By Kevin Durso, Sports Talk Philly editor
The NHL Draft is finally here, some three months or so after it was originally supposed to take place. Nonetheless, dreams will be made as 31 prospects get selected in the first round of the draft.
For the Flyers, that means another first-round selection that could make an impact on their future. The team has the 23rd overall pick and there are many ways they could go with this pick.
With the NHL Draft getting underway in just a few hours, here are seven targets for the Flyers at 23rd overall.
Jacob Perreault – Many want the Flyers to add scoring this offseason, and while the Flyers won’t be able to do that immediately through the draft, Jacob Perreault is a player that could bring a lot of it.
He’s an offensively creative player, moves well, anticipates the game well and has great vision and a terrific shot. There aren’t many prospects that are expected to be available in the 20s that boast the goal totals that he had last season, 39 in total.
Tyson Foerster – The Flyers should be intrigued by Tyson Foerster’s offensive numbers and his ability to be flexible at forward. To have that player who is a threat with the puck on his stick is huge for them and his willingness to shoot the puck could help them.
Foerster will not be an instant fix and take time to develop, but getting a player like that in the system would be a good one at 23 for the Flyers.
Lukas Reichel – It’s hard to translate how much offense Reichel will provide if he were to bring his game to North America, but his success in the German leagues so far shows he can compete with older competition and still be successful. That bodes well for any team that takes him in getting a player that could be on a faster track to the NHL.
He’ll still need work since there isn’t a specific standout area to his game, but he’s solid in all parts and that could help him climb the ranks faster than others in this draft.
Dawson Mercer – It’s highly unlikely that Dawson Mercer falls outside of the Top 20, but if he were to make it that far, the Flyers would have to consider moving up to try to snag him. He’s a power forward that moves well and has a finishing touch with 24 goals and 60 points in 42 games last season in the QMJHL.
He’s also got some of the best size in the first round of this draft, making him difficult to move off the puck and his smarts show constantly when he has the puck. He’s definitely going to be a longshot to be a Flyer, but there could be a lot of unpredictability in this draft and if he happens to be there after the Top 15, teams may start to get aggressive to try to move up for him.
Hendrix Lapierre – There’s a chance Hendrix Lapierre could be on the board at 23 or long gone by then. He put his best foot forward as the QMJHL started back up over the weekend which could certainly increase stock, but also has dealt with injuries that could hurt it.
If the Flyers were to see him on the board at 23, it would be hard to pass up, even with the risk. He’s a player with speed and skill and has produced at nearly a point-per-game pace in each of the last two seasons despite the shortened seasons. If he can further develop his skills and stay on the ice, he’ll be a dangerous player.
Kaiden Guhle – If the Flyers are going with the best player available, it’s more than likely going to be a forward. But with Matt Niskanen’s retirement, the need to keep the cupboard full on the blue line and perhaps the way the board shakes out, they could pivot to take a defenseman with this pick.
If they do, Kaiden Guhle would be an excellent selection at 23. He’s got great size, is a physical presence and defenses well and aggressively making it very difficult for opposing offenses. He’s not going to be a huge contributor to the offensive side, but he’s consistently ranked among the Top 4 defensemen in this draft, which means good upside for any team that gets him late in the first round.
Dylan Holloway – Though he’s not expected to be on the board in the 20s, Dylan Holloway would be a great addition for the Flyers. If he were to somehow slip, the Flyers would be able to grab a great skater and two-way player.
There would be time for Holloway as well, since he’s only completed his freshman season at Wisconsin and has three more years of college to go if he chooses. Playing in the college game will also make him more ready to be a pro when that time comes and make for a quicker transition to the pro game.