Philly Front Office

Flyers’ Draft Strategy – Part One

With the Flyers officially being eliminated from the offseason this past week after a surprising late season push, we are slowly approaching the next big event on the NHL calendar for non-playoff teams: The Draft! While the draft is still a few months away, it is never to early to take a look at who the Flyers might look to draft this coming summer.

While the Flyers had an encouraging run to end the season, it is unfortunately likely going to hurt them at the draft. I have written at length as to why I think the Flyers should have mailed it in months ago, especially considering their low probability playoff chances (at its height it was about an 8% success rate). Yet, here we are with the Flyers finishing just outside the playoff picture with an only 2% chance of winning the NHL draft lottery. Unlike other leagues, every team that misses the postseason qualifies to potentially win the draft lottery. However, with only a 2% chance, the Flyers will likely pick between the range of 10-14 in this year’s draft. Before taking an indepth look at the Flyers’ potential draft strategy, let’s take a look at who is available this year in the draft.

The Groupings

Each year, the draft can be segmented into “groupings.” What I mean by groupings is that the draft class can usually be separated into groups of players who are considered to have similar skill sets and are comparable. For example, in last year’s draft, Rasmus Dahlin was the undisputed number one (grouping one). Andrei Svechnikov was considered an undisputed number two (grouping two). Grouping three consisted of about 10 names of players that could fall in any order based upon team scouting. Last year, this included names like Jesperi Kotkaniemi (who went third to Montreal) and Noah Dobson (who some had ranked in the top 10, but who went to the Islanders at 12). For most scouts, the margin at the time (though probably not currently) between players like Dobson and Kotkaniemi was small, so they would be put in a similar grouping.

Though these groupings could still change between now and June, it is likely the groupings for this year’s draft are as follows:

Group 1

C J.Hughes (USHL)

W K.Kakko (FIN)

Group 2

W V. Podkolzin (KHL/MHL)

Group 3

D B. Byram (WHL)

C K.Dach (WHL)

C A.Turcotte (USHL)

C D. Cozens (WHL)

W P. Krebs (WHL)

C T.Zegras (USHL)

C M. Boldy (USHL)

Group 4

D V. Soderstrom (SWE)

W A. Kaliyev (OHL)

C A. Newhook (BCHL)

W C. Caufield (USHL)

D P. Broberg (SWE)

D C. York (USHL)

W R. Lavoie (QMJHL)

D M. Robertson (WHL)

D M. Seider (GER)

C R Suzuki (OHL)

Group 5

W I. Nikolayev (KHL/MHL)

D T. Harley (OHL)

D V. Heinola (FIN)

W J. Pelletier (QMJHL)

W B. Leason (WHL)

C B. Brink (USHL)

W N. Hoglander (SWE)

C C. McMichael (OHL)

G S. Knight (USHL)

C P. Tamasino (OHL)

W S. Poulin (QMJHL)

W P. Dorofeyev (KHL/MHL)

W N. Foote (WHL)

C/W N. Robertson (OHL)

Flyers’ Grouping

So what does this mean for the Flyers? It means that if the Flyers were to pick based on their standings today, they would likely be picking at 14. This means they would get a player from group four.

While picking outside the top 10, there is still a solid pool of prospects from which to pick. However, because the Flyers are likely picking outside the top 10, it is unlikely any of their picks would jump into the NHL right away. One possibility from this grouping is Arthur Kaliyev. Kaliyev is an intriguing prospect, but scouts have mixed feelings about his game. Kaliyev is a natural goal scorer who has put up insane goal numbers the last few years in the OHL, but there are some questions surrounding his skating and overall effort. He has nothing left to prove at the OHL level and may be ready for another challenge, but there is no guarantee he is taken by anyone in the top 20 (though he is likely deserving based upon statistics alone).

Outside of Kaliyev, the Flyers have a good base of skilled forwards and project defensemen to choose from. In part two of this segment, we will look in more detail at who the Flyers should look at taking in the first round. Stay tuned!

tysonpfo

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