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Draft lottery a dud: Flyers will pick 5th (boo!) in first round

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Brent Flahr and Chuck Fletcher, Philadelphia Flyers
Flyers assistant GM Brent Flahr (left) and GM Chuck Fletcher will get a top-notch player when the NHL draft is held on July 7. Photo: Zack Hill.

The Philadelphia Flyers, who had the league’s fourth-worst record, finished with the fifth overall pick in Tuesday’s draft lottery. They will thus select behind Montreal, New Jersey, Arizona, and Seattle in the first round July 7.

It was a disappointing drop for a Flyers team that had a awful, injury-plagued season. The Flyers had the second-worst record (25-46-11) in franchise history and finished in last place in the Metropolitan Division.

The Canadiens, who had the NHL’s worst record in the regular season, are expected to choose center Shane Wright No. 1 overall when the draft is held in Montreal.

New Jersey, which had two more points than the Flyers and finished seventh in the Metro, went from No. 6 to No. 2 in the lottery.

Philly had a 9.5% of getting the No. 1 pick. These were the Flyers’ percentages for other picks: No 2: 9.8%; No. 3: 0%; No. 4: 15.4%; No. 5: 44.9%; and No. 6: 20.5%, per capfriendly.com. Teams could only jump 10 spots, maximum, in the lottery.

Philadelphia Flyers assistant general manager Brent Flahr, who heads the team’s draft, said Philadelphia will select the best player available, regardless of position.

Multiple needs

“Clearly we have needs at a number of different positions, but at the same time, it’s not the NFL draft where these guys are stepping in and playing the next year,” Flahr said before the lottery. “So you have to go with the best player available.”

After Wright, there is no consensus on the next five picks, according to draft experts.

Center Logan Cooley, fast-rising left winger Juraj Slafkovsky, center Matthew Savoie, and right winger Joakim Kemmel are some of the forwards believed to be high on the Philadelphia Flyers’ radar. Kemmel may not be as high because the Flyers are deeper at right wing than other positions.

The Flyers have a bigger need at forward than on defense. If they decided to pick a defenseman in the first round, they might opt for righthanded-shooting Simon Nemec, if available.

History lesson

In franchise history, the only time the Flyers had the No. 5 overall pick was in their first draft in 1967. That year, they took forward Serge Bernier at No. 5. Bernier had 35 goals in 123 games with the Flyers before being dealt to Los Angeles. He later had great success in the WHA.

Flahr said it’s “not the deepest of drafts in comparison to some years, or even next year, but there are obviously some good players and we’ll figure it out. I don’t know if there is an NHL-ready guy in it. I don’t know if any of these guys are going to step into the NHL next year and have an impact. That’s just the reality. But there are obviously some guys who are a little closer. Some guys will play (right away), and I’m not so sure it’s the right thing to do.”

It’s “not one of those drafts where there’s a (Connor) McDavid who can step in at 18 and put up huge numbers,” Flahr said. “Some of these guys are going to need longer to develop and get to where they need to be.”

 

The Flyers went from No. 13 to No. 2 in the 2017 draft lottery, and the odds of that happening were 2.4%. Paul Holmgren, then the club president, called it a “gift.” They selected Nolan Patrick, whose career was derailed by injuries. Patrick was dealt to Nashville last year in the Ryan Ellis trade, and then was subsequently traded to Vegas.

Carchidi column: Barry Trotz to coach Flyers? It makes sense … if he’s willing to come here 

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Sam Carchidi is in his 15th year covering the Flyers. He can be reached on Twitter @BroadStBull or on email at samcarchidi55@gmail.com

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