Should the Flyers Move Up in the Draft?

Is it a feasible move for Danny Briere to weaponize his two first-round picks and try to move up in the draft?
2023 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Round One
2023 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Round One / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

The Flyers currently hold the 12th overall pick in the upcoming NHL draft. The way this draft is appearing, there could be several really good players that Daniel Briere could select that could make an impact in a relatively short time.  However, that is not the only first-round pick that the Flyers have in this upcoming draft. 

A few years ago, the Flyers traded team captain Claude Giroux to the Florida Panthers. While the Flyers got Owen Tippett in that deal, the other part was a future first-round pick. That future is now. However, the Panthers are making their second trip to the Stanley Cup Finals. The Flyers will receive the 31st or 32nd overall pick, depending on whether or not the Panthers bring home the hardware.

Now, if Briere was Eagles GM Howie Roseman, the constant pre-draft chatter would be whether or not the Flyers would trade up. After all, you could easily trade two first picks in the first round to move up to get a top-tier pick.  

Let's examine the feasibility of this. Could the Flyers move up? If so, who could they trade with? What teams would be willing to trade with the Flyers? Lastly, would it make sense for Briere to do so?

Who's Ahead of the Flyers?

In order, the teams ahead of the Flyers are San Jose, Chicago, Anaheim, Columbus Montreal, Utah, Ottawa, Seattle, Calgary, New Jersey, and Buffalo. Of all these teams, we can cross out a few.

The Sharks aren't going to move away from Macklin Celebrini. It ain't happening. Likewise, the Blackhawks aren't going to move down when they can pair Connor Bedard up with someone that they hope can dominate like Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews did for years. Anaheim is probably out as well.

Columbus might be talked into it, but do you want to give a divisional rival two first-round picks? God forbid they strike gold twice in one draft. Likewise, you can cross out the Devils. The Sabres are also gone because why trade two first-rounders to move up one spot?

Likely Candidates for Trading Up?

That leaves Montreal, Utah, Ottawa, Seattle and Calgary. All five teams are messes. The Canadiens and the Flames have both seemed bound and determined to firesale their players away over the last few years and are mired in historically bad eras. There is a chance that they could be tempted by the allure of two first-rounders. However, it may be hard to pry that top-five pick away from Montreal. Calgary seems more like a better fit.

Utah, having moved from Arizona, is going to need something to build a future on and build up hype for. Prying a number six slot might be hard, but having two first-rounders could convince their new fanbase that they are building for a better future. Ottawa is a hot mess. They keep getting close and then fall apart. Two picks might entice them, but they will probably want a higher-profile player.

To be honest, Seattle, outside of Calgary, seems like a better fit to move up. They could stock their farm system with two prospects. They could make this move in anticipation of building for tomorrow. After all, they did make the playoffs in their second season. This could set them back on the right path.

Does it Make Sense?

If this was the NFL, yes it would. Hands down you would trade a mid-level and lower-end first-round pick to snag a top-eight pick. However, the NHL is very different. You are looking at prospects from all over the world. Some are in college, others in junior leagues, and others are international stars on the tourney circuit. Some have been projected and scouted for years and others have just recently blipped on scouts' radars.

The point is that you have more of a pool of potential candidates to choose from. This makes it harder to select. Someone who may have been a star in a European junior league may find the transition to the NHL rinks a challenge. Many players do great elsewhere but struggle big time here in North America.

Moving two first-round picks to jump up two or three spots makes little sense. Outside of the top three guys, you can find a winger at eighth who is just as good as someone at 12th. Even then, it depends on the system you employ.

Last year, the Flyers drafted a falling Matvei Michkov. Then, the team selected Oliver Bonk, the son of Radek Bonk later on. Many felt that he was drafted too high. Turns out, he is an amazing prospect and could be in Philly on a full-time basis in another year or two. The point is, you never know how good someone is going to be. A 32nd overall player could be just as good, if not better than someone selected 10th overall. 

While the prospect of moving up seems sexy, it might be best to stand pat and pick up two guys in the first. If the Flyers strike twice early on, and both pan out, as last year's class seems to be doing, they will be creating a juggernaut that could dominate the Eastern Conference for years to come.

Now if you are talking about trading a first-rounder and a second-rounder to move up, that's a different story.