Flyers have fingers crossed for Monday’s NHL Draft Lottery

Daniel Briere
      Daniel Briere will be the first to tell you there’s a sense of excitement whenever a team is involved in the NHL Draft Lottery.
      But that comes with a feeling of curb your enthusiasm because it means you did not experience the kind of season you were hoping to have.
      So the Flyers general manager heads into Monday night’s crapshoot hoping for a small miracle but knowing there’s still a lot of work to be done in the organization’s latest overhaul.
      As it stands, the Flyers are slotted in the No. 7 spot but they do have a 6.5 percent chance of somehow snatching the No. 1 pick, which is a lock to be junior sensation Connor Bedard.
      The Flyers can end up drawing the No. 1, 2 or 3 spots, along with 7, 8 and 9. They cannot finish in the fourth, fifth or sixth positions.
      Briere knows the Flyers have made big jumps forward in the past. In 2017, Philadelphia moved all the way up from No. 13 to No. 2.
      There was a lot of cheering that night and later, at the draft in June, there was plenty of hope that the Flyers’ selection, forward Nolan Patrick, would work out.
      He didn’t.
      But that’s history now and the Flyers are hoping they can secure a strong prospect, regardless of where they pick.
      Last year, the Flyers held the No. 5 pick and went with Cutter Gauthier, a power forward who enjoyed a fine first season at Boston College (37 points in 32 games) and will be back for one more campaign with the Eagles next year.
      So when the draft gets underway on Monday night, 8 p.m., in Secaucus, New Jersey, all eyes in the Philadelphia hierarchy will have their fingers crossed.
      “We’re fortunate it’s a good year,” Briere said back in April. “We have quite a few picks and we have a high one.
     “As far as what we’re going to do there, it’s way too early. We’re going to look, we’re going to inquire to see what we can do. But the most likely is we’re going to keep our pick and pick in the slot we’re going to end up with.”
     According to Tankathon.com, here are the Flyers’ odds for each selection:
     >No. 1: 6.5 percent
     >No. 2: 6.7 percent
     >No. 3: 0.2 percent
     >No. 7: 44.4 percent
     >No. 8: 36.5 percent
     >No. 9: 5.6 percent
     The NHL has announced there will be a lottery drawing for both the No. 1 and No. 2 selections. Once the top two selections are drawn, the remaining teams will be slotted in the order of their regular season finish.
     Briere said the Flyers’ first-round selection will be a “critical pick for the organization moving forward.”
     The interim GM will have nine picks at his disposal when the draft is held on June 28-29 at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.
     Briere mentioned one additional pick could be added if they do not sign 2018 first-round pick (19th overall) Jay O’Brien. If that’s the case, they will have a second-round compensatory second-round pick in either 2023 or 2024.
     The odds for each NHL team possibly winning the No. 1 overall pick:
       >Anaheim: 18.5 percent
       >Columbus: 13.5 percent
       >Chicago: 11.5 percent
       >San Jose: 9.5 percent
       >Montreal: 8.5 percent
       >Arizona: 7.5 percent
       >FLYERS: 6.5 percent
       >Washington: 6.0 percent
       >Detroit: 5.0 percent
       >St. Louis: 3.5 percent
       >Vancouver: 3.0 percent
       >Ottawa (Arizona, if pick is not in top five): 2.5 percent
       >Buffalo: 2.0 percent
       >Pittsburgh: 1.5 percent
       >Nashville: 0.5 percent
       >Calgary: 0.5 percent
      In addition to Patrick, the Flyers have had some ups and downs when they draft within the top 10.
      On the plus side, defenseman Ivan Provorov was taken with the No. 7 overall pick in 2015. The Russian backliner has been a mainstay in the Flyers lineup since 2016 and, aside from a case of COVID, has never missed an NHL regular-season or playoff game.
      Back in 2008, the Flyers traded forward Jeff Carter to Columbus in exchange for the No. 8 overall pick (and Jake Voracek). The Flyers used that pick to take Sean Couturier, who has come on to win the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the NHL’s best defensive forward.
      A year before that, the Flyers finished with the NHL’s worst record and had the best odds of getting the No. 1 overall pick. But Chicago, which finished third-to-last, won the lottery and selected Patrick Kane. The Flyers settled for James van Riemsdyk, who has had an illustrious career but not nearly that of Kane, who went on to win three Stanley Cups plus an MVP with the Blackhawks.
      Farther back, the Flyers had the No. 4 overall pick in 2002 and took defenseman Joni Pitkanen. The Finnish player lasted only a few seasons in Philadelphia and went on to have a nondescript career in the NHL.
      Possibly the two best alltime top 10 picks were Peter Forsberg, No. 6 overall in 1991 and Bill Barber, No. 7 in 1972. Both went on to have Hockey Hall of Fame careers.
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About Wayne Fish 2418 Articles
Wayne Fish has been covering the Flyers since 1976, a stint which includes 18 Stanley Cup Finals, four Winter Olympics and numerous other international events.