After Canada and the United States, Sweden is the nation that the Flyers have picked the most in the NHL Draft. Thirty-five players have been drafted by Philadelphia over the years. The last one was Swedish defender Emil Andrae in the second round in 2020. The only first rounder selected by Philly was Peter Forsberg in 1991.
Leo Carlsson is widely considered to be the best international prospect in this year’s draft. Connor Bedard is widely believed to be the top pick this year. Many hockey analysts have Adam Fantilli as the consensus next pick and will be drafted by Anaheim. However, crazy things can happen in the draft and players can rise or fall depending on need, scouting reports, etc.
Carlsson is not expected to make it out of the top five selections. Many feel that the Columbus Blue Jackets or San Jose Sharks may snag him next. But depending on who those teams select and who Montreal and Arizona pick right before Philadelphia, there is a small outside chance that Carlsson could fall to seventh. If that is the case, Daniel Briere should not hesitate to make Carlsson their top selection this year.
Carlsson stands at 6’3”, but is a lightweight 194 lbs. That makes him tall and lanky, but speedy. He has played the last few seasons in Sweden with Orebro HK. During that time, he has scored 20 goals with 32 assists in 79 games, while playing in the top Swedish men’s league. This year, he has scored 10 goals with 15 assists for 25 points. Those numbers, are quite impressive for an 18 year old.
Josh Tessler, from Smaht Scouting, has written this about Carlsson:
"“Overall, Carlsson has a good blend of speed and size… Carlsson has quick feet and can react to a pivot on a dime… The speed that he nets allows him to win puck battles shift-in shift-out. His quick feet allows him to react to a big change in puck movement… he also does a good job of surveying his opponent’s speed and matching it in situations where he is far back.”"
In a year where a lot of focus is on Bedard and Fantilli, there is no real consensus as to who is the next best player. Matvei Michkov and Dalibor Dvorsky, along with Carlsson, are the most highly regarded European prospects. Zach Benson, Will Smith, Andrew Cristall, and Oliver Moore are pretty much lumped into the three through ten picks.
If by some chance Carlsson falls to seventh, the Flyers should snag him up. His speed and scoring abilities could be a real game changer for this organization. This would be a great selection for new GM Briere and one he would not regret.