October 4, 2023

Flyers learn their draft position after NHL Draft Lottery


Photo by Jose F. Moreno/The Philadelphia Inquirer

The Philadelphia Flyers finished with the 13th overall pick at the 2021 NHL draft lottery, an outcome that was most likely for the club going into Wednesday night’s annual league raffle.

The Flyers entered the lottery with a 3.8% chance to climb into the top two of the draft order. Originally at 14th overall (but actually at 13th, more on that below), the Flyers held a 1.8% chance to earn the first pick and a 2.0% chance to get the second pick. There was a 4.9% chance they’d fall one spot, but they stayed put.

The Flyers have seven picks in the 2021 draft, which will be held virtually July 23-24. This year’s draft will be the Flyers’ third under general manager Chuck Fletcher and assistant general manager Brent Flahr.

In the first round of 2019, the Flyers traded three spots back on draft night and took Cam York at 14th overall. No, the Flyers did not take goal-scoring savant Cole Caufield, nor did 13 other teams. And, yes, the jury will and should remain out for quite some more years on the York-Caufield debate. Then, in 2020, the Flyers used their first-round selection on Tyson Foerster at 23rd overall.

Like every year, the Flyers can listen or pursue on trade offers in exchange for their first-round spot. The Flyers are coming off an ugly 2020-21 season and have pressure to jump back into contention next season. A first-round pick is a big asset to fill present needs, and the Flyers clearly have some needs.

COVID made 2020-21 an unprecedented draft year with various challenges for prospects and scouting staffs.

“There are a lot of guys that are good prospects at different levels,” Flahr said Tuesday to NBC Sports Philadelphia. “It will be interesting to see if teams go with players that they know or have a better comfort level with versus players that potentially have more upside that haven’t been seen as much.”

Does this year’s first-round talent favor any position group?

“There’s probably more variety,” Flahr said. “There’s a couple of quality defensemen early in the draft, there’s a few centermen, a few scoring wingers — there’s different variety and even a couple of goaltenders for the first round this year.

“Our staff has done a good job, our regional guys stayed in their leagues for the most part. Obviously certain guys traveled as much as they could, but we’ve got quality viewings on everybody with the exception of Ontario (OHL season was canceled because of COVID-19); we’ve seen as much as anybody else has and we’ve done whatever we can for video.

“First round is a decent first round with some depth. There’s a drop-off point, but we’re pretty confident we’re getting a good player at 14 if that’s where we pick.”

Here’s the results of the lottery:

  1. Buffalo Sabres
  2. Seattle Kraken
  3. Anaheim Ducks
  4. New Jersey Devils
  5. Columbus Blue Jackets
  6. Detroit Red Wings
  7. San Jose Sharks
  8. Los Angeles Kings
  9. Vancouver Canucks
  10. Ottawa Senators
  11. Chicago Blackhawks
  12. Calgary Flames
  13. Philadelphia Flyers
  14. Dallas Stars
  15. New York Rangers

The NHL announced the forfeiture of the Coyotes’ 2021 first-round pick in sanctions released on Aug. 26, 2020. Arizona was slotted at 11, so each club behind it bumped up one spot.

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