Tomorrow, the Philadelphia Flyers will participate in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft. With the fifth overall pick in their possession, they’ll have an opportunity to make a trade or draft, in their vision, the most NHL-ready prospect while addressing a team need.
At a time, the Flyers showed an interest in pursuing Alex DeBrincat. Reportedly, Chuck Fletcher is holding onto the fifth overall pick, but that could change in one day. We won’t know until Philadelphia is on the clock.
But, we can predict picks. Or, at least we’ll try to. Nate Tennesen and I present a complete seven-round mock draft. Matt Stinger also provided us with his insight into who Fletcher will choose. Collaboratively, we offer “PSN Picks: the 2022 NHL Entry Draft.”
1st Rd; 5th Overall
Matt: As the Flyers look to the future, where do they turn? I want them to go on the offensive, focusing on a sniper. They know Cutter Gauthier will be there. I mentioned him as a strong candidate back in May. He has size, speed, and an NHL-ready shot ready for display at Boston College next season.
However, as the draft board shapes out, it’s likely David Jiříček.
Jiříček is a right-handed, big-bodied defenseman. At 18 years old, he checks in at 6’3″ and 190 lbs. A two-way player, Jiříček transitions well and has a powerful shot. He needs to work on his acceleration, but he has good speed. He isn’t the next Cale Makar, and that’s okay, but he has the potential to be a top-pair defenseman.
Nate: The Flyers lack stability, specifically right-handed defensemen, and Šimon Nemec can cure their defensive woes for a long time. He’s arguably the best defenseman in the draft class, has a right-handed shot, and has the potential to be a top-pairing NHL defenseman. If he is available with the fifth overall pick, he’s the best option for Philadelphia.
Fletcher shouldn’t trade their fifth overall pick. He said they were open to swapping the selection for a player in their early 20s who could provide success for the team presently and in the future. Alex DeBrincat would be nice to acquire, but the risk is in DeBrincat signing long-term. What about Pierre Luc-DuBois?
The Flyers struggled to remain healthy at center with Kevin Hayes and Sean Couturier. DuBois would provide the high-end center talent Philadelphia wants. The New York Rangers and Montreal Canadiens are in the hunt for DuBois. He has a history with Tortorella, for better or worse, but both are past their history and could dictate the leadership in the locker room under the new coaching regime.
The asking price for DuBois would have to be one that the Winnipeg Jets can’t ignore. For the Flyers, it could cost the first and a third-round pick. It’s critical that if a trade occurs, Fletcher does not overpay.
Eric: I’ve rang the bell for a while on Jiříček. There is a lack of depth within the Flyers’ system at RD. With this kind of draft capital, it would be critical to address a need. With the fifth overall pick, the best available who fulfills a team need is Jiříček.
The Seattle Kraken links to Nemec in more than a few mock drafts. I believe Jiříček has a higher ceiling while Nemec will be more NHL-ready. If the Kraken agrees, then Nemec may be the fifth overall pick for Philadelphia. Either way, Fletcher is getting defensive with the fifth overall pick. I do believe that Jiříček will be the selection, however.
3rd Rd; 69th Overall
Nate: Another right-handed defenseman. Zach Bookman played for the Brooks Bandits in the AJHL, where Makar is an alumnus. Bookman scored 102 points (21G, 81A) in 55 games played this season, the second-highest point total by a defenseman in AJHL history. Bookman could fall into the later rounds, but the Flyers should jump on him early in the third round to be safe.
Eric: I love Bookman. In a mock draft I did in May, I had the Flyers choosing him in the fifth round. He’s climbed up the draft rankings.
Countering the defensive pick in the first round with a forward seems right. Then, everything began to unfold with Ivan Fedotov. A hockey reality is that Fletcher might want to select a goaltender here with the future very unclear surrounding Fedotov. Or, Fletcher will likely go for the best LW on the board.
Given unforeseen circumstances and how they may affect decision-making with the third-round pick, Tyler Brennan is a must if he is still on the board. Securing a postseason push with the Prince George Cougars in the WHL, the 6’4″ and 190lbs goaltender turned in stellar playoff metrics (95.4%SV, 1.86GAA) but an 0-3-0 record.
4th Rd; 101st Overall
Eric: At this pace, it’s necessary to address that forward with a left-handed shot. Stephen Halliday is a big-bodied, fundamentally sound forward who excels at protecting and possessing the puck. He presents a net-front presence valuable on a powerplay with capable playmaking skills. Halliday totaled 95pts (35G, 60A) last season with the Dubuque Fighting Saints in the USHL. In 2022-2023, he’ll play at Ohio State University.
Nate: Matthew Maggio scored 85 points (38G, 47A) in 66 games with the Windsor Spitfires in the OHL. He could turn into a bottom-six scoring forward with the Flyers. In 25 postseason games with the Spitfires, Maggio totaled 17pts (7G, 10A.)
5th Rd; 133rd Overall
Nate: The Flyers have talent in the goaltending system but could benefit by adding more. Hugo Hävelid should be the fifth-round selection if still around. He’s the second highest-ranked European goalie and projects to be a late fourth-round to early fifth-round pick. Havelid isn’t the tallest goaltender at 5’10” but has the skill to outplay his size. He could go earlier if teams want to make the jump, but Philadelphia should pick him up if he’s on the board.
Eric: Another prospect I mentioned in May was Ryan Healey. Nate predicted Bookman as the second RD for the Flyers in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft. I think Fletcher chooses Healey. A commit to Harvard in 2023-2024, Healey has similar size and stats to Devon Toews’ draft year. In the fifth round, he is a steal.
6th Rd; 165th Overall
Eric: A defensive LW complements a playmaking left-handed forward selected in the fourth round. Max Graham is a rangy player with his stick. He’s on-brand with what Tortorella wants out of his team. Tortorella wants the Flyers to be “hard.” It starts with drafting players who are trending in that direction.
Nate: Stephen Halliday (already briefed in the fourth round.)
7th Rd; 197th Overall
Nate: Elmeri Laasko is a left-handed Finnish defenseman. With the hire of Sami Kapanen as a scout, the Flyers have a pipeline to European skaters. Laasko will be a late-round selection and likely on the board when Philadelphia finishes their draft.
Eric: At this point, go with the best available skater on the board. Elias Pettersson is that at LD. A work in progress, he could be a mid-round pick, but others could rise as he falls down the board. An offensive-defenseman, Pettersson fits the cycle of drafting defensemen to bolster the blue-line on the powerplay.
(Photo Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn/Icon Sportswire)