Although the 2023 NHL Draft is well in the rearview mirror, it’s still never too early to plot the next move. The Philadelphia Flyers still have more work to do in their quest to rebuild. Well equipped with two first-round picks, it’s time to see which top talents are up next for the Flyers.
Most of the teams that finished towards the bottom of the NHL standings in 2023 look like they’ll be taking a step forward, either by way of better player health or roster improvement. The Philadelphia Flyers are not one of those teams; they arguably got worse after jettisoning veterans like Kevin Hayes, Ivan Provorov, Tony DeAngelo, and James van Riemsdyk. As a result, the Flyers’ success lies in the hands of their up and coming prospects.
In fact, it’s likely that the Philadelphia Flyers could be an even worse team as a whole by the end of the 2023-24 season. Players like Travis Konecny and Carter Hart have been subjects of trade rumors for a while now, and neither player is tied down long-term. Hart will be an RFA at the end of the season, while Konecny will be a UFA in 2025 and will be able to walk for free – the prospect of which will continue to grow if the Philadelphia Flyers do not show massive improvement by then.
The Chicago Blackhawks figure to be an improved team following the additions of Connor Bedard, Taylor Hall, Nick Foligno, and Corey Perry, and the integration of stud youngster Lukas Reichel. They’ll still be a bad squad, but not as bad as the Anaheim Ducks, who are yet to reach the cap floor. The San Jose Sharks are still trying to trade Erik Karlsson and don’t have a sliver of hope for an improved 2023-24 season. The Columbus Blue Jackets made several additions this offseason, and the Montreal Canadiens can expect to be a healthier team, and add by subtraction. The Arizona Coyotes can be a sleeper middle-of-the-pack team if they can sort out their goaltending and defense. If the Philadelphia Flyers sell off Konecny and Hart, they’ll likely be duking it out with the Anaheim Ducks and San Jose Sharks for sole possession of the NHL’s basement.
With the third pick in the 2024 NHL Draft, the Philadelphia Flyers select…
Assuming Macklin Celebrini and Cole Eiserman are off the board by pick three, Ivan Demidov makes the most sense for the Philadelphia Flyers. By the time the 2024 NHL Draft rolls around there might still be a Russian stigma, but that won’t stop the Flyers. They already got the big fish in Matvei Michkov, and Demidov’s contract in Russia only lasts until 2025. He’ll be able to come over before Michkov does.
Ivan Demidov might end up as the most dynamic forward in the 2024 draft class at the end of the day. There’s really nothing the Russian does poorly, and he combines his lightning speed with some nifty mitts and an Einstein-like hockey IQ. He could be a better prospect than Matvei Michkov. Demidov has both the intelligence and the skill to play all three forward positions in all three zones, and that’s an exceptionally rare quality in today’s NHL. At the height of his abilities, Demidov would be a game-breaker on a nightly basis.
Macklin Celebrini and Cole Eiserman have dominated the scoring in their respective leagues and levels of competition, so that will keep them atop draft boards for now, and maybe through the year. The Philadelphia Flyers already have Michkov, and also have the likes of fellow Russians Alexei Kolosov and Yegor Zavragin in the pipeline. Michkov and Ivan Demidov at their full potential might become a dynamic Russian duo unlike one the National Hockey League has ever seen.