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NHL DRAFT: How to Watch, Who Flyers May Take, and More

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Barring a trade, the Philadelphia Flyers will have the No. 5 overall pick in the draft Thursday night in Montreal, and they need to hit a home run with the selection.

From here, they’ve only hit stand-up doubles with some of their recent first-rounders such as Joel Farabee, Ivan Provorov, and Travis Sanheim. Those players are still developing and could turn into homers.

The Flyers haven’t hit a home run in the opening round since they took center Sean Couturier at No. 8 overall in 2011.

How can the draft be watched?

It’s on ESPN on Thursday at 7 p.m. Rounds 2-7 on Friday can be watched on the NHL Network, starting at 11 a.m. ESPN+ will stream the draft both days.

Who will the Flyers pick?

Based on talks with scouts, the Flyers will select either center/winger Cutter Gauthier or defenseman David Jiricek. That could change, of course, if there is a surprise pick by one of the four teams in front of them.

If, for instance, center Logan Cooley drops to No. 5 – that’s highly doubtful – the Flyers would grab him.

The Flyers will have a special guest helping them introduce their top selection.

What selections do they have?

In addition to No. 5 overall, the Flyers have selections in the third (69th overall), fourth (101), fifth (133), sixth (165) and seventh (197) rounds.

They do not have a second-rounder because it was dealt in the ill-fated Shayne Gostisbehere trade, which was made to clear cap space. Gostisbehere finished with 14 goals and 51 points last season for Arizona.

Because of that trade, the Coyoyes will get the Flyers’ 36th overall pick Friday.

GM Chuck Fletcher is trying to make a deal to acquire a second-round selection.

Have the Flyers ever had the No. 5 overall pick?

Just once. That happened in 1967, their first draft. They selected right winger Serge Bernier, who was later traded as part of a deal that landed Bill “Cowboy” Flett and Ross Lonsberry, two wingers who helped the Flyers win the 1974 Stanley Cup.

Bernier played in 123 games with the Flyers and later turned into a World Hockey Association star.

History lesson

The Philadelphia Flyers have chosen a forward with five of their last six first-round picks.

Over the last five drafts (all rounds), the Flyers have chosen 18 players from Canada — 40 percent of their overall picks in that span.  They have selected 13 Americans (28.9 percent) and seven from Sweden (15.6 percent)..

In those five drafts, Philly has had seven first-round picks — three from Canada, three from the United States, and one from Russia.

Mock draft

Here’s a look at my mock draft and how things may go.

Fletcher on hot seat

Fletcher not only needs to nail this draft, he needs to make accompanying moves to make the Philadelphia Flyers relevant again.

Trades are frequently made at the draft or the days leading to it — remember the Flyers’ blockbusters when they acquired Chris Pronger from Anaheim in 2009, dealt Mike Richards and Jeff Carter in separate 2011 swaps, and sent Brayden Schenn to St. Louis in 2017?

Fletcher, whose team is coming off the second-worst season in franchise history, will be trying to make a splash in a deal Thursday or Friday. Can he reel in star left winger Alex DeBrincat from Chicago?

Stay tuned.

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