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Flyers Should Avoid Carter Yakemchuk with 12th Pick in 2024 NHL Draft

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If there’s one position the Philadelphia Flyers have fortified, at least for now, it’s the right defense position. The Flyers drafted Oliver Bonk in the 2023 NHL Draft and acquired Jamie Drysdale from the Anaheim Ducks in January in the Cutter Gauthier trade, and Travis Sanheim and Rasmus Ristolainen have multiple years left on their contracts. Still, draftniks have the Flyers selecting defenseman Carter Yakemchuk in the 2024 NHL Draft.

Right now, that just doesn’t work for the Flyers.

And to be clear, this isn’t to say Yakemchuk isn’t a talented player, because he is. There’s a reason he’s being considered as a borderline top-10 pick in the 2024 NHL Draft. This is about Yakemchuk fitting in with the Flyers’ needs, something that mock drafters have apparently disregarded.

The Flyers added Matvei Michkov in last year’s draft, and Michkov easily projects as a top-line forward if and when he makes his way over to North America from the KHL. The problem is that he’s the only forward prospect in the organization with that upside.

In contrast, defense prospects like Emil Andrae, Ronnie Attard, and Adam Ginning have already played in NHL games. Hunter McDonald is probably the closest to joining them, and the Flyers remain excited about the less-talked-about Helge Grans and Ethan Samson.

If Yakemchuk is the best player available when the Flyers are on the clock with the No. 12 overall pick, that’s one thing. It would be another thing to pass on historical producers at the forward position, namely Cole Eiserman and Konsta Helenius. Those two can provide the Flyers with something that they don’t already have in the organization–a true sniper, or a two-way, top-six center.

Yakemchuk can bring offense of his own; he scored 30 goals and 41 assists in 66 games with the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen this season. He’s also 6-foot-3. Yakemchuk would undoubtedly make the Flyers a better team in the future, but not to the same degree as Eiserman or Helenius.

In addition, the Flyers have the Florida Panthers’ first-round pick in the 2024 NHL Draft. Although that selection is going to fall all the way back to the very end of Round 1, they can still use it to fortify their defense if that is still an identified need.

With the forward cupboard still barren one year into the rebuild, the Flyers need to bypass Yakemchuk and other-right shot defensemen and instead focus on adding high-upside forwards that can help them sooner rather than later.

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