The 2020 NHL Draft is one day away. Dreams will be made, so will some trades, but we’ll also find out the direction Chuck Fletcher will take with this Flyers team moving forward. The Flyers hold the 23rd selection in the draft. This is the third time in team history the Flyers have chosen 23rd. They chose 23rd in 1986 and selected Finnish winger Jukka Seppo. Seppo never made it to North America, never taking part in an NHL game. The other selection at 23 for the Flyers was in 1972 when they selected defenseman Tom Bladon out of the WHL’s Edmonton Kings.
The Flyers have found their fair share of successful players in the 20’s. Brian Boucher came in 1995 at 22, Simon Gagne at the same spot three years later. The Flyers drafted Mike Richards in 2003 and Travis Konecny in 2015 at the 24 spot. Lo and behold, Claude Giroux was chosen at the 22 spot by the Flyers back in 2006. There’s plenty of value to be had, but there’s also the possibility Fletcher sees more value in using the pick as a trade chip for some more immediate help.
Names like Calgary Flames forward Johnny Gaudreau and Winnipeg Jets forward Patrik Laine have been tossed around the rumor mill as of late. We discussed not only moving up in the draft, but acquiring Laine in the same deal. Could the Flyers parlay that first round selection into some immediate scoring help? It’s time to poll the Flyers guys here at PSN and find out what they want to see Chuck Fletcher do with his first round pick.
I’m throwing this selection back to my first mock draft I did for the 2020 NHL Draft. In that deep cut, I had the Philadelphia Flyers selecting Tyson Foerster. He’s a good sized winger with an explosive shot. Part of what makes him an appetizing pick at 23rd overall is his balanced approach to offense. He is more than capable of being a goal scorer, but he’s generous with the puck too.
80 was his lucky number in 2019-2020 with the Barrie Colts in the OHL. Of those points, 44 were assists. Tyson Foerster was the MVP of the CHL Top Prospects game. He’s a steal if he hasn’t disappeared from the board before the 23rd pick. Additionally, I stand by this pick because Chuck Fletcher will likely select a winger before a defenseman in the first round.
Don’t get caught up in a trade for Patrik Laine either. The Philadelphia Flyers nailing their first-round draft pick could work out better than trading young players and a pick to ultimately not clear cap space. Tyson Foerster is my pick at 23rd overall.
If anything, the recent retirement of Matt Niskanen and re-signing of Justin Braun only make this pick simpler. The Flyers have drafted a relentless number of centers in the first round recently and with the defense now bolstered that little bit more, it likely means Gostisbehere is returning too. That leaves the wing, an area where the Flyers could use some speed and sniping ability.
I fell in love with Jack Quinn, but he may well be out of reach barring a surprise. The good news is that there are plenty of talented wingers available, especially on the right side – take Jacob Perrault for example. The decision to add some natural scoring ability and much-needed speed to the wing is a simple one and has only been made more viable with this week’s news. While the target is uncertain, in my mind, the position of choice is not.
The Flyers need to just pick the best player here. Whether they view that as Jacob Perrault, Noel Gunler, or Braden Schneider, the position shouldn’t matter. Ideally, they need to pick a guy who is that “pure” goal scorer they’ve been lacking. However, there aren’t many of those guys in this draft.
I do not think my pick is the best pick, but I just wanted to bring attention to a name who may slip. Hendrix Lapierre out of the Q is a former 1st overall pick. Lapierre is a pure passer at heart, as his playmaking abilities are atop any other prospect’s in this draft. His ability to transition and play in all three zones reminds you why he was a top prospect in the world at one point.
His injury history (concussions) is what may allow him to fall to the 20’s, but he’ll likely be picked in the late teens. The Flyers DO NOT need another kid dealing with concussion issues, but Lapierre’s ceiling could outweigh that. For a film breakdown on how good this kid is, check out the video below:
The Flyers are in a position that they haven’t been familiar with for a long time. They have a team capable of making a run and winning a Stanley Cup. Around draft time, those teams are typically the ones making a big splash for the top-tier targets in free agency and the trade block. The Flyers should be no different this year, but should be weary of the price they’ll have to pay.
A late round pick in the NHL Draft absolutely holds value. Travis Konecny at 23, David Pastrnak at 25, even Evgeny Kuznetsov at 26, there’s quality deep in the first round every year. The problem with that is it likely won’t help the Flyers immediately. If they’re in win-now mode, why make the pick when you could use it as a bargaining chip for someone who can help the team in the immediate future?
Take the tweet above with a grain of salt, but the Flyers could realistically be in on Winnipeg Jets winger Patrik Laine. A deal containing Laine would almost certainly have to include the Flyers first round selection in the 2020 draft. If the corresponding pieces are right, this deal needs to happen. Laine would automatically make the Flyers top-six one of the most dangerous in the game. He would also add a punch to a powerplay unit that was abysmal in the playoffs.
It’s pretty cut and dry. If the deal is right, the Flyers part ways with their first-round selection from this year’s NHL Draft and acquire some help that will be on the roster come the 2020/21 season’s start, whenever that may be.
Mandatory Credit – Devin Manky/Icon Sportswire