2024 Flyers Draft: Ranking the top 5 international prospects

Flyers 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)

The Philadelphia Flyers took a home run swing at #7 overall with Matvei Michkov when they decided to draft skills over his expected timeline. Given the confirmation of a rebuild from Daniel Briere, the faith was rewarded way sooner than almost anyone in the hockey world could’ve predicted with the announcement of Michkov’s contract in Russia before the 2024-25 season. 

With six NHL teams ahead of Philadelphia opting to pass on the second-ranked skater in the 2023 NHL Draft, will that strategy change for clubs looking at high-end international talent in the top half of the draft, or will clubs we see a high-end talent fall down the draft board again in 2024? 

Contract Status & Timelines ARE Important

Typically speaking, teams picking inside the top 10 of the NHL draft are not one superstar player away from successful competition in an 82-game regular season schedule. That prospect taken as their first-round draft pick at the 2024 NHL Draft would eventually be expected to contribute over the next three to five years. Therefore, some teams might be patient with timelines for some of these international prospects that may have multiple years remaining on a signed contract. 

As the first round unfolds, we might see those contract concerns come into play as teams make their selections destroying mock drafts all over the world.  Let us take a look at the Top 5 ranked international skaters available at the 2024 NHL Draft according to NHL.com.

#1 – Anton Silayev – 6’7 – Defensman – Nizhny Novgorod (Russia)

Generally considered the third-best prospect available in the 2024 NHL Draft, Anton Silayev is a towering offensive defenseman. That combination of size and offensive skills from the blueline would be a unicorn on any NHL franchise. Silayev skated in 63 KHL games this past season leading his squad in hits (98) for one of the better clubs in Russia’s top league. One think to note is that just like Matvei Michkovm Silayev, he could see his draft position plummet due to a KHL contract running through 2025-26. 

#2 – Ivan Demidov- 6’0 – Right Wing – SKA St. Petersberg (Russia-Jr.)

Similar to an incoming teenage Russian coming to South Broad soon, Ivan Demidov carved up the MHL, Russia’s junior league, with 60 points in 30 games all while missing 20+ games with injury. His dominance continued in the postseason with 28 points over 17 playoff games. Unlike the top-ranked Silayev, Demidov only has a one-year commitment remaining with SKA St. Petersburg. The 18-year-old winger should get the chance to compete with SKA in the KHL in the fall. 

#3 – Konsta Helenius – 5’11 – Center – Jukurit (Finland) 

Konsta Helenius profiles as a prototypical NHL-level center with a high motor and high hockey IQ. While the pivot might be on the smaller size, scouts suggest that his size does not negatively impact his game. Helenius won 50% of his faceoffs in Finland’s Liiga. Konsta has one year of contract term remaining with Jukurit, which should benefit skills development before a likely NHL transition in 2025-26. 

#4 – Adam Jiricek – 6’2 – Defenseman – Plzen (Czechia) 

Adam Jiricek provides several attributes that hockey scouts drool over. A quick-skating, right-handed defenseman with size is one of the hardest skill sets to find in the NHL. Unfortunately, the youngsters draft season ended with a knee injury sustained at the 2024 IIHF World Junior Championships playing for Czechia. Adam is the 17-year-old younger brother of the Columbus Blue Jackets’ 1st round selection at #6 overall (David Jiricek). David has skated 47 NHL games at 20-years-old.  

#5 – Michael Bransegg-Nygard – 6’0 – Right Wing – Mora (Sweden-2) 

Philly Sports Network’s Haley Taylor Simon completed a full profile on the center from Mora. 

AP Photo/George Walker IV