The Philadelphia Flyers are exploring trading down in the draft, general manager Chuck Fletcher said Wednesday.
Speaking at news conference at the Flyers’ training facility in Voorhees, Fletcher said it was more likely he would trade down than trade up. Assistant GM Brent Flahr, who runs the Flyers’ draft board, was also at the news conference.
The Flyers are slated to pick No. 5 overall in next Thursday’s opening round in Montreal.
“If we’re going to trade the pick outright, it needs to be for a player in a certain age group,” Fletcher said. “It has to be for a player who could help us win now, but also win for several years. I don’t think we’re looking to bring in somebody in their late 20s or early 30s. Certainly, I’m speaking to every team in the league and trying to ascertain the value of that pick.”
Fletcher said “if somebody has designs on it and makes a fair offer, we have to consider everything.”
Added Fletcher: “How much do you need to get back to move from 5 to whatever? ” He said the staff met Wednesday and discussed that for an hour.
Flahr said if the draft “goes a certain way and we can gain assets (with a trade), and still get a player that we have rated, we could potentially do that. You’re going to see more action as you get closer to the draft.”
The Philadelphia Flyers could also trade the pick and get a selection later in the first round and perhaps a second-rounder. They do not have a second-round pick this year, having traded it as part of the deal that sent Shayne Gostisbehere to Arizona to free up cap space.
After the first three projected picks — center Shane Wright, left winger Juraj Slafkovsky and center Logan Cooley — the prospects are grouped together with similar abilities.
“There’s still some unknowns,” Flahr said, “but we’ve got a pretty good grouping that we’re pretty sure we’re talking about and we’re evaluating from.”
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That talented grouping, from 4 to 10, is expected to include righthanded defensemen Simon Nemec and David Jiricek, center/left winger Cutter Gauthier, right wingers Joakim Kemell and Jonathan Lekkerimaki, center/right winger Matt Savoie, and center Frank Nazar.
If the Flyers remain at No. 5, do they expect to get a player who will be NHL-ready in 2023-24?
“It depends on the player, to be honest with you,” Flahr said. “Some players are physically more ready than others, and there’s a couple kids that may need a little longer to get stronger.”
Among the players in the 4-10 range, the 6-foot-2, 200-pound Gauthier projects to be ready after a season at Boston College.
Fletcher said he has had some “interesting conversations” with general managers who are looking to acquire the No. 5 pick.
Should the Flyers keep the pick, there is not one position that needs to be filled, Fletcher said.
“We can use everything,” Fletcher said. “We could use a center, a wing, a defenseman.”
“In reality, there’s obviously a grouping of players there” who are attractive, Flahr said. “We have some guys higher than others; we’re at the mercy of the teams in front of us a little bit. We have a couple guys targeted that hopefully will be there.”
Fletcher said it was “up in the air” whether the Flyers would try to add a veteran backup goalie. Right now, Felix Sandstrom and Ivan Fedotov will battle for the No. 2 spot. … Assistant Darryl Williams and goalie coach Kim Dillabaugh will return, per Fletcher, who said he and John Tortorella are still searching for the team’s two top assistant coaches. Those new assistants will run the power play and penalty kill, respectively.