Top 3 targets for Flyers in the 2022 NHL Draft
The Philadelphia Flyers hold the 5th overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft which will take place on July 7th.
On May 10th, we watched the New Jersey Devils jump up three spots from the 5th to the 2nd overall pick and if you listened to our livestream during the lottery, you already know how we feel about the Devils franchise. If you didn’t, just know we absolutely hate them. Jack Hughes, Luke Hughes, Nico Hischier, Alexander Holtz, and now potentially Logan Cooley or Juraj Slafkovsky is extremely annoying to even think about.
It’s no secret the Flyers need top-end talent at just about every position besides goalie. Carter Hart (23 years old) and newly signed Ivan Fedotov (25 years old) should be a fun duo to watch heading into the 2022-2023 season.
Fedotov is coming off a fantastic year in the KHL for CSKA Moskva, posting a 2.00 GAA and a .919 SV. He followed an awe-inspiring regular season up with an even more impressive postseason, posting a 1.85 GAA and a .937 SV%.
Fedotov even won the spot as the KHL’s All-Star team goalie if those numbers above didn’t already impress you enough. I fully expect him to be this team’s #2 goalie next season, but these positions are obviously not just handed to players because you put up elite numbers in the KHL, he’s going to have to earn it.
Top 4 Prediction
1. MTL: Shane Wright
There was a ton of talk amongst the timeline that the gap between Wright and Cooley isn’t as far as most people assume it is. Now with Juraj Slafkovsky’s recent rise and extremely eye-popping play in the World Cup for Team SVK, the talks have changed.
I still think Montreal is going to go with Shane Wright at the top. No, he’s no Connor McDavid, Auston Matthews, or Jack Eichel, but he’s an extremely solid two-way player that thinks the game at an NHL pace already. He also possesses the best NHL-ready shot in the draft in my opinion.
2. NJ: Juraj Slafkovsky
I’d personally go with Logan Cooley here but with NJ pretty stacked at C with Jack Hughes and Nico Hischier, a big, strong winger that has a lethal shot and likes to play physical would be a perfect player to put next to those guys.
Slafkovsky is currently tied for 9th place in the World Championships right now with 2G-5A-7P in 6 games. It sucks that I now have to dislike this kid because he’s one of my favorite prospects in this draft.
3. ARI: Logan Cooley
The Arizona ownership and front office should be jumping with joy this kid fell to them at #3 overall. He’s easily the most dynamic forward in this draft and with Arizona needing talent basically everywhere like the Flyers, they’ll gladly select the best player on the board.
Cooley finished the U18 tournament tied for 5th place in total points with 3G-7A-10P in 6 games. He even scored the “Michigan” goal which should honestly be called “The Zegras” at this point. Cooley is committed to Minnesota next season.
To Cooley’s disappointment, he’ll have to go play in a college arena (ASU) because the franchise that picked him is the most incompetent organization in the entire NHL. They somehow make the Flyers look competent.
4. SEA: Simon Nemec
This is where things become a little unclear for me. Do I think there’s a chance that MTL “surprises” some people and goes Cooley or Slafkovsky #1, absolutely. I do however think that the top three I just listed, in some form, is set.
Nemec and David Jiricek are the two top defensemen in this draft and are both right-handed. Nemec is 6’1 192 pounds and Jiricek is 6’3 176 pounds. Both are currently playing in the World Championships, Nemec for Team Slovakia and Jiricek for Team Czechia.
Seattle loves their defenseman so I do think they’ll pick between these two, leaving the Flyers with a very interesting decision at #5.
My Top 3 Choices for the Flyers
1. Matthew Savoie (C/W)
If Cooley isn’t the most dynamic offensive player in this draft in your opinion, Savoie must be your guy. Teammates with Flyers 6th round pick (178th) in 2020, Connor McClennon, Savoie is an extremely smooth skater that possesses elite playmaking ability for the Winnipeg Ice in the WHL.
He scored 43G-38A-81P in 62 games this season, showcasing his elite skating and playmaking ability throughout the year. Savoie’s skating reminds me of Matthew Barzal’s and while I’m not sitting here calling him the next Barzal, it’s hard to not see it.
The Flyers need high-end talent everywhere, but they especially need it in their forward group. They don’t have a player with Savoie’s skating ability (maybe TK lol?) and shot. He would instantly become the Flyer’s best offensive prospect by a mile.
2. David Jiricek (D)
If you don’t already follow Will Scouching, an extremely smart and hardworking guy that runs “Scouching” on Youtube and podcast platforms (and a website), do it now. This guy knows more about prospects than anyone I’ve ever seen.
To get back on track, Jiricek is his favorite defenseman in the draft and even has him ranked #1 on his “2nd tier” of players rankings.
Jiricek is a 6’3 176 pound defenseman that is currently playing for team Czechia in the World Cup. He recently got hurt in the World Juniors, needing knee surgery which dropped his stock. Since then, he’s played really well in the top Czech league and is currently playing well for team CZE. He has 1G-1A in 4 games.
An injury of this significance at his age is definitely a concern, but playing right now in the World’s makes me feel a little better. The Flyers could really use a 6’3 two-way, right-handed defenseman, that can jump up in the play and add in offensively with the question marks surrounding Ryan Ellis at the moment.
If Seattle decides to go Jiricek over Nemec, the Flyers are going to have a very fun and interesting decision to make.
3. Joakim Kemell (RW)
The Flyers need someone who 1. Shoots the puck and 2. Likes to shoot in general, and Joakim Kemell is that guy. Standing at 5’11 176 pounds, what he lacks in size he makes up for with shifty mobility and a tenacious attitude. You wouldn’t think he was 5’11 the way he throw himself at players in the corners while battling for pucks.
He started his season with 12G-6A-18P in 16 games but unfortunately suffered a shoulder injury. Overall, he has played well with JYP in Finland’s top pro league (Liiga) and even participated in the World Juniors for Finland.
Kemell has 15G-8A-23P in 39 games for JYP this season. If the Flyers are looking to add an offensive talent that is shifty and can put the puck in the back of the net, he might be their guy.
Plus, his overall aggressiveness as a smaller player would go over really well with Philly fans. We love our smaller players with heart (Briere, Recchi, Kapanen, Iverson, Westbrook, etc).
Ideally, I wish I wasn’t sitting here typing this blog talking about a Top 5 pick. I’d rather be waking up every other day gearing up for playoff games, but that’s not the reality unfortunately. July 7th should be a big day for this franchise and something tells me the draft pick won’t be the only big thing to happen that night.
Mandatory Credit: Jiri Halttunen