With the 135th pick in the 2023 NHL Draft, the Philadelphia Flyers selected defenseman Carter Sotheran of the Portland Winterhawks.
The Philadelphia Flyers continued to add to their defensive prospect pool late on Thursday, drafting right-shot defenseman Carter Sotheran with pick 135 in the fifth round. Like Denver Barkey, Sotheran might be considered by some as another draft steal. The 6’3″ 203 pounds defenseman has work to do on his game, like most fifth round picks, but still does a few different things really well.
With the Portland Winterhawks this season, Carter Sotheran put up modest point totals. In 68 games, Sotheran put up just four goals and 19 assists. However, Sotheran excels in other areas that allow him and his team to succeed. Sotheran is very decisive and creative with the puck, and is able to create and execute breakouts with precision. Sotheran could improve his creativity in the offensive zone and play up to his size in the defensive zone, but for a fifth round pick, he’s not as much of a project as some might think. EliteProspects ranked Sotheran 55th, which would be late second-round pick territory. In their 2023 NHL Draft guide, EliteProspects compared Sotheran to current Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Travis Sanheim.
If the Philadelphia Flyers do not move Travis Sanheim, Carter Sotheran could find himself playing alongside his professional comparison rather soon. Alongside fellow Flyers draftee Oliver Bonk, it seems the team has identified two long-term solutions on the right side of their defense, and both should be competing for a roster spot within two years. Carter Sotheran certainly has the profile and feel of a player with limited upside, but very translatable skills to make him a dependable NHL regular as a second or third-pairing defender. It would be very fair to say that Sotheran is one of the best selections the Flyers made this draft in terms of value, right up there with Matvei Michkov and Carson Bjarnason. Daniel Briere’s draft strategy seems to be finding players with the most upside and most projectability, and it seems to be working.