As I’ve noted in recent draft related articles, the Flyers can be considered both fortunate and unfortunate with regard to this year’s NHL draft.
Due to their limited success in the later part of the 2010’s, and some outright luck (ahem, 13 to 2), the Flyers had made something of a habit of picking relatively high in the draft. They were never terrible enough to be among the top contenders in the draft lottery, but usually had decent draft position. However, this season, the Flyers have been, well, good! They can also consider themselves fortunate with the depth of this year’s draft, in that they have had a successful season and will still be in the running to pick a very good player.
I detailed earlier who the Flyers could potentially pick at #25 in the first round should they decide to stay put at that position. However, what if the Flyers want to get spicy and trade up?
That would certainly be an interesting proposal, and I’m not entirely sure who the Flyers would be interested in enough to merit trading up for. They’d have to give up more than just the #25 to move up far enough to merit making the move in the first place, so in the end it thoroughly depends on the scouting department and Chuck Fletcher’s view of the player in question.
That, and more, I’ll be exploring:
So who could they trade with?
Ideologically, a bad team isn’t going to swap picks with the Flyers unless they get a decent prospect in return, along with the #25 pick. Since the draft lottery has yet to be decided, we don’t know who will own picks 1 through 15, despite well intentioned efforts to guess.
We do currently know, however, that Calgary own the 16th overall pick, which could be an option. Despite finishing third in the Pacific Division, the Flames are far from a perfect team, but I don’t believe they think of themselves as needing to hold on to as high a pick as possible. They have a good, young core of players, and I could see them being trading partners with the Flyers.
What the Flames need is a bit more depth, so I could see them asking for a bottom six forward to help save themselves from all the Milan Lucic happening up there. It could even provide the perfect opportunity for the Flyers to create a space in the lineup to be filled by a prospect, or to give a prospect we’ve already seen a bigger role with the club.
The #18 overall pick held by Nashville could also be an intriguing option, though I think a move with Calgary makes more sense since you’d be getting a better pick with that deal.
And who would they pick?
Well, given the Flyers’ recent trend of picking players from the USHL, in particular the USA Hockey National Development Program (USNTDP), I have a feeling they must like somebody from there, if not a whole list of players.
Jake Sanderson seems like the type of player the Flyers would almost certainly be interested in. He’s a big, tall, two-way defenseman who’s skating ability I can only describe as purely elite. That allows for Sanderson to make all kinds of plays and close gaps when they break out for opponents. He equally kills rushes as well as starting them, and he was on his team’s PP1 at the point. He isn’t an elite playmaker, but he is still good enough to be rated at both ends of the ice.
The Flyers could only realistically pick Sanderson if he slips drastically, which I don’t think is likely, or if they manage to swing a big trade up, and they’d have to really rate Sanderson to do so, since they already have a guy like Cam York in the prospect pool.
I think they stand a better chance of trading up to land Brendan Brisson, the center from Chicago’s USHL team. He’s not “undersized” but at 5’11”, 179 lbs, isn’t the biggest, which again, shouldn’t be too big an issue. Brisson, unlike some of the other centers I’ve mentioned in recent articles, is just as good a goalscorer as he is a playmaker. He is creative and can beat defenders one-on-one, but provides additional value due to how good his shot is. He has a fantastic one-timer that makes him a power play weapon as well, and is great when forced to improvise on plays.
Various mocks have had Brisson as high as #10, but he’s also been as low as #26. I would say Brisson is a likely pick ahead of where the Flyers would be at #25, but if they are picking at #16 instead, I think they certainly could nab Brisson.