2020 NHL draft profile: With ‘real mature game,' defenseman Ryan O'Rourke shouldn't be overlooked


The entire picture for the 2020 NHL draft remains cloudy with the ongoing suspension of the 2019-20 regular season because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Where will the Flyers be picking? When and how will the draft be held? Those questions are currently unanswered.

The Flyers hold seven total selections and, as of right now, are slotted with the 26th overall pick.

“I think it’s a decent draft — I don’t know if it’s top end," Flyers assistant general manager Brent Flahr said April 25 in a phone interview with NBC Sports Philadelphia. "The top 10, 12 guys look like pretty high end. There’s a bit of a drop-off, but there’s some depth to the draft for a couple of rounds. We don’t know totally where we’re picking, but we have an idea. We have some guys targeted we feel we would be very happy with in the top couple of rounds and then we still have some work to do to clean up the mid-to-later-round picks.

"Obviously you’d want the big, scoring, playmaking center, anybody does. We’re in a position where we’ll likely be taking the best player available. 

"Realistically the players you draft now are two or three years down the road, best-case scenario. Some cases you get surprised. But by then, your team needs are different. We’ll do the best we can, we have an idea of where our holes are going forward and places where we certainly want to add depth to, whether it’s center or scoring winger or defense, we’ll see what happens. We’ll prepare, we weigh guys against each other, the pros and cons and we’ll do the best we can there.”

This month and into June, we'll continue to break down options for the Flyers at No. 26.

Ryan O'Rourke

Position: Defenseman
Height: 6-foot
Weight: 178
Shoots: Left
Team: Soo Greyhounds

Scouting report

O'Rourke is particularly appealing because his defensive game is already refined. The 18-year-old takes immense pride in playing in his own end, while his offensive game features untapped potential.

As team captain, O'Rourke led the OHL's Greyhounds with a plus-16 mark and scored 37 points (seven goals, 30 assists) in 54 games.

O'Rourke doesn't get enough credit for his adeptness at pushing the puck north. He can get up ice and is an intelligent passer.

“A real steady player," Flahr said May 12. "He’s a 6-footer, but a competitive guy, his outlet passing, moving the puck up ice is probably his bread and butter. He can defend, he can do a little of everything. You’ve got to be a little careful of your viewings because he plays so much up there, you have to pace yourself, so there could be another level to what he can do. Plays a real mature game I think is the best description of him.”

Fit with Flyers

As we noted when looking at William Wallinder, the Flyers are well-stocked at defensemen but won't shy away from drafting the best player available to load up even more on the back end.

O'Rourke fits the bill of blueliners the Flyers like — guys with quality size and mobility. The Soo defenseman might be a fringe first-rounder, so he's expected to be available for the Flyers. The club is likely looking more for a center or winger in the first round, but O'Rourke brings a lot to the table. The Hockey Writers' Mark Scheig believes O'Rourke will be the steal of the draft.

It would be somewhat surprising if he's the Flyers' pick at No. 26. If O'Rourke is in their ballpark during the second round, though, he'll definitely have the club's attention.

(Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

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