Players Flyers Could Target With the 22nd Pick

Jan 25, 2023; Langley, BC, CANADA; CHL Top Prospects team white forward Ethan Gauthier (79) warms up in the CHL Top Prospects ice hockey game at Langley Events Centre. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 25, 2023; Langley, BC, CANADA; CHL Top Prospects team white forward Ethan Gauthier (79) warms up in the CHL Top Prospects ice hockey game at Langley Events Centre. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports /
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We’ve known for a while now that the Flyers have the seventh overall pick in this year’s upcoming draft. And now thanks to the Ivan Provorov trade, the Flyers will also have the 22nd pick from Columbus. So with the trade and the new draft pick, what are the Flyers going to do now?

First of all, we have to look at the distinct possibility that the Flyers could use this pick and package with the first pick to move up into the top five and grab one of the top players. Daniel Briere has already shown he is willing to make a bold move. It is also equally likely that the Flyers could use this pick in a package for another player as well. Or, the team could move this pick to acquire more picks in the future. At this point, anything and everything seems to be on the table.

But if the Flyers hold onto the pick, who could they choose? While the seventh overall pick seems a little easier to nail down because of how scouts are ranking the top overall prospects, once you get out of the top 15, it becomes a little hard to figure out. Who has fallen and why? Has a prospect suddenly made a big leap? Are teams making selections based on “best on board” or “team needs”?

We’ll break this down based on possible forwards, defenders, and goaltenders. Again, this is all conjecture based on who is projected to be around in the late-teens to mid-twenties as picked by hockey experts.

Possible Forwards

One possible person, who’ve I’ve already done a preview on is Eduard Sale. He is an intriguing candidate because he has shown flashes of great ability. It also seems like motivation is his primary issue. If that is the case, then he will most definitely not fit in with John Tortorella’s vision for this team and is a bad fit. He could go as high as sixth or slip to the bottom of the first round.  It is possible he could be there at 22, but he should be avoided.

Ethan Gauthier: No, he is not Cutter’s brother, but he is the son of former Flyer Denis Gauthier. He and Cutter may be cousins from way back, but there seems to be no direct relations. While they may not share bloodlines, they share scoring abilities. This year while playing for the Sherbrooke Phoenix of the QMJHL, he scored 30 goals and 39 assists in 66 games; this coming a year after scoring 18 goals. He also scored six goals for Team Canada in this year’s Hlinka Gretzky Cup. He’s been praised for his great hockey awareness as well as his scoring ability. He’s been a rising player as of late, but if he is around at 22, pick him.

Gabe Perreault: There is a very strong chance he won’t make it to 22nd. He’s all over the board from top-10 pick to late teens. But as a player on the U.S. National U18 Team, the same team with Will Smith, Oliver Moore, and Ryan Leonard, there is a chance he could slip. How? I’m not sure. When you score 53 goals with 79 assists, it’s hard to miss you. Perrault also scored five goals with 13 assists in the World Junior Tournament this year. He is more of a pass-first player, but if he can set up a play, I’ll take it. If there is any chance he could slip, or if the Flyers need to put together a package to possibly get him, they should consider it. He could be a game changer for Philly.

Andrew Cristall: He is another player who can crack the top-10 or fall into the twenties. Part of the hard thing about predicting the NHL draft is that you have to consider players from all over the world. Playing with the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets, he scored 34 goals with 56 assists. And all of this with taking some time off with a leg injury. He’s yet another player from the WHL overshadowed by Connor Bedard; a player he grew up with. I guess if you can’t get Bedard, you can go draft one of his childhood buddies who can seemingly score at well as well.

Colby Barlow: With so much talent at the top of this draft, Barlow is being kind of forgotten. And as teams load up on forwards and then make the run on defenders, there is a chance he could slip into the 20s. He scored 46 goals last year with the Owen Sound Attack of the OHL. The year before, he put up 30 goals. He is a natural scoring machine that is overlooked because of players like Bedard and Adam Fantilli. That is a mistake. Despite his scoring prowess, he also participates on the penalty kill or will slide back into defense mode if needed. That shows a lot of hockey maturity for his age. If he slips down, the Flyers should strongly consider this left wing sniper.

Riley Heidt: If you are looking for a bona fide center, this is it. Another WHL alum, he scored 25 goals for the Prince George Cougars with 72 assists, tying Bedard with the WHL lead. He did lead the league with 39 power play assists. However, he only had two assists in the World Junior Tournament this year. That may cause his stock to drop a bit. He has been praised for his two-way play. He is a guy who can set up a play for the wingers flying down the ice with him. This smart player would be a great addition to the Flyers if available.

Jayden Perron: He’s committed to the Univ. of South Dakota for the fall. Playing for the Chicago Steel of the USHL, he put up 24 goals and 48 assists, leading the team. If you are looking for a player that may be a little raw, but has a lot of the abilities you want, Perron has a lot of upside. He may not be as close to being NHL ready as some of the other talent, but in a few years with some college seasoning, he could be very valuable. He’s a smart player, and hockey intelligence is very important. He’s some to consider at the 22nd position.