Why the Flyers should draft Simon Nemec

Following a dismal 25-46-11 season, the Philadelphia Flyers are in a prime position to capitalize in this year’s draft, which will be held July 7-8 at Bell Centre in Montreal. The first round kicks off at 7 p.m. ET Thursday, while rounds 2-7 will commence Friday at 11 a.m. ET.

The Flyers have six total selections, and at least one could be a top defenseman.

Simon Nemec

Position: Defenseman

Vitals: 6’0″, 190 lbs.

Shoots: Right

Team: Nitra (Slovakia)

Birthdate: February 15, 2004

Birthplace: Liptovsky Mikulas, Slovakia

Scouting Report

For Nitra in Tipos Extraliga, Slovakia’s premier pro league, Nemec scored a goal with 25 assists in 39 games. However, he stepped it up in the playoffs, where he was nearly a point-per-game player with five goals and 12 assists in 19 games. Furthermore, Nemec collected a bronze medal with the Slovakia national team at the 2022 Beijing Olympics. He followed up with an impressive performance at the 2022 IIHF World Championship in Finland, with six points (one goal, five assists) in eight games.

Nemec is not an overly physical defenseman because, in all honesty, he hasn’t developed his full man power just yet. But he has also exemplified that he isn’t afraid to use that physicality, even if the other players have a size advantage. Once that brute strength evolves, that will be another tool in the arsenal.

Nemec awes with his ability to move the puck – both with his feet and in his passing – and his mental composure is remarkable for such a young player. Combined with his creativity, hockey IQ, speed, and competitiveness, Nemec has the potential to be a top 4 two-way defender.

The Flyers have not had a top-heavy defensive core dating back to the 2009-2010 season when Chris Pronger and Kimmo Timonen led Philly to the Stanley Cup Finals, where they ultimately lost in six games to the Chicago Blackhawks. 

Since then, the Flyers have been consistent in one area – missing the playoffs. Philly has failed to make the postseason three out of the last four years. 

If they draft Nemec at No. 5, that would be a solid building block to the rebuild, as they also have another young player with puck-moving prowess in 21-year-old southpaw Cam York, the Flyers’ 2019 first-round selection. Like Nemec, he can move the puck with his feet, and his rink intelligence is second-to-none. Put these two together or perhaps link Nemec with another lefty in Ivan Provorov, and we could be talking about a future Stanley Cup contender. And dare I say, a potential Conn Smythe Trophy recipient.

Nemec has shown that he can step it up when it matters and has exhibited great poise as a prospect. Let’s see if he can show it in the pros.

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Ryan O'Hara

Award-winning sportswriter from Denver, Colorado.

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