What Happens if the Flyers Land Connor Bedard?

It’s been yet another ugly campaign for the Philadelphia Flyers, who are now embroiled in their third consecutive season that can be painted as the worst stretch in franchise history. Yet through all the misery, they still haven’t walked away with the main goal of landing a top draft pick.

The problem is, because of some of their younger players performing better than expected this season, the team hasn’t been in the running for a top draft pick. If the 2022-23 campaign were to end today, they’d finish seventh worst. That’s just a 6.5% chance at stealing the first overall pick through the lottery. Eighth worst has a 6% chance, ninth has a 5% chance, and even sixth worst has just a 7.5% chance.

Time’s running out in the season and the Flyers can only fall so far. The bottom four teams are pretty much separated from the pack, but falling to fifth worst and the 8.5% lottery odds that comes with it is still technically within reach.

Though the lottery exists for this very reason, to give teams a shot at a top pick even if they didn’t “earn” it. In the past we’ve explored the possibility of the Flyers snagging the top selection if there’s a greater power making those decisions, so what happens if luck breaks in their favor and the Flyers walk away from the 2023 draft with phenom Connor Bedard?

More than anything, the Flyers desperately need serious talent at center, and a generational-caliber 18-year-old would be just what the doctor ordered. They’ve got a team full of of up-and-coming wingers that have a limited ceiling with nobody to lead the lines down the middle and very few in-house options coming their way to address that hole internally.

It also would take a ton of pressure off 2022 first round pick Cutter Gauthier, who has converted to center during his NCAA career at Boston College despite being a natural left wing. It means he can either take up the second line center role and work into it at the NHL level, or just shift back to the wing and form a one-two punch with Bedard on the top line.

Having a potential top three centers start the 2023-34 season in Bedard, Gauthier and Elliot Desnoyers who would all be 21 years old or younger is a solid jump start on a rebuild. And that’s not including Noah Cates, who just turned 24 and has quietly developed into one of the top young shutdown centers in the league.

Landing Bedard would be great for the future of the team, but for a front office that is as incompetent as the Flyers, it may lead to them feeling as though they’re off the hook when it comes to other moves during the 2023 offseason and beyond.

Hell, Bedard’s junior team, the Regina Pats, are hovering at just above .500 despite Bedard’s 123 points in 48 games. Look no further than Connor McDavid in the NHL to prove that one player, no matter how good, can’t quite carry a team by himself.

“Hey, we have Connor Bedard, he’ll save the day, we don’t need to make any moves” could easily be seen as a real quote from the front office, who has been hesitant to makes moves even without a potential generational talent in their corner.

Now with Chuck Fletcher out of the picture, there is hopefully less chance that a miracle of this caliber would be completely wasted, but with the rest of the front office shakeups still unknown, the incompetence that has become commonplace these days isn’t completely gone yet.

Obviously the Flyers snagging the first overall pick and drafting Connor Bedard is very much a dream. Though it’s still technically a possibility and a beacon of hope for a franchise trapped in an abysmal darkness. Maybe the decade of suffering Flyers’ fans have undergone will finally pay off this year and the hockey gods will smile upon a long-suffering franchise by gifting them the next big thing in our sport.

By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)

photo credit: hopestandard.com


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