Philadelphia Flyers 2022 Draft Recap

PLYMOUTH, MICHIGAN - JANUARY 17: Cutter Gauthier #19 of Team Blue skates up the ice in the third period of the USA Hockey All-American Game at USA Hockey Arena on January 17, 2022 in Plymouth, Michigan. (Photo by Mike Mulholland/Getty Images)
PLYMOUTH, MICHIGAN - JANUARY 17: Cutter Gauthier #19 of Team Blue skates up the ice in the third period of the USA Hockey All-American Game at USA Hockey Arena on January 17, 2022 in Plymouth, Michigan. (Photo by Mike Mulholland/Getty Images) /

It’s been a busy two days for the Flyers. Despite rumors to the contrary, they held onto the fifth overall pick, made a major trade, and loaded up on forwards, selecting five in this draft. Overall, they had six picks, trading away one pick and getting one in return. So, let’s see how this draft panned out.

First Pick: Cutter Gauthier (5th Overall) 

Flyers fans everywhere held their breath as Shane Wright almost fell into their hands. Some felt that defender David Jiricek could’ve been selected or that maybe the Flyers could’ve moved down a few spots and still been able to get Gauthier plus some picks. Either way, they chose Gauthier.

Gauthier intends to shift from left wing to center while going to Boston College. He is also intending to play just one year there. He’s 6’3″ and almost 200 lbs. He had an impressive debut at the world juniors.  He has some work to do in polishing his game, like most 18 year olds do. But for a fifth overall pick, he’s a good selection. It will probably be a few years before we see him at the NHL level, but he can use that time to develop and hone his skills.

Second Pick: Devin Kaplan (69th Overall)

The second pick in the draft for the Flyers came in the third round after they gave their second rounder to Arizona so they would take Shayne Gostisbehere. Kaplan, an NJ native, was Gauthier’s teammate on the under 18 junior team. He was a third line center on a junior team loaded with talent.

He’s the same size as Gauthier and, like Gauthier, needs some polishing on his passing game. He will be playing for the crosstown rival Boston University team, so perhaps the two can help each other out as they improve their talents.

Kaplan seems to be one of the low risk-high reward type of picks. He didn’t light up the stat sheet as he was buried on the depth chart, but when he did play, he played well. He has a high ceiling and could be one of the steals from this draft.

Third Pick: Alex Bump (133rd Overall) 

With the fourth round pick shipped off to Carolina for Tony DeAngelo, the Flyers selected their third winger with their third pick. Bump was expected to go in the late third to early fourth rounds, so for the Flyers to nab him in the fifth is a pretty good break.  He’s another 6’0″ 200 lbs forward. He looks like he could project to be a bottom line winger.

He does throw his weight around, but coughs the puck up quite a bit. Perhaps moving on to the NCAA level of competition can help him develop and iron out some of the kinks in his game. He could be a solid depth piece if he can put it together.

Fourth Pick: Hunter McDonald (165th Overall)

The Flyers selected McDonald in the sixth round as their only defender picked in this year’s draft. McDonald is a big boy, topping out at 6’4″, 205 lbs. He is a big, bruising blueliner. He is not the type who is going to put up points, but he can intimidate offensive players coming in.

His big issue is going to be staying out of the penalty box, as he spent 183 minutes in the box in the USHL. With the Flyers penalty kill not being all that good over the last few years, this is something that needs to get fixed. If he can play a little less reckless, his physical presence could be a blessing. If not, he could be a liability.

Fifth Pick: Santeri Sulku (197th Overall)

Sulku is a giant of a Finnish forward. He’s 6’4″ and 200 lbs (there seems to be a running theme here). However, he has yet learned to master his body and throw his weight around. While not every big guy needs to be slamming into everyone they see, they should also be comfy in using their weight to chase the puck and battle into the corners.

As with everyone so far in this draft, he is raw, but shows some flashes of promise. Being a seventh round pick, not a lot is expected of him. But Chuck Fletcher has had a knack at finding some gems later on in his drafts. If Sulku can put it together, he could be one of those.

Sixth Pick: Alexis Gendron (220th Overall)

With their final pick coming courtesy of the Carolina trade, Gendron, a forward, was selected by the Flyers. He’s the only pick who comes in under 6’0″ tall, standing at 5’9″ with 175 lbs on his frame. He’s a bit on the small side, but has a scoring touch when he chooses to use it.

Gendron really seems like he needs to build up his confidence and his scoring since he can’t physically intimidate anyone. But if he can blaze past them and light it up, who cares? He needs to own who he is and where his skill sets lay.

The DeAngelo Trade

Just like the Eagles cashed in on Draft Day by getting AJ Brown, the Flyers flipped three picks to snag Tony DeAngelo from the Carolina Hurricanes. DeAngelo had a great bounce back year with Carolina last year, filling in the hole that Dougie Hamilton left behind. He also comes with a quite a bit of baggage, which you can read about in the story above.

But if DeAngelo can put his past behind him and contribute, playing on a top line with either Ryan Ellis or Ivan Provorov, then this trade could be worth it. Ellis is still a mystery as to whether or not he will/can return. Having a veteran like DeAngelo ready to come in, especially to help out on the power play/penalty kill teams, is great. But was it worth the price? We’ll see.

Final Recap

How did the Flyers do in this draft? We’ll see. Unlike the NFL and NBA drafts, it usually takes 3-5 years before you see many of these players play in the NHL. So, the impact won’t be known for a while. All of these guys are 18, so they have a lot of work to do to refine their skill set.

However, many of these guys seem pretty talented. If they can stay healthy, this could be a good haul.

Likewise, some may say that the DeAngelo trade looks as if Fletcher is desperate to hold onto his job and is trying to save it by making a big splash. If the Flyers go deep in the playoffs this year, nobody will care. If they miss the playoffs for an unprecedented third year in a row, Fletcher could be out of here.

Next up, the free agency market will be heating up. We’ll see where the Flyers go from here.