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Draft watch: Flyers could select European winger in first round

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Brent Flahr and Chuck Fletcher, Philadelphia Flyers
Assistant Brent Flahr (left), who runs the Philadelphia Flyers' draft, and GM Chuck Fletcher are preparing for the draft. Photo: Zack Hill.

For the Philadelphia Flyers, you could say playing the kids and losing is a win-win.

The Flyers will be integrating their lineup with more prospects in the season’s final month. Good for them.

Find out what the prospects can do and how far away they are from being NHL contributors.
If the influx of kids — they signed Noah Cates on Sunday and will soon sign Ronnie Attard, Bobby Brink, and maybe others — makes them less competitive in games, well, so be it. That only increases their odds in the draft lottery.
Speaking of which …
According to tankathon, the Flyers currently have a 7.6% chance of getting the top pick in the draft (presumably center Shane Wright) and a 7.9% chance of getting the No. 2 overall selection.
They have a 30% chance of selecting sixth, and a 43% chance of picking No. 7 overall.
The best prospects expected to be on the draft board at Nos. 6 and 7 are a pair of European wingers, Joakim Kemell and Juraj Slafkovsky, according to Brock Otten, director of scouting for McKeen’s Hockey.
Unlike many other NHL teams, the Flyers have not had much success in Europe, so maybe this is the year to start? GM Chuck Fletcher and assistant GM Brent Flahr, who runs the draft for the Philadelphia Flyers, will have some interesting choices.
The draft is scheduled for July 7-8, and here is Otten’s scouting report on the above two wingers:
Joakim Kemell, 5-11, 175-pound right winger, JyP (Fin-Liiga): 23 points (15-8) in 39 games.

He’s a potential high-end goal scorer whose biggest strength is his shot. He’s one of those quick-strike players. Quick feet, quick hands, really good shot. Early in the season, he was playing really well in the Finnish men’s league and was having one of the best seasons all-time for an under-20 player. But then an (undisclosed) injury occurred and he faltered a bit.

Juraj Slafkovsky, 6-4, 225-pound left winger, TPS (Fin-Liiga): 10 points (5-5) in 31 games.

A big power forward who combines speed, strength and skill. His ability to drive the net and work through traffic is really good. You look at him as someone who can dominate the middle of the ice at the NHL level. The biggest question is his vision and how well he sees the ice.

There is also an intriguing prospect at No. 8 overall:

Conor Geekie, 6-4, 205-pound center, Winnipeg (WHL): 62 points (20-42) in 56 games.

Another big kid who is a strong-two way player. He brings physicality and has a solid overall skill set. The big drawback for him is his skating. So do you think that the skating can get to the point that he can play at the NHL level? That will be the big thing – improving those first few strides to be more explosive.

Flahr and Fletcher have made some solid picks in their three drafts with the Flyers, and their selections include defensemen Cam York, Attard, and Emil Andrae, and wingers Brink, Tyson Foerster, Bryce Brodzinski, Zayde Wisdom, Elliott Desnoyers, and Samu Tuomaala.

Breakaways

The Flyers will finish their five-game road trip Tuesday in Minnesota, which has won six straight. The Wild are coming off a 3-2 overtime win over powerful Colorado. Former Flyer Cam Talbot made 40 saves for Minny. … Minnesota’s Ryan Hartman, another former Flyer, collected his 27th goal and 50th point. … Cates will wear No. 49 for the Flyers.

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Superunoriginal

It seems preordained that Wright and Cooley would go first and second. After that, things open up. If the Flyers managed to pick 3rd, right now, it would be a flip between Slafkovsky and Savoie. I like Slafkovsky’s size and versatility. He’s also got good speed. Flyers might start experiencing size issues (Atkinson, Brink, and other wingers in the pipeline like McClennon) so that’s where Slafkovsky would be favored over Savoie.

However, Flyers scouting and analytics department also tipped their hand by noting they wanted to address and improve the team’s speed, which is long overdue. Savoie’s been considered among the best skaters in the draft—maybe making him that high-end talent which the Flyers so desperately need. So, Slafkovsky and Savoie would both be great additions for different reasons, but getting Kemell would also be pretty sweet. Problem is 2022 is not a strong draft class, so what counts for a top 10 pick this year is different than, say, 2015. Not sure how those players project on an NHL roster.

It would be nice to say “the Flyers just need to address *this* one area,” but given the lapses on defense and the erratic offense, the team is mediocre on both sides and lacking in meaningful depth in the system (and yet somehow pressed for cap space). I wouldn’t be upset if they drafted Nemec or Jiricek (but I’d feel better about it if they tried to sign someone like Gaudreau or Forsberg to address both sides of the game).

Basically, anyone from Shane Wright to Connor Geekie could make this team better. 

Last edited 2 months ago by Superunoriginal
BigLeftHandie

Nice analysis but being deep in the system (assuming you mean prospects/draft picks) has nothing to do with the cap space. That’s exactly WHY we have capp issues. Not enough young players on rookie deals. We have too many veterans on long term or big contracts over the years due to the absolute failure to draft and development talent. So you swap out a few years on their first standard contracts for higher priced veterans. Not to mention the lack of conditioning; so many injuries means more contracts, more calls ups, and more use of the LTIR. If they end up having 3 years with good drafts, good development, and good conditioning you end up with a core roster on their rookie deals, who play nightly, and THAT opens up the spots to bring in a free agent when you need to.

Last edited 2 months ago by BigLeftHandie
LHD

We do not need another prospect, whose biggest drawback is his skating……especially a high draft pick……

Diesel

Make the Wright choice by drafting Shane

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