Shoot the puck! Flyers' 2020 1st-round pick says you got it


Tyson Foerster is from Alliston, Ontario, and plays his junior hockey in Barrie, Ontario, for the OHL's Colts.

Provided the geography and Foerster's young age of 18, one could have made a safe presumption that the teenager had never been to Philadelphia or didn't know much about the city.

Can't hurt to ask, though.

"I’ve actually been to a Flyers game before," Foerster said Tuesday night in a video interview after being selected 23rd overall by the organization during the 2020 NHL draft. "My parents took me on a trip when I was younger. I actually went to see a Flyers game, I don’t remember much about it, I was pretty young."

Hey, how about that? He won't be totally new to hearing Philly holler "shooooooot!" at the lads in orange and black.

Just kidding, Flyers fans, just kidding.

The good thing, though, is Foerster won't mind hearing impatient or persistent pleas to fire that puck. The 6-foot-2, 194-pound winger is a prospect that looks to shoot, likes to shoot and is already pretty adept at shooting. With his shot-seeking approach and ability to let it rip directly off the pass, Foerster put up 80 points (36 goals, 44 assists) through 62 regular-season games for the Colts in 2019-20 (story and highlights here).

Assistant general manager Brent Flahr said the Flyers' entire scouting staff had seen Foerster a number of times. Maybe Foerster hasn't been deemed the smoothest or most gracious skater, but the club came away impressed with the kid's full repertoire to bury the puck in the net.

"He plays in Barrie, which is a team that is seen a lot just because of the proximity to Toronto and Toronto airport," Flahr said in a video interview. "He's a guy that started right from the beginning of the season, he's scoring. You can talk about his skating and whatnot, but the more you watched, the more you see him compete and the more you see him score, I think he gravitated up everybody's draft board. We're fortunate enough to get him."

In his all-important draft year, Foerster erupted for a six-point performance on Sept. 28, 2019, had nine multi-goal games and recorded two separate 13-game point streaks. TSN's Craig Button slotted Foerster as the 16th-ranked player in this class and ESPN's Emily Kaplan wrote how he is "one of the best shooters in the draft."

While the Flyers were taking the best player available at No. 23, they absolutely entered the 2020 draft with a need to add more pure goal-scoring type of players along the wing. Most clubs are constantly vying for those talents. There are playmakers across the NHL but effortless or natural goal-scoring is a sought-after commodity.

"I would say there are probably many more organizations than just the Flyers whose fan bases are clamoring for another shooter or another goal scorer," Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher said in a video interview. "Certainly Tyson fits the bill, he’s got a lethal one-timer, sets up on the left side there, the big right shot and he hammers it. He gets a lot on it, he overpowers goaltenders. He also has quick hands, he can make plays in around the net, I think he sees the ice really well. He’s a pretty complete offensive player.

"I think in his own words, he would tell you that he does have a shoot-first mentality, which certainly didn’t upset me. But it does take time, we’re going to have to work hard with Tyson and Tyson's going to have to work hard on his game to make sure he gets to the NHL. This guy, he has a pretty good all-around skill set offensively. For that time in the draft, we were pretty pleased to select him."

The Flyers liked how Foerster is self-aware of areas in which he needs to improve and works hard in those areas. Imperfection is OK in Philly; the city will always appreciate the hard-worker.

"The Flyers, I know they're a gritty team, like to go against Pittsburgh," Foerster said. "But that’s pretty much it, I’m just really excited to get to know more about them."

He knows the Penguins rivalry and likes to shoot. A couple of wins already for the 18-year-old from Alliston, Ontario.

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