NHL Draft: The Flyers’ odds at landing the No. 1 pick

In his end of season press conference on Tuesday, Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher talked about the “aggressive retool” the team intends to undergo over the summer.

In particular, I have highlighted the role that youth and development are going to play in the processincluding the high draft pick they’ll have at their disposal in Montreal in a couple months — one of the few silver linings that come with a season as catastrophic as this one.

“We’ll have a pretty high pick this year that’ll be part of our team in probably the very near future,” Fletcher said. “That’s got to be a big part of it.”

Regardless of how the pingpong balls fall next Tuesday in the draft lottery, the Flyers will get a selection from the top of the incoming 2022 class. It’s just a matter of when that pick will be.

The Flyers finished the season with a 25-46-11 record and 61 points, and after Seattle lost its season finale to Winnipeg on Sunday, they were locked in as the league’s fourth-worst team.

As released by the NHL once the regular season concludedthey’ll have a 9.5 percent chance of jumping ahead to the No. 1 overall pick, sitting behind Seattle’s 11.5 percent chance, Arizona’s 13.5 percent, and league-worst Montreal’s 18.5 percent odds at getting it.

Because of a rule change to the lottery format, where teams can only jump a maximum of 10 spots up, the furthest the Flyers could slide back on the draft board is from fourth down to sixth.

Here’s the full look at the 16 non-playoff teams’ chances of getting the No. 1 overall pick:

Team 1st Pick Odds 21-22 Record points
Montréal 18.5% 22-49-11 55
Arizona 13.5% 25-50-7 57
Seattle 11.5% 27-49-6 60
flyers 9.5% 25-46-11 61
devils 8.5% 27-46-9 63
chicago* 7.5% 28-42-12 68
Ottawa 6.5% 33-42-7 73
detroit 6.0% 32-40-10 74
buffalo 5.0% 32-39-11 75
Anaheim 3.5% 31-37-14 76
Saint Joseph 3.0% 32-37-13 77
columbus 2.5% 37-38-7 81
New York Islanders 2.0% 37-35-10 84
Winnipeg 1.5% 39-32-11 89
vancouver 0.5% 40-30-12 92
Vegas** 0.5% 43-31-8 94

*Pick transfers from Chicago to Columbus if not a top-two pick; **Pick transfers to Buffalo if not a top-10 pick

Then there are the odds for the Flyers landing anywhere 1-6, as projected by Tankathon. (Note that if the Flyers do move up, it’ll be to the No. 2 overall pick at minimum.)

Pick odds
one 9.5%
two 9.8%
3 N/A
4 15.4%
5 44.9%
6 20.5%

So what can they do with that?

Should the Flyers jump up to No. 1, the consensus top pick all season has been 18-year old Shane Wright out of the OHL. The 2022 draft class is generally considered to be a weaker one, and Wright isn’t projected to be the type of game-changer that Connor McDavid and Auston Matthews are. But he has shown to be an exceptional playmaker in juniors thanks to a combination of incredible vision and anticipation, and at the pro level, knowing when and where everyone is going to be a major advantage.

The likelihood, however, is that the Flyers will land elsewhere, and they’ll have a fair share of options to consider.

Personally, I think they should prioritize high-end offensive talent since the team as it’s constructed now severely lacks offensive punch.

Last month, we highlighted two center prospects that should be able to help in that regard: 17-year old Logan Cooley out of the US National Development Program and 18-year old Matthew Savoie out of the Western Hockey Hockey League.

Both prospects are highly-touted skaters — NHL Central Scouting has Cooley as its No. 2 ranked North American skater and Savoie at No. 3 — and both possess a skillset and approach to the game that, so far, has meant one thing: When either is one the ice, the puck is heading toward the other team’s net.

Cooley, a Pittsburgh native who Tankathon projects the Flyers landing at No. 4, gets it done with quick skating and even quicker thinking. Savoie gets it done with shiftiness, blazing speed, and a wicked shot.

Other options expected to be within the top 6 include big forward Juraj Slafkovsky out of Finland’s Liiga, and Slovak defenseman Simon Nemec, who’s projected as the top blueliner in the ’22 class.

There’s a lot of work for the Flyers to do over the summer if they want to climb back into relevance. But first they’ll have to see where the ping-pong balls fall next Tuesday.

The NHL Draft begins July 7.

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