This new Flyers draft pick should give fans some flashbacks to a recent and well-loved former Flyer.
Zayde Wisdom became a member of the orange and black when he was selected in the 4th round with the 94th overall pick by the team and GM Chuck Fletcher. The Toronto, Ontario native starred in the OHL for the Kingston Frontenacs during the last two years. Last season he exploded offensively, scoring 29 goals and 30 assists for 59 points in 62 games. In addition to playing at essentially a point a game pace, he had 55 penalty minutes and played with a lot of jam. He’ll bring a physical element to his forecheck and fire and determination to every shift.
If that is reminding you of Wayne Simmonds you’re on the right track. A fellow Canadian of color from Toronto (Wisdom’s parents are Jamaican and First Nations specifically Metis Nation) Wisdom has looked up to Simmonds for a long time. He’s also participated in Wayne’s charity, Road Hockey Warriors Charity Ball Hockey Tournament for underprivileged children, regularly. It is a cause that is special to Wisdom, as his mother Mairri worked multiple jobs to make sure he and his brother Zaccharya could keep playing hockey while she raised them alone with the help of their grandmother Kitty.
Wisdom is a player who recognizes his differences and has embraced them. It allowed him to win the 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. The award began in the 2014-15 season and was given to Travis Konecny, who is comparable to Wisdom in size and style of play. He’s 5’10” and 200 pounds, so he can make an impact on the forecheck, and his low center of gravity makes him difficult to knock off the puck.
The Flyers liked his style of play and believe they’ll get value out of the 4th rounder. A quote from Flyers scout, Rick Pracey speaks to that.”We really like him from a complimentary standpoint. 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.”
Wisdom projects as a player who can slot into a few different spots on any team. He has offensive touch, competes hard, and plays physical. That makes him a fit for any spot offensively in the middle or bottom-six forwards. He’s skilled enough for a powerplay and intelligent enough for a penalty-killing role, and per his junior coaches willing to jump into any role you give him.
Watching his development over the next few years will be very interesting and we’ll see if the Wisdom pick proves to be smart.