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Philadelphia Flyers

Flyers Well Positioned In NHL Draft Full Of Talent

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Danny Briere and Brent Flahr. Philadelphia Flyers
Daniel Briere and Brent Flahr.

It’s a good draft year to have two first-round picks and 10 picks overall. That’s where the Philadelphia Flyers are — flush with draft picks in a strong draft.

The rebuilding Flyers need help everywhere. They have the 7 and 22 picks in the first round. This is the draft for them. Flyers management said they are looking for the best available player at 7, regardless of the position.

The Flyers have five picks in the first 103, six picks in the first 120. They don’t have a second-round pick, a draft slot where general manager Daniel Briere would like to add.

“If someone wants to give us another pick, we’d gladly take it,” Briere joked at a pre-draft news conference at the Flyers Training Center in Voorhees.

Briere also said he continues to explore trades — with Scott Laughton, Travis Konecny, Tony DeAngelo, Kevin Hayes and maybe everybody on last year’s roster among the possible trade candidates — to gain more draft capital.

Briere knows the quickest way to rebuild is through the draft. He seems committed to that method, as his Ivan Provorov trade indicates. And Briere knows a trade not only opens up a lineup spot, but it could bring back valuable assets for the future.

Talented Players Available

Scouting reports indicate there are many highly ranked forwards but fewer top-level defensemen. But the top defensemen are NHL-quality and some might go in the top 15.

“Well, I think it’s pretty well known at the top of the draft,” Philadelphia Flyers assistant general manager Brent Flahr said.

“Obviously, you have some elite players. It has been known as a deep draft. I think you go right through the second round.

“I think there’s different layers that we’ve identified … as far as guys that we feel are potentially top-six forwards or whatever.

“There’s players that we’re confident are going to play but might not have the same ceiling. So, those are all the things we evaluate.

“But it is a deep draft, I think, and we’re confident we’re going to get a good player at 22, and if we add more picks, we’re confident we’re going to get some good players there throughout the early rounds.

“And again, our guys spend a lot of time trying to identify guys for late-round picks as well.”

Russians Are Coming?

Besides Matvei Michkov — a top-10 pick — other Russians are expected to be first-round picks. The overriding issue with the Russian players is their availability given their country’s invasion of Ukraine.

Two of the other top Russians are defensemen Mikhail Gulyayev and Dmitry Simashev. Flahr believes a Russian player or two could be available for the Flyers at 22.

“Possibly, yeah,” Flahr said. “We’ve spent a lot of time. We’re like every other team as far as the Russian players.

“It’s a good year in Russia. Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to be there personally, but Kenny Hoodikoff, our Russian scout, has met with these players, spent a lot of time watching them live. We spent a lot of time watching them on video.

“There are some quality players from Russia that are going to go high in this draft, probably before we pick, maybe even at 22, so that’s an evaluation.

“Obviously, we will put our list together as we see fit, but for whatever reason it is a strong year in Russia, and we’ll have to make a decision.”

Defensive Depth Lacking

If the Flyers take a forward at 7, they might lean toward a defenseman at 22. There are excellent defensemen in this year’s draft, but excellent forwards are more plentiful.

“No, I don’t think so,” Flahr said about defensemen depth.

“There are some quality defensemen, I think, in the first round, but overall I don’t think it’s a real deep draft for defensemen.”

Deeper into the draft is where the Flyers hope to add much-needed roster depth.

“Like we said, we got a bunch of different positions,” Flahr said.

“We’re not that deep in any position. Right wing, I guess you could say that we have depth, but again, there’s some quality players, and if it’s the best player significantly, then we’ll have another right winger.

“We have some holes to fill, and we’ll evaluate that. It’s always that if it comes in the players are equal, and our guys are 50/50, maybe you go by position, but we do our list and we try to stick by it as best we can.”

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Flyers, In Case You Missed It:

Ryan Leonard will be the Flyers’ pick at 7, according to these two mock drafts.

With the 22 pick, the Flyers have struck gold with Claude Giroux and Simon Gagne, but also failed with German Rubtsov.

GM Daniel Briere can trade up or trade down in the draft.

David Reinbacher, Dalibor Dvorsky will be the Flyers’ picks at 7 in these mock drafts.

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