The Flyers losses haven’t stopped coming, even following the conclusion of the 2021-22 season.
The NHL hosted its annual draft lottery Tuesday night, where the Flyers slipped one spot in the 2022 NHL draft order from the No. 4 overall selection to No. 5. The Montréal Canadiens, the hosts of the draft July 7 at the Bell Centre, earned the No. 1 overall pick.
Going into the lottery, the Flyers had a 9.5% chance at drawing the top pick, followed by a 9.8% shot at No. 2, 15.4% at No. 4, 44.9% at No. 5 and 20.5% at No. 6. After finishing with the fourth-worst record in the league (25-46-11), the Flyers ended up with the selection they were most likely to earn.
The New Jersey Devils, who finished the regular season with the league’s fifth-worst record (27-46-9), leapfrogged the Flyers in the draft order to earn the No. 2 selection. The Arizona Coyotes drew No. 3, followed by the Seattle Kraken at No. 4.
The Flyers last picked at No. 5 pick in 1967, one day after the expansion draft, when they selected right winger Serge Bernier.
In this year’s draft, the Flyers currently have six picks, one in every round except for the second. General manager Chuck Fletcher traded that pick to the Arizona Coyotes in a package with defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere and the St. Louis Blues’ 2022 seventh-round pick in exchange for cap relief.
This will be Fletcher’s fourth draft with the Flyers after he was hired as general manager on Dec. 3, 2018. Three of Fletcher’s draft selections have made their NHL debuts with the Flyers to date — defensemen Cam York (2019, Round 1, No. 14 overall), Ronnie Attard (2019, Round 3, No. 72 overall), and winger Bobby Brink (2019, Round 2, No. 34 overall).
Fletcher and his front office counterparts will make their draft selections on July 7 (Round 1) and 8 (Rounds 2-7). Before the draft, they will head to Buffalo, N.Y., for the NHL combine from May 29 through June 4 to evaluate and interview prospects.
Kingston Frontenacs (Ontario Hockey League) center Shane Wright is the No. 1-ranked North American skater by NHL Central Scouting and is the likely first overall pick in this year’s draft. Wright is followed by center Logan Cooley (USA U-18 National Team Development Program), left winger Cutter Gauthier (USA U-18 NTDP), center Matthew Savoie (Winnipeg Ice, Western Hockey League), and center Conor Geekie (Winnipeg, WHL).
Left winger Juraj Slafkovský (TPS, Finnish Liiga) ranks No. 1 among international skaters, followed by right winger Joakim Kemell (JYP, Finnish Liiga), defenseman Simon Nemec (HK Nitra, Slovak Extraliga), defenseman David Jiricek (HC Škoda Plzeň, Czech Extraliga), and center Marco Kasper (Rögle BK, Swedish Hockey League).
Following the March 21 trade deadline when the Flyers acquired three draft picks in the 2023 draft and one in 2024 in transactions for longtime captain Claude Giroux (Florida Panthers), defenseman Justin Braun (New York Rangers), and forward Derick Brassard (Edmonton Oilers), Fletcher stated that it was the team’s preference to add selections in 2023 over 2022.
The 2023 draft, headlined by Regina Pats center Connor Bedard, is expected to feature a deeper pool of talent.