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As Flyers jockey for draft-pick spot, here are some of their options

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Philadelphia Flyers
The Philadelphia Flyers shown last year, have had a miserable 2021-22 season, but at least they are in the running in the May 10 draft lottery.

The Philadelphia Flyers won a game, but lost ground in the draft-lottery race Thursday night in Montreal.

With their 6-3 victory over a hapless Canadiens team that was guilty of 20 giveaways, the sad-sack Flyers (24-43-11) snapped a six-game losing streak and inched ahead of Seattle with 59 points, one more than the Kraken. Philly has four games remaining, while Seattle has six.

Seattle now has the third-fewest points in the NHL, while the Flyers have the fourth-fewest.  The lottery will determine where the teams draft, but the fewer points a team collects, the better their chances of advancing in the lottery.

The team that gets the third overall pick may select Juraj Slafkovsky, a 6-foot-4, 218-pound left winger/center who is moving up the draft charts. TSN draft expert Craig Button has him at No. 3.

Slafkovsky, 18, who had seven goals for Slovakia in seven Olympic games this year, combines speed, power, and skill.

And, yes, the Flyers need all three.

“His ability to drive the net and work through traffic is really good,” said Brock Otten, director of scouting for McKeen’s Hockey. “You look at him as someone who can dominate the ice at the NHL level.”

Shane Wright, a high-scoring center in the Ontario Hockey League, is the consensus No. 1 overall pick.

Strong forwards

Button is also high on Finnish right winger Joakim Kemell, a 5-11, 175-pounder he ranks at No. 5 overall, and says his game might end up resembling David Pastrnak’s.

After Wright, all bets are off as to who goes Nos. 2-6.

Those who deserve to be in the mix include defenseman Simon Nemec, centers Logan Cooley (the Flyers love players from the USDP) and Matthew Savoie, Kemell, Slafkovsky, and right winger Cutter Gauthier, according to Button.

McKeen’s Hockey is high on most of them, though it has Gauthier at No. 20. McKeen’s also believes center Matthew Savoie and right winger Danila Yurov of Russia’s KHL deserve top-6 consideration.

The Philadelphia Flyers need a big-time scorer. Badly. Savoie, who has 90 points (35-55)  with Winnipeg in the WHL, is among those who fit the bill. McKeen’s has him at No. 3, while Button ranks the 5-9, 178-pound center at No. 12.

The draft lottery will be held remotely on May 10. The draft will take place July 7-8 in Montreal.

Starting this year, a team can move up a maximum of 10 spots in the lottery, making only 11 of the 16 teams who miss the playoffs eligible for the No. 1 overall pick. In addition, beginning in this year’s draft, a team can win the lottery no more than twice in a five-year span.

Lottery odds

Here are the six teams with the fewest points, and their odds to win the lottery, according to tankathon.com:

  1. Arizona: 50 points, five games left, 25.7% chance to win the lottery.
  2. Montreal: 51 points, four games left, 12.1%.
  3. Seattle: 58 points, six games left, 9.7%.
  4. Flyers: 59 points, four games left, 10.9%. (Note: Seattle’s two games in hand are factored.)
  5. New Jersey: 61 points, five games left, 8.5%.
  6. Chicago: 63 points, four games left, 7.6%.
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