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Draft Interviews Show Flyers Are on the Right Track

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The NHL Scouting Combine officially concluded on Monday, and with that, the Philadelphia Flyers got to see and speak to some 2024 NHL Draft prospects up close and in person. If their some of their draft interviews indicate anything at all, it’s that the front office is on the right track for the second year in a row.

The Flyers spoke to an indeterminate number of prospects over the weekend, but their interviews ranged from top prospects to sleepers, illustrating a complete and thorough draft process.

For example, longtime NHL prospect analyst Russ Cohen noted that Calgary Hitmen defenseman Carter Yakemchuk “smiled” when talking about his interview with the Flyers and that there could be some mutual interest between the two sides.

You can read Russ’s full combine report here.

Yakemchuk is a big defenseman with a ton of range and offensive ability but his defending and four-way mobility raise some questions. The right-shot defenseman is still, however, well within the conversation of going in the top-10 of the 2024 NHL Draft. If the Flyers were select him, they’d be taking the ultimate swing on upside here. When you’re rebuilding, you have to do those things.

The Flyers were likely among the 22 teams, according to Cohen, that spoke with star center prospect Berkly Catton. Swedes Lucas Pettersson and Leo Sahlin Wallenius, likely late first- or early second-round picks, also met with the Flyers. The same can be said for popular sleeper forwards John Mustard and Kamil Bednarik.

Another name that should be of great interest to the Flyers and Flyers fans is Teddy Stiga, a USNTDP standout who has committed to playing college hockey for Boston College. Stiga, who stands at 5-foot-10, 176 pounds, plays above his size, processes the game at a fast pace and high level, and possesses elite offensive instincts.

The size is the main hang-up for Stiga, who is ranked anywhere from 18th to 68th, based on his Eliteprospects page. I personally think very highly of the 18-year-old forward and believe he should be a top-20 pick, but that is ultimately not for me to determine.

The Flyers, however, do have some input on that, and their recent draft history shows that the new regime, helmed by Danny Briere, has helped the organization turn over a new leaf. Neither Denver Barkey nor Matvei Michkov were the biggest or fastest players on the board when they were selected in the 2023 NHL Draft, but they know how to play hockey and do so at a very high level.

Added size and/or explosiveness is just a bonus at the end of the day.

Because the Flyers have two first-round picks in the 2024 NHL Draft, they can take swings on upside, like Yakemchuk, and traits, like Stiga. The true test is leveraging those picks when crunch time rolls around in two weeks.

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