Patient Flyers Reaching For Potential with Jett Luchanko at #13

(Photo/Haley Taylor Simon)

As a late August birthday in 2006, Jett Luchanko represents another swing on potential for Daniel Briere and his scouting staff. Last season at the NHL draft, a consensus top-3 prospect in Matvei Michkov fell like a rock down the draft board to the Philadelphia Flyers at #7. At the time, Danny Briere preached patience, with Philly willing to wait as long as necessary for the young Russian phenom. 

In 2024, Philadelphia was once again patient, well, because they had to be.  Danny Briere confirmed that the Flyers were indeed in negotiations for a move up the draft board. As Friday night unfolded, it was only the Flyers willing to trade down in the first round. It will be a few years before the hockey world knows if receiving a 3rd round pick to pass on defenseman Zeev Buium.  

Philly moved down one spot from #12 to #13, likely with a willingness to move down further to acquire more assets.  When no trade materialized, Briere made a selection with his timeline in mind, not that of Flyers fans scattered around the Delaware Valley and beyond. That approach landed him one of the youngest players in the 2024 draft. 

Addressing the Fedotov-Sized Elephant in the Room 

Philadelphia Flyers general manager Daniel Briere, left, and Ivan Fedotov pose with Fedotov’s Flyers jersey during an NHL hockey press conference, Friday, March 29, 2024, in Voorhees, N.J.(AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

I might as well nip the discourse right in the bud before I lose the attention of Flyers fans upset with Luchanko’s selection at #13.  YES, dear reader, those individuals are correct that Jett Luchanko was selected higher in the draft process than anyone expected. However, the conversation that the he won’t be in Philadelphia during Michkov’s time here is INSANE. 

Jett Luchanko is 17-years-old. He was an August 21st birthday making him a Leo – and therefore automatically awesome. The real reason that date is significant is that if Jett was born ten days later on September 1st, Luchanko would not have even been eligible in this 2024 draft. 

Therefore, Jett Luchanko will now get the opportunity to receive tutelage under the Flyers organization before returning to the Guelph in the OHL next fall.  Flyers third-round pick last season, Denver Barkey, exploded last season in the “O” after being drafted by Philadelphia by increasing from 59 pts to 102 points.  Could we see Jett crack the triple digits next season after posting 74 points in juniors last season?

Start Your JETT Engines 

Flyers, Jett Luchanko
(Photo/Haley Taylor Simon)

Similar to Will Farrell’s character Ricky Bobby in Talladega Nights, Jett Luchanko has one mindset—“I wanna go fast.” One of the points hammered home in watching over twenty years of hockey is that you cannot teach speed. Coaches can work on skating technique, best practices, and improving edge work on a player’s skates. But pure speed is a natural trait—one that the Philadelphia Flyers organization has lacked for far too long. 

Like a lot of Philadelphia sports pundits, I did not highly look at Luchenko as an option at #12. One thing from the McKeen Hockey scouting profile that stuck with me from my research on London’s Sam Dickinson was that Sam finished 2nd in on-ice testing behind only newest-Flyers forward Jett Luchanko. Brock Otten, McKeen’s Director of Scouting stated on Jett: “The most interesting thing is that I feel Luchanko is still learning to truly utilize his skating ability at the OHL level”.

With an additional year to develop at the OHL level, it will be quite interesting to see how the pick looks in the rearview mirror next summer. 

Reasonable Expectations for Jett Luchanko 

(Photo/Haley Taylor Simon)

Without a rapid offensive explosion like Barkey, the expected timeline for forward  Jett Luchanko in Philadelphia would be two or three years. That projection still leaves the center at under 21 years old before arriving in Philly for his pro career.  At this point, it is impossible to predict if Jett will see time in Lehigh Valley before Philadelphia. 

With the expected arrival of Matvei Michkov, Flyers fans around the world want to hit hyperspeed on the competitive window in Philadephia. Daniel Briere is taking the tortoise approach that wins the race over time to build a  Stanley Cup contender to lift that shiny, silver trophy that he was unable to claim as a 15+ year NHL player.