The Philadelphia Flyers will select fifth overall in the upcoming NHL Draft in Montreal this July 7th-8th.
The 2022 NHL Draft in Montreal is seven weeks away with the Philadelphia Flyers holding the fifth overall selection in the first round.
The host Canadiens drew the biggest headlines at the May 10 draft lottery, retaining the rights to pick first overall in front of their home fans. Presumably, they’ll snag a franchise center: Shane Wright of the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs.
The New Jersey Devils were the winners of the second draft lottery drawing. They moved up from fifth to second in the draft order.
As a result, the Philadelphia Flyers dropped from fourth to fifth.
With all the possible outcomes factored in, this was the most likely outcome for Philadelphia. According to Tankathon, the Flyers had a 9.5% chance of moving up to pick first, a 9.8% chance of grabbing second, a 34.1% chance of retaining their fourth position, a 44.1% chance of moving to fifth and a 20.5% chance of falling all the way to sixth.
So, it could have been worse.
Where The Flyers Stand
According to CapFriendly, the Flyers currently hold six picks for the 2022 draft — one in each round except the second. That pick was traded last summer as part of the incentive for the Arizona Coyotes to take on the three remaining seasons of Shayne Gostisbehere’s cap hit. The Coyotes also received the seventh-round pick that the Flyers had received in exchange for defenseman Erik Gustafsson at the 2021 trade deadline.
Fletcher moved both Gostisbehere and Jakub Voracek during the 2021 offseason. He needed to open up cap space for the roster overhaul that saw Ryan Ellis, Rasmus Ristolainen and Cam Atkinson come in. He also dealt his 2021 first-round pick (No. 14) to the Buffalo Sabres as part of the Ristolainen trade. The Sabres selected Swedish winger Isak Rosen.
Extracting Maximum Value
Could this year’s first-rounder be in play again? A No. 5 pick is significantly more valuable than last year’s No. 14. In what’s said to be a fairly deep draft, teams with higher selections have a greater likelihood of being able to address organizational needs or select the player their scouts believe has the most upside.
Right now, Chuck Fletcher doesn’t have much available cap space to fuel this summer’s “aggressive retool.” As he did with Ristolainen last year, he’ll need to get creative elsewhere if he decides to use that fifth pick as trade bait to acquire immediate help for his roster.
Depending on how the Flyers’ scouts feel about this draft class, Fletcher may also be willing to trade down — to parlay the fifth pick into two lower selections, or perhaps a pick and a player.
Around Full Press Hockey
The Value Of Five
The best player ever picked with the fifth selection in the NHL Draft was Jaromir Jagr. Chosen by the Pittsburgh Penguins in 1990, he finished his 24-year NHL career with 1,921 points in 1,733 games — second only to Wayne Gretzky. He also won five scoring titles and two Stanley Cups.
On the blue line, Scott Stevens was the best fifth-overall defenseman of all time. Drafted by the Washington Capitals, he won three Stanley Cups with the New Jersey Devils and was named the Conn Smythe Trophy winner in 2000. In his 22-year career, Stevens finished with 908 points in 1,635 games. The bruising hitter also had 2,785 penalty minutes, which ranks him 14th all-time.
The best active fifth-overall picks at each position are forward Phil Kessel (956 points in 1,204 games), defenseman Morgan Rielly (373 points in 654 games) and goaltender Carey Price, the 2015 Hart Trophy winner.
The Flyers have drafted fifth overall just one time in their history. In their inaugural season, 1967-68, they selected right wing Serge Bernier.
Bernier started in the AHL before working up to full-time NHL status by the 1970-71 season when he had 23 goals and 51 points in 77 games. In January of 1972, general manager Keith Allen packaged Bernier with three other players in a deal with the Los Angeles Kings.
That brought Bill Flett, Ross Lonsberry, Jean Potvin and Eddie Joyal to Philadelphia. Potvin was later flipped to the New York Islanders in exchange for Terry Crisp who, along with Lonsberry, was part of the Flyers’ 1974 and 1975 Stanley Cup-winning teams. ‘Cowboy’ Flett was dealt to the Toronto Maple Leafs after winning the Cup with the Flyers in 1974. Joyal played 26 games for the Flyers before jumping to the rival World Hockey Association in 1972-73.
Players To Watch
For an idea of some of the names that could be in the mix if the Flyers do decide to pick at five, here’s a quick peek at some of the mock drafts and ranking lists that have been posted around the internet.
In their mock draft, Tankathon has skilled center Matthew Savoie at five. His Winnipeg Ice are currently through to the third round of the Western Hockey League playoffs, where they’re taking on the Edmonton Oil Kings.
In his last draft rankings update in March, TSN’s Director of Scouting Craig Button slotted in winger Joakim Kemell at No. 5. He’s fresh off a bronze-medal performance at last month’s World U18 Championship, where he had six goals in five games for Finland.
Kemell is also the choice of Adam Kimelman of NHL.com, whose home base is in Philadelphia. His colleague, Mike Morreale, picks Czech defenseman David Jiricek for the Flyers — a big, right-shot Czech defenseman who missed some time after suffering a knee injury at the brief World Junior Championship. Jiricek is now back in action, with a goal and an assist in four games for the Czechs at the men’s World Championship in Finland.
Elite Prospects has moved Jiricek all the way up to No. 2 in their May rankings. That means a drop to five for Juraj Slafkovsky, the power forward who was named Olympic MVP at age 17 after his seven-goal performance helped Slovakia earn an unexpected bronze medal in Beijing.
Recently turned 18, Slafkovsky is also currently at men’s Worlds, where he has a goal and two assists in three games.
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