Wilkes-Barre. And it was impossible to miss all of the Flyers and even Phantoms jerseys in the stands. The fans would mark the games on the schedule for the Adirondack Phantoms to play an away game in Pennsylvania and were ready to travel. Keep in mind that it is a bit longer from Philadelphia to Hershey and Wilkes-Barre...about 2 hours. It's only about 1:10 or so from Philly to Allentown. And certainly there are those living a bit more in-between the two cities who are even closer. The Phantoms will be the Lehigh Valley's team for sure. But unquestionably there will be MANY fans coming up from Philadelphia to enjoy a couple games at a MUCH lower price-point than the Flyers.