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Flyers Draft Picks Officially Set; What Experts Are Saying



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(Photo: AP)

Given that the Florida Panthers are now Stanley Cup champions, the Philadelphia Flyers’ two first-round picks in the 2024 NHL Draft are officially locked into place.

The Flyers will have their own first-round pick, which clocks in at No. 12 overall, and with Florida’s triumph, they will hold the 32nd overall pick as well. And therein lies the question: who are the Flyers going to draft on Friday night, and why?

Longtime NHL insider Bob McKenzie released his final edition of his 2024 prospect rankings for TSN on Tuesday, which is both notoriously accurate and based almost exclusively on industry consensus. This allows us to form a pretty good idea of who will be available for the Flyers at picks 12 and 32.

Notably, McKenzie has Liiga center Konsta Helenius ranked ninth, with Tij Iginla and Beckett Sennecke close behind at Nos. 10 and 11. Spokane star Berkly Catton ranks 12th on McKenzie’s list, and guess what? Catton is a center who is regarded as one of the most dynamic players in the entire 2024 draft class, average size and build notwithstanding.

The 5-foot-11, 174 pound forward combines an elite hockey brain with a loaded arsenal of dangles that he can use to create various release points and passing lanes for shots and passes. Catton is already a complete package offensively, though some have questioned his defending and his skating–while Catton is already a fast player, the concern is more about finding that breakaway gear.

Recall that Tampa Bay superstar Brayden Point, who has a very similar build at the same position, was a slightly above-average skater coming into his draft in 2015, and now he’s one of the best skaters in the NHL who can do it all for the Lightning.

“The knock on him is obviously his size but he manufactures offence as well or better than any (draft-eligible) player,” a scout told McKenzie. “He wasn’t surrounded by a lot of elite talent on that Spokane team, and he still shot out the lights. His hockey sense and skills are better than any forward with the exception of [Celebrini and Demidov].”

Catton scored 54 goals, 62 assists, and 116 points in 68 games this year and ranks between third and 14th, based on rankings polled by Eliteprospects.

Moving on down to the end of the first round, McKenzie has London Knights forward Sam O’Reilly holding down the No. 32 spot, followed by Carson Bjarnason’s teammate, defenseman Charlie Elick, and star Russian forwards Egor Surin and Nikita Artamonov.

O’Reilly, a center like Catton, stood out on a London team that was headlined by Flyers prospects Denver Barkey and Oliver Bonk. The 18-year-old is a jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none center who engages physically, plays down to the details, and is a very reliable defender in his own zone.

O’Reilly is undeniably talented and carries great two-way potential, but given the average season offensively on a strong London team, the question for him and the Flyers is the amount of offense he can bring to the pro level.

That said, Eliteprospects has compared O’Reilly to fellow two-way center Ryan O’Reilly, who is of no relation. Ryan O’Reilly, drafted 33rd overall in the second round of the 2009 draft, won the Stanley Cup with Craig Berube and the St. Louis Blues in 2019, has scored 20 or more goals in eight NHL seasons, and has eclipsed 60 points six times.

If the Flyers managed to get that out of Sam O’Reilly with the 32nd pick, I think I’d consider that a success.

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