Despite an awful season, the NHL Entry Draft remains exciting. Of course, falling back to fifth after having the fourth-best draft odds for the top overall pick in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft put a sour taste in the mouths of Philadelphia Flyers fans. It certainly didn’t spoil the draft.
More than a few players fit with the Flyers at fifth overall. Chuck Fletcher could also trade the fifth overall pick. It all depends on his vision of this rebuild and how aggressive he is willing to be.
Depending on the philosophy Fletcher runs with, he could have a chance at selecting between the best defensemen in the class. If a team ahead of Philadelphia takes a defensive route, then one of the highly regarded forwards becomes a possibility.
Understood, this mock is very early. These projections can and will change as the 2022 NHL Entry Draft draws near.
1st Round; 5th Overall: Juraj Slafkovsky, LW, HC TPS
I don’t believe the Philadelphia Flyers will acquire Johnny Gaudreau. He’s going to be out of the price range. If Slafkovsky is there, Fletcher needs to jump on the opportunity.
Slafkovsky was the MVP of the Olympics. Upon arrival, he has an NHL-ready frame at 6’4″ and 218lbs. One of the biggest strengths of his game is his puck protection, which a scout compared to Jaromir Jagr. The Flyers’ offense is lives and dies on puck possession, making Slafkovsky a fit.
Team depth at LW will be compromised. The hourglass turned on James van Riemsdyk, and Oskar Lindblom needs to have a comeback in his contract year. Fletcher needs to become less expensive and stay reasonably under the salary cap, which drafting Slafkovsky does.
3rd Round; 68th Overall: Noah Warren, RHD, Gatineau Olympiques
This pick is as important as the first-round selection. Considering team needs, LW and RD are glaring requirements. If Fletcher takes an offensive approach with the fifth overall pick, it makes sense to address the defense here.
Warren represents incredible value if he is on the board. He is a second-round talent available for a third-round pick. Scouts describe Warren as a two-way defenseman who excels at the defensive aspect of his role more than offensively. He is very consistent in his play, not sacrificing position and awareness when going for a bruising hit.
4th Round; 100th Overall: Cameron Lund, RW, Green Bay Gamblers
Currently, six right-wingers are awaiting an extension offer, whether they’re unrestricted or restricted free agents. The ones that have a high likelihood of staying are the ones who drive the play into the offensive zone. I would bet that Owen Tippett signs an extension because of that.
Lund excels at driving into the offensive zone via a clean entry. The draw-and-dump can work but hasn’t fit the identity of the Philadelphia Flyers as of late. If available with the one-hundredth overall selection, it’ll be another steal for Fletcher.
5th Round; 132nd Overall: Ryan Healey, RHD, Sioux Falls Stampede
Healey is another defenseman who is climbing the rankings. He’ll fit the offensive defenseman box on the Philadelphia Flyers’ checklist. Already a commit to Harvard University, his best strength is transitioning with possession. Healey could specialize as a powerplay defenseman. I expect him to slip down the rankings, but he’s better than where I have him in this mock.
6th Round; 164th Overall: Zachary Bookman, RHD, Brooks Bandits
My eyes got big when Russ Cohen mentioned Bookman. A shoulder injury might allow the Philadelphia Flyers to make another value pick late in the draft. Committed to Merrimack College, he’s a strong skating defenseman who pays close attention to how Cale Makar, formerly a Brooks Bandit, plays. The Flyers loved Makar. It doesn’t mean Bookman will be Makar, but he did surpass his former best point production season in 2021-2022.
7th Round; 196th Overall; Kenta Isogai, C, Youngstown Phantoms
One of my favorite stories is Isogai. Representing Japan in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft, I would love for him to become a Philadelphia Flyer. Immediately, there would be a surge of Flyers fans in Japan, which is always great for business.
Aside from that, he is a good hockey player. While Isogai is a fast, skilled center, his greatest asset is his vision. He is one of three pillars of the Japanese foundation within the USHL. On the Youngstown Phantoms is Yushiroh Hirano, who impressed at the Chicago Blackhawks development camp in 2015. Isogai might be the biggest star between he, Hirano, and Yusaku Ando.
(Devin Manky/Icon Sportswire)