Predicting the Pick Part II: An underrated player will fall to the Flyers in the NHL Draft

With less than one week before the NHL Draft, the Philadelphia Flyers look like they’re hanging onto both of their first-round picks.
Jun 28, 2023; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Philadelphia Flyers draft pick Oliver Bonk puts on his sweater after being selected with the twenty second pick in round one of the 2023 NHL Draft at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 28, 2023; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Philadelphia Flyers draft pick Oliver Bonk puts on his sweater after being selected with the twenty second pick in round one of the 2023 NHL Draft at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports / Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
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The Philadelphia Flyers are one of a few teams with multiple first-round picks as we move to within the one-week mark of the 2024 NHL Draft. If you read Part I of the series, you’ll know that in my 32-team mock draft (done without using the simulator), the scenario called for a bold prediction that ended up with Sam Dickinson falling to the Flyers. 

So, who will they take with the 31st or 32nd pick (this was the 32nd pick in the mock due to the Florida Panthers holding the edge in the Stanley Cup Final at the time) on Friday night? With this pick, I projected a shocker to occur, quite unlike what I listed in the seven-round mock draft simulation, which saw Cole Hutson going in that slot.

But the challenge here was what I felt general manager Daniel Briere would do and not what I would do in that situation. Therefore, instead of going with a more surefire offensive defenseman who is Cole Hutson, I instead rolled with the underrated Aron Kiviharju, who would probably be a mid-first-round pick if injuries didn’t affect his 2023-24 season.

This isn’t saying that someone won’t take a chance on Kiviharju, so it wouldn’t surprise me if I was way, way off on this one. But a player who has a ton of upside, even if we have to predominantly go by what we saw last year and at scouting combines to get a good read on him. 

Flyers will see an underrated defenseman fall to them in the NHL Draft

Underrated is a term I don’t like using for Aron Kiviharju, but it’s what happens when you don’t have a ton of size and dealt with injuries in a season in which he was supposed to solidify himself as one of the draft’s top defensemen. But the Flyers will get a good skater, an excellent passer who will be effective at starting sequences, and a smart hockey player, just a few traits that Alex Chauvancy of The Hockey Writers elaborates on in detail. 

Kiviharju will also be in Finland for the 2024-25 season, so he has a chance to show why the organization taking a chance on him made an outstanding move. And judging from the points productivity he managed in 2022-23 - 26 points and 23 assists in 30 contests - the odds at redemption are in his favor. 

So, as far as my predictions go, Daniel Briere will be that general manager to snag Kiviharju when he falls to the Flyers. And if I’m looking between two and three seasons down the road, I’ll also say that it will be an outstanding decision on Briere’s part if Kiviharju is indeed wearing a Flyers sweater come Friday night. 

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