2023 Flyers Draft Class: Denver Barkey

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2023 NHL Entry Draft
NHL hockey teams participate in the second day of the draft Thursday, June 29, 2023, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/George Walker IV)
(AP Photo/George Walker IV)

Daniel Briere and Brent Flahr found more than a few gems throughout the 2023 NHL Entry Draft.

Denver Barkey was a mid-second or mid-third-round projection. When the Philadelphia Flyers drafted him 95th overall, late in the third round, Briere and Flahr made a beneficial choice.

“Just to hear your name called, it’s a super surreal feeling. [You] get a loss for words, but [I’m] obviously really excited and honored to be drafted by Philadelphia.”

Denver Barkey; 6/29/2023

Barkey is an undersized C with offensive talent. Standing at 5’9″ and 154lbs, he found a new gear in the postseason with the London Knights in 2023. He is a shifty, elusive skater with the puck in tight spaces, making it difficult for defensemen to keep up. A playmaker, Barkey constantly searches for passing lanes and an open teammate. On offense, he is a high-tempo skater, which is refreshing with the Flyers’ young core.

There is some comparison between Briere and Barkey. They both compete highly in clutch games, notably the postseason. It isn’t a coincidence that Barkey skyrocketed in the postseason; his defensive ability caught up to his offensive prowess. Barkey anticipated the transition to defense, using his agility to create turnovers.

“I know Daniel Briere is the GM. He was another smaller guy in the NHL who found a lot of success. Being able to be around him and learn from him will be cool.”

Denver Barkey; 6/29/2023

In 2023-2024, he’ll continue with the Knights in the OHL. Last season, Barkey totaled 59 points (22G, 37A) in 61GP. In the postseason, Barkey added 24 points (11G, 13A) in 20GP, averaging more than a point per game.

“I just knew if I want to make a long playoff run; I was one of the top offensive guys, so I had to really step up my game.”

Denver Barkey; 6/29/2023

But, what could be the cause of Barkey slipping to 95th overall? One answer, and to the point, is that every other team underestimated Barkey.

A possession C, Barkey shows poise and patience in his game. Those are two critical traits for any young prospect hoping to impress Ian Laperriere or John Tortorella. Barkey challenges bigger skaters, playing fearless.

Unfortunately, he didn’t get onto the ice at the 2023 Flyers Development Camp, nursing an ankle sprain.

Of course, the ankle sprain will set him back in the eyes of the Flyers. Players weren’t competing for a roster spot at the 2023 Development Camp, but the inability to get onto the ice against a roster featuring the current draft class, camp invites, and team prospects doesn’t help. Perhaps he would’ve made an impression on the ice during the Team Clarke versus Team Lindros scrimmage. His Knights teammate, Oliver Bonk, did.

“He [Bonk] was sitting a few rows in front of me. I got to hug him on the way up.”

Denver Barkey; 6/29/2023

Following the 2023 NHL Entry Draft, the Flyers have depth at the C position throughout their system. Barkey could feature in the Lehigh Valley Phantoms lineup by 2024-2025. His current trajectory shows that he’ll only improve in the OHL. Another postseason appearance with the Knights will accommodate his development heading into the 2024 Flyers Development and Training Camps. When Barkey arrives at the Flyers Training Center, he’ll compete for a role against teammates like Zayde WisdomJR AvonRhett Gardner, and Cutter Gauthier.

(AP Photo/George Walker IV)