From injuries to bad habits to unlucky bounces, just about everything that could have gone wrong for the 2021-22 Flyers went wrong. The ping pong balls at the draft lottery had the last laugh, as the Flyers slipped from No. 4 in the 2022 NHL draft order to No. 5.

The pressure is on general manager Chuck Fletcher and his staff, including assistant general manager Brent Flahr, to right the ship, and Fletcher is determined to do it quickly.

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“First round, it’s a key to a draft,” Flahr said. “Then you’re picking top five, you’ve just got to make sure you’re getting the right guy.”

Flahr said that the team needs to get bigger and more skilled, and add goal scorers. He also acknowledged that the 2022 draft class doesn’t appear to have an abundance of NHL-ready players who can step in right away. The priority lies in finding players who can make the greatest impact down the line.

“Picking [at] five, we’ll be picking the best player,” Flahr said. “We’re not jockeying for position at that point.”

Here are three European-based forwards who could be available for the Flyers at No. 5 (assuming Juraj Slafkovský is off the board, as expected), including insight from Daily Faceoff NHL draft and prospects analyst Chris Peters. This is part one of a three-part series, with subsequent scouting reports to follow on the top North American-based forwards, and the top defensemen.

Joakim Kemell

Age: 18

Height: 5-foot-11

Weight: 176 lbs.

Position: Right wing

Shoots: Right

Club: JYP Jyväskylä (Liiga, Finland)


In 2021-22, Kemell played his first full pro season with JYP and registered 12 goals and six assists in 16 games (1.125 points per game) to start the season (leading Finland’s Liiga in scoring at just 17 years old at the time). Six of those goals came on the power play, and three goals were game-winners.

However, Kemell suffered an upper-body injury in early November that sidelined him for a month. He returned on Dec. 3, 2021, and didn’t put up a single point in the next 13 games through February. Overall, Kemell finished with 15 goals and 23 points in 39 games.

Kemell competed for Finland at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup in August (five goals, one assist in five games), the U18 World Championship in late April (six goals and two assists in five games), and the abbreviated World Juniors.


Kemell is a goal scorer with a quick, accurate shot. He put up more goals per game in Liiga (.38) than Slovakian left winger Juraj Slafkovský (.16), who is considered to be among the top three forwards in this year’s draft. Not only does Kemell have the ability to score, according to Peters, but he also has the ability to create with his hands and to make plays thanks to his vision and hockey sense.

“He’s the guy that you would consider having be the guy that carries the puck into the zone with control and deferring to him in the neutral zone on rushes,” Peters said. ”He’s pretty quick as well. The shot is probably his ace tool.”

Areas of improvement

Like many 18-year-old prospects in the draft, Kemell is on the lighter side and will need to gain strength to be an effective NHL player. One of the reasons Slafkovský is rated higher than Kemell is because of his physical tools at 6-foot-4, 218 pounds. Additionally, Peters said Kemell’s “shift-to-shift competitiveness” could use improvement.

“When you’re a player at that size, you need to continue to be working for the puck,” Peters said. “You can’t just be a guy that’s a finisher alone. I think if you’re going to go that high in the draft, you need to be a guy that can drive play. I think he can be, but he often seems more like the guy where he’s going to need some help around him.”

Kemell’s injury problems this season will be something to note for interested NHL teams.

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Jonathan Lekkerimäki

Age: 17

Height: 5-foot-11

Weight: 172 lbs.

Position: Right wing

Shoots: Right

Club: Djurgårdens IF (Swedish Hockey League, Sweden)


Lekkerimäki split time this season between Djurgårdens’ U20 team and their pro team, scoring at a high rate with both clubs. In 26 games with the U20 team, Lekkerimäki scored at a 1.35 points per game pace (20 goals, 15 assists), making him the second-youngest player in the league to rank in the top 16 in that category.

He made his debut with the pro club on Oct. 21, 2021, and became a fixture in the lineup by the end of January. Lekkerimäki signed a rookie deal in February to keep him with Djurgårdens until at least 2023.

In 26 games in the Swedish Hockey League, he scored seven goals with two assists (.35 points per game, the highest rate among 2004 birth year players in the SHL).

Lekkerimäki started the international tournament season strong at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup for Sweden, putting up five goals in as many games. At the U18 World Championship he led the tournament in scoring (five goals, 10 assists in six games) as Sweden won gold.


Like Kemell, Lekkerimäki’s shot is his strongest trait. Peters describes it as heavy, quick, and decisive, and he’s capable of letting it rip from anywhere. Lekkerimäki also boasts good hands, vision, and anticipation, knowing when to shoot and when to pass. He pairs his skill with a feisty style of play. His tremendous U18 World Championship performance has helped his draft stock.

“I thought there was a pretty wide gap between him and Kemell in terms of who would be there [at the top of the list of draft prospects],” Peters said. “I think they’re very close now. I would say that Lekkerimäki has moved himself into that surefire top 10 range or no-doubt top 15.”

Areas of improvement

Lekkerimäki will need to get stronger and become harder to move off the puck.

“He just needs to stay on the track that he’s on and just continue to develop that offensive game, because that’s where he’s going to make his money,” Peters said.

Danila Yurov

Age: 18

Height: 6-foot-1

Weight: 179 lbs.

Position: Right wing

Shoots: Left

Club: Metallurg Magnitogorsk (KHL, Russia)


Yurov started the season with Metallurg Magnitogorsk, one of the best teams in the KHL, often as the 13th forward. He appeared in nine games and averaged roughly five minutes of ice time per game. Yurov then bounced between the KHL and Stalnye Lisy Magnitogorsk of the MHL, Russia’s top major junior hockey league.

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With Stalnye Lisy, Yurov shouldered a bigger load, posting 36 points (13 goals, 23 assists) in 23 games. Yurov dressed for 21 KHL games, never leaving the bench in 10 of them, and failing to register a point.

Yurov posted four goals and seven assists in seven games at the U18 World Championship in 2020-21 to help Russia win the silver medal.


A cerebral player, Yurov has shown an ability to be a step ahead of the play offensively, knowing when to shoot, take the puck to the net, or find the trailer. Although Yurov doesn’t physically tower over anybody at 6-foot-1, he is a capable of using his strength to get through defensemen, according to Peters.

“He plays the game with power, even though he’s not huge,” Peters said “That’s a really good way to generate offense in the NHL. I think the way that he plays would allow him to play the toughest minutes, the toughest competition. And I think if he was given more of a chance in the KHL, he probably would have been able to show the KHL coach that he can do it there, too.”

Areas of improvement

Yurov needs to take more reps, either in the KHL or in the VHL, Russia’s second-tier league. He is under contract with Metallurg for one more season. However, Yurov already plays a pro-style game, which could translate well to North America in the future.

“[Vancouver Canucks winger] Vasily Podkolzin went through the same thing last year and Vancouver was just thankful to be able to get him out of there,” Peters said. “It turns out, he can play in the NHL right away, and I think that you’d find the same thing with Danila Yurov as soon as he’s ready to go.”