Brent Flahr quipped that he hopes the Flyers won't be picking this high again in a long time.
Nonetheless, though, Flahr and his amateur scouting staff are confident about landing a really good player around the top five of the 2022 NHL draft.
"Yeah, I think we’ve gone over the players that we feel are the best five and we’ve gone over different scenarios of what we think the teams in front of us will take. There are still some unknowns, though," Flahr said June 10 in a phone interview with NBC Sports Philadelphia. "But I think we’re happy with the number of different players at the position, probably even a couple of more further. Depending on how it falls, maybe you trade back a couple of spots even or look to trade up. We’ll see how it goes."
Following a 25-46-11 season, the Flyers are slotted at No. 5 overall in this year's draft, which will be held July 7-8 at Bell Centre in Montreal. The Flyers have six total selections. The first round kicks off at 7 p.m. ET Thursday, while Rounds 2-7 follow Friday starting at 11 a.m. ET.
"I think it’s been well-documented, there’s no Connor McDavids in the draft or whatnot. But there is some depth early in the draft," Flahr said. "There’s different positions — there’s a few centermen, there’s a couple of right-shot defensemen with skill and size, there’s a couple of scoring right wingers, there’s a power winger.
"There are some interesting players early. I think it’s going to be a really interesting first round. … It’s going to be surprising I think to a lot of people, I think there could be a lot of surprises in the early going of this draft."
Leading up to July 7-8, we're breaking down draft targets for the Flyers at No. 5.
Team: Winnipeg ICE
The Flyers saw Savoie and his ICE team in bunches this season. Winnipeg featured former Flyers prospect Connor McClennon and two potential top-10 picks in Savoie and Conor Geekie.
Savoie is a smaller forward but a big-time skater with game-breaking type of skill. TSN's Bob McKenzie pegged him as the fourth-best player in the draft back in January and so did The Athletic's Scott Wheeler earlier this month.
"There isn’t a player in this draft class whose game thrills more than Savoie’s does when he’s firing," Wheeler wrote. "Inside the offensive zone, he’s lethal."
The 18-year-old led the ICE with 90 points (35 goals, 55 assists) through 65 games and finished with the WHL's third-best plus-minus rating at plus-54. He was limited to 10 games in the playoffs because of a shoulder injury, but still put up 12 points (six goals, six assists) and a plus-13 mark.
Some will have questions over his size. According to various draft experts, he could go anywhere between the fourth and 12th picks.
Fit with Flyers
As the Flyers look to aggressively retool, general manager Chuck Fletcher noted the organization's need for more talent.
"Part of it is we have to get younger, we have to get more talented, we have to get faster," Fletcher said May 3.
Savoie, being one of the most talented players in this draft, would help ignite that initiative.
A major aspect of the Flyers' talent deficiency is the organization's lack of elite scoring threats. Even in 2019-20, when the club came a win shy of the East Final, it was balanced offensively but not dynamic.
Draft Savoie and the Flyers would drop top-six scoring upside into their prospect pool.
It's tough to tell whether he projects as more of a center or winger at the NHL level. Center, of course, is a premium position and the Flyers haven't taken many pivots over the last three years.
Savoie's size will be a justifiable concern, but his speed and scoring ability could address some of the needs in the Flyers' system.
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