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Will Flyers get another ‘gift’ in Tuesday’s draft lottery?



Nolan Patrick, Philadelphia Flyers
Injuries derailed Nolan Patrick's career with the Philadelphia Flyers. He played in just 25 games with the Vegas Golden Knights this season.

In the 2017 NHL draft, the Philadelphia Flyers had a 2.4% chance of moving from No. 13 to the No. 2 spot in the lottery.

But they beat those odds and received the No. 2 overall selection.

“It was a gift,” Paul Holmgren, then the Philadelphia Flyers’ president, said at the time.

Well, it seemed that way, but the Flyers ended up selecting center Nolan Patrick, who, unfortunately, was later hindered by concussions and migraines and never developed into the dominating player most scouts had projected.

Patrick was eventually traded by the Flyers to Nashville, who then dealt him to Vegas, where he played just 25 games this season because of injuries.

Five years after they selected Patrick, the Flyers are again hoping to advance in the draft lottery, which will be held Tuesday (ESPN, 6:30 p,m.). They are also hoping that this time, they will get an impact player. To read about the first-round player they may pick in the July 7 draft, go here.

“I don’t really like to be in them,” Flyers assistant general manager Brent Flahr said about the draft lottery, which is composed of teams that missed the playoffs. “But it is what it is. We’ll hope for the best, and we’re confident we’ll be getting a player we like. Obviously if we move up, it’ll give us more options.”

The Flyers, who finished with the league’s fourth-worst record, have a 9.5% chance to get the No. 1 overall pick. If that happens, they will likely choose center Shane Wright. After that, center Logan Cooley and big left winger Juraj Slafkovsky are intriguing options.

The  Philadelphia Flyers can can pick as high as No. 1 or as low as No. 6. More than likely, they will get a pick somewhere in between those two spots (see chart),

‘Fairly even’ top prospects

Flahr says there aren’t a couple players who are way above everybody else in the draft. “There’s some different kinds of players, and some guys who have had really strong second halves, and some who haven’t,” he said, adding that “the field is fairly even. I think you can see the draft going in a bunch of different directions fairly early on, which is always interesting.”

Sometimes, not winning the lottery can be helpful. Take the 2017 “Nolan Patrick” draft, for instance. Colorado had the best chance (18%) to get the No. 1 overall pick, but the Avs fell to No. 4 in the lottery.

As it turned out, they selected defenseman Cale Makar, who has become the best player in that class — and is someone Colorado may not have chosen if it had the first pick. Makar, who is a finalist to win the Norris Trophy as the NHL’s best defenseman this season, had 10 points in the Avs’ first-round, four-game sweep pf Nashville.

Makar is the player Flyers scouts wanted then-GM Ron Hextall to take, club executive Bob Clarke has claimed.

The Flyers have had the No. 1 overall pick just once in franchise history — selecting center Mel Bridgman in 1975.  Bridgman joined the Flyers right away, and he had 50 points (23 goals, 27 assists) in 1975-76, starting a solid 14-year career that included seven seasons with Philadelphia.

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