While the Flyers have been busy these days making moves which affect their immediate future, they have also been making extensive preparation for two days of activity important to the years ahead.
That would be the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, which commences with the first round on Friday night and then concludes with rounds two through seven on Saturday.
The Flyers will select 13th overall, unless general manager Chuck Fletcher decides to make a trade, a possibility he hasn’t ruled out.
“If you’re going to move the 13th overall pick, either by itself or as part of the package, you better be getting a really good player that help you for a few years,’’ Eletcher said. “I’m not sure that it has to be position-specific. Certainly you want to make sure you’re getting a good player that can help you in the short- and long-term.’’
As important as the first-round pick is, assistant general manager Brent Flahr points out later rounds can be important as well.
Through the years, the Flyers have taken players in later rounds who have gone on to be successful. Oskar Lindblom, a former fifth-round pick, is a perfect example.
Here are the top 15 NHL draft prospects, according to NHL.com
- Owen Power, defenseman
- Mason McTavish, center
- Kent Johnson, center
- Luke Hughes, defenseman
- Dylan Guenther, right wing
- Matthew Beniers, center
- Brandt Clarke, defenseman
- Brennan Othmann, left wing
- Matthew Coronato, right wing
- Cole Sillinger, center
- Carson Lamdos, defenseman
- Chaz Lucius, defenseman
- Xavier Bourgault, center
- Corson Ceulemans, defenseman
- Francesco Pinelli, center
- Wyatt Johnston, center
- Zachary Bolduc, center
- Sasha Pastujov, right wing
- Colton Dach, center
- Shai Buium, defenseman
Flahr, who coordinates scouting, doesn’t see any Connor McDavids or Sidney Crosbys in this draft but there could be depth.
“I don’t think there’s any generational players in it,’’ Flahr said. “However, there are some quality players at the top end and there is some depth to the draft. There are some different tiers like every year. Our group has done a pretty good job identifying those, but I do think there’s some depth through the second and third round this year that our guys are excited about and even beyond. We’ll continue to work through that this next week and be ready for Friday.’’
If the Flyers are looking for help on defense, there might be talent available.
“As far as the strengths of the draft, I think there’s some quality defenseman at the top of the draft,’’ Flahr said. “There’s some quality centermen. There’s wingers. It’s publicized that there’s a couple goalies that’ll likely get into the first round here. Should be an interesting and we’ll see how it plays out.’’
With the presence of Carter Hart in the organization, does it make it less likely to pick a goalie in the first round?
“We have Carter,’’ Flahr said. “Obviously, he’s a young goaltender and we have a couple goalies outside the NHL that we feel have a chance as good prospects. It’s the next best player on our board and we’ll certainly consider it and take them. At the same time, we have a number of different players and positions that we’ll look at as well. But no, we’re not opposed. If it’s clearly the next best player on our draft board, we’ll take them. And to the question earlier, as far as position, we don’t really draft by position, especially in the first round. We go by our list, the best player available. Realistically, as you’ve seen in the NHL, a lot of these players don’t play next year. Sometimes our needs right now are changed by two years down the road. That’s just a reality we’re in.’’