The Philadelphia Flyers added a young goal-scorer to the mix in Tuesday’s first round of the National Hockey League Entry Draft, and concluded the draft with four more selections on Wednesday.
Emil Andrae, Zayde Wisdom, Eliott Desnoyers, and Connor McClennon all became the latest members of the organization after being drafted in the final rounds of the 2020 draft. It seems unlikely they will contribute to the big club just yet, but could provide a boost down the road for the Orange and Black.
Andrae was selected No. 54 overall by the Flyers and is a left-handed Swedish defenseman. Playing in the Swedish Junior League, Andrae led all defensemen with 38 points (11 goals, 27 assists) in 40 games this season.
He also appeared in 10 games for HV-71’s Men’s team in Sweden’s top professional league, the SHL. Andrae is also a two-time medalist with Sweden’s Under-17 team.
“I like his offensive dynamic,” Flyers scout Mark Greig said. “He’s a good skater and a heads up player that’s a real crafty puck-handler. He has vision. At times you can see him slow down the game in transition and then going forward. He can also be dynamic off the offensive blueline and find offense. I think that’s the strength of his game. He’s a little under-sized but he’s pretty aware so he doesn’t get himself into trouble.”
Wisdom was chosen with the No. 94 overall pick, joining from Ontario Hockey League team Kingston Frontenacs. The 5’10” right winger finished second on the Frontenacs in goals (29), assists (30) and points (59) in 62 games this past season (2019-20).
He was named the recipient of 2020 E.J. McGuire Award of Excellence, which is presented annually by the NHL to a candidate who best exemplifies commitment to excellence through strength of character, competitiveness, and athleticism. Current Flyer forward Travis Konecny (2015) is also a former recipient of this award.
“We really like him from a complimentary standpoint,” Flyers scout Rick Pracey said. “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.”
Offensive additions continued for the Flyers with Elliot Desnoyers being selected with the No. 135th pick. A left-handed left winger, Desnoyers is in his first season with Halifax in the Quebec Men’s Junior Hockey League. He registered 35 points in 61 games for the Moncton Wildcats in the QMJHL last season.
“He’s a guy that our guys in the Quebec league were high on,” Flyers vice president and assistant general manager Brent Flahr said. “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.”
Connor McClennon was the Flyers final selection in the draft after trading away two picks earlier in the day. McClennon currently plays for the Winnipeg Ice of the Western Hockey League (WHL) and is coached by James Patrick, the uncle of Flyers forward Nolan.
A 5’8″ right winger, McClennon scored eight goals in five games for Canada at the 2018-19 Under-17 Tournament. He missed most of last season through a collarbone injury, but finished with 49 points (21 goals, 28 assists) in 45 games for Winnipeg.
“One of the top picks in the Western League,” Flyers Assistant GM Brent Flahr said. “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.”
The Flyers will continue looking to improve the roster before the season begins, which could be January 1.