Four years ago, luck was with the Flyers when they moved from No. 13 to No. 2 in the draft lottery.
They are hoping for a similar script when the draft lottery is held Wednesday from the NHL Network’s studio in Secaucus, N.J.
Back in 2017, the Flyers had just a little over a 2% chance to land the No. 1 or No. 2 overall pick in the lottery. They beat those odds, received the No. 2 pick, and selected center Nolan Patrick.
“We got an unexpected gift,” Paul Holmgren, then the Flyers’ president, said at the time.
There will be two draws in Wednesday’s lottery: one to determine who gets the No. 1 pick, the other to decide who gets the No. 2 selection. The Flyers, again, have about a 2% chance to secure one of those picks.
The draft will be held virtually July 23 (first round) and July 24 (Rounds 2-7), and Owen Power, a 6-foot-6, 213-pound defenseman from the University of Michigan, is favored to be chosen at No. 1.
Power is one of three University of Michigan freshmen who could be selected in the top 10. The others are center Matthew Beniers (6-2, 175) and center/left winger Kent Johnson (6-1, 167).
Johnson, a speedy and creative player, is ranked No. 3 among North American skaters by Central Scouting. Craig Button of TSN ranks him as the draft’s 13th-best player. The Flyers will probably pick around 13th.
» READ MORE: A look at the Flyers' 2020 draft class
Brent Flahr, a Flyers assistant general manager, is the man who heads the team’s draft board. He said this year’s draft is more challenging because the pandemic shut down the Ontario Hockey League, and because it was a bit more difficult to see the other leagues in person.
“Our guys have a pretty good grasp on things,” he said of his scouts, “but some players haven’t been seen in person, and video scouting is dangerous. Sometimes you watch a video and you see the good things, but you don’t see the context of the game. It can be a little misleading at times, but it’s all we’ve got [on some players] and it is still a good tool.”
Based on the odds and where they finished -- and assuming they don’t trade their selection -- the Flyers will probably pick around 13th in the first round. Based on their record, they are slotted at 14th before the lottery, but they would move up a slot because Arizona has forfeited its first-round pick.
If Arizona wins either lottery, there will be a redraw.
‘Average’ draft class
Flahr said it’s an “average” draft year, “but there are some good players there.”
Buffalo, at 16.6%, has the best chance to win the lottery, followed by Anaheim (12.1%), New Jersey (10.3%), and first-year Seattle (10.3%).
The Flyers have the 14th-best odds at 1.8%, but, again, they will move up a spot because of the Arizona situation. The Coyotes forfeited their second-round pick last year and their top pick this year for violating the NHL’s combine-testing policy.
If the Flyers pick as expected, centers Chaz Lucius (6-1, 185) and Cole Sillinger (6-0, 197) could be among the highest-rated players available.
Lucius, a University of Minnesota recruit who played for the U.S. National Team Development Program in the USHL, has a quick release and powerful shot. He had 20 points, including 13 goals, in 13 games this season.
Sillinger had 46 points (24 goals, 22 assists) in 31 games for Sioux Falls in the USHL, and he is the son of former NHL forward Mike Sillinger.
The Flyers would be thrilled if Mason McTavish (6-1, 207), whose stock seems to be rising, was available. The center/left winger plays with an edge, has a shoot-first mentality, and owns a booming shot. He is ranked No. 2 among North American skaters by Central Scouting, and No. 14 overall by Button.
With no OHL games this year, McTavish went to Switzerland and collected nine goals in 13 games.
Two-way winger Matthew Coronato (5-10, 183), who will play at Harvard, is another intriguing prospect who might be on the board for the Flyers. Playing for Chicago in the USHL, he had 48 goals and 85 points in 51 games. Coronato is known for his speed and ferocious forechecking.
If the Flyers opt for a defenseman, Corson Ceulemans (6-2, 198), a University of Wisconsin recruit, would be a solid choice. Playing for the Brooks Bandits in the Alberta Junior Hockey League, the right-handed shooting Ceulemans had 35 points in 43 games in 2019-20, and in a shortened season, he had four goals and 11 points in eight games this year.
Another defenseman to watch: Western Hockey League prospect Carson Lambos (6-1, 197), a smooth skater who is regarded as a strong two-way player -- and someone who clears bodies in front. He appears destined to go somewhere in the first round, and will probably be available in the early teens.
In franchise history, the Flyers have never drafted a player No. 13 overall. They have selected some notable players at 14, including Brian Propp (1979), Joel Farabee (2018), and Cam York (2019).