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Part 1 of Q&A with Flyers GM Danny Briere: 2024 NHL Draft and Offseason Plans

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(Photo: AP)

In a matter of days, the second year of the New Era of Orange, helmed by Danny Briere, Keith Jones, John Tortorella, and Dan Hilferty, will begin for the Philadelphia Flyers. The 2024 NHL Draft will be a good place to start, namely by building off the success that was the 2023 NHL Draft.

Then comes the start of the NHL offseason immediately after, where the Flyers figure to be small players in the grand scheme of the market. Briere has made it clear that the team will be exploring all avenues when it comes to trades and signings, but in general, the front office has an outline of the way things will play out this summer.

Let’s start with the draft, which kicks off on June 28, then move into the offseason.

Note: some questions and answers in this interview were edited for clarity. 

Bailey: You had the draft last year… do you feel you have an idea of how you want to do things now? Is there a specific philosophy?

Briere: “I want to diversify as much as possible. You need all kinds of players to build a team; you can’t have all the same types of players. I hope that I’m able to appreciate and see all kinds and types of players to help us build the best team possible. Yeah, we went with the high-end, skill guy last year with our first pick (Matvei Michkov)… you want to go with the best player available. Who knows what that will be? I don’t want to just narrow myself into that type of player. If that is, again, the best player, we’ll jump on it, but we want to be able to see and appreciate it all types of players and what they bring.”

Q: I’ve heard that some GMs, when they interview prospects, are more laid back, while others are more strict. Do you align with one of those styles, or are you more in the middle?

A: “I would say probably a little bit more towards the laid back side. I let our staff run the interview. Once in a while, if there’s something I want to know, I might step in and ask a question. But for the most part, I let our guys run it. They’ve been doing it for years. I really think we have one of the best amateur scouting staffs around, led by Brent Flahr and what he’s done the last few years. Finding gems later in the draft, too. I’m very comfortable with the way our staff has done things and I rely on them a lot.”

Q: Does that process change, going from evaluating and talking to players to returning to the building with the Flyers?

A: “The longer they’re here, you build relationships with the players. I think it’s no secret–when I talk about Keith Jones, Dan Hilferty, and myself–we’re probably a little bit more present around our staff and coaches and players than most GMs or management teams do. Yeah, at the end of the day, the relationships we create, you get more comfortable and it’s probably a little easier for the players to come and talk to you.

“When you meet players at the draft, you don’t have their rights, you’re limited in time, and you’re limited in, you interview 60 players, you might have three or four that you’ll select in the draft. It’s tougher to build a connection and relationship over, you know, 15 minutes. But once we do draft them, absolutely, we do dive into it. We get down to business, get to know everything about them. Try to put them in the best position possible for the players to develop and succeed down the road as a player.”

Q: You’ve already said you don’t discriminate in terms of position and going for who you feel is the best player available for the team… after everything that happened this year, are goalies still a priority?

A: “We’re certainly going to look into it. I don’t think this draft is as deep in goaltending as it was last year. I don’t… especially after spending two high picks on goalies last year (Carson Bjarnason and Egor Zavragin), I would probably say don’t expect a pick in the first three rounds on a goalie. Later in the draft, if there’s one of those guys that we like that’s still available–we have five picks down the stretch–I could see us taking a swing on a goalie later in the draft, but not early on.”

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