There is no bad time for a player of Bedard’s pedigree. This question was posed by a Twitter user claiming that a scout had asked whether or not Bedard would be bad for the Flyers’ rebuild. The tweeter also said that the Flyers are in “Year 0” and not even close to what the Oilers had when they drafted McDavid or when the Devils drafted Hughes.
To answer the initial question, Bedard never hurts a rebuilder, a middling team, or a contending team. If you get Bedard, you build that team around him, and your rebuild is already sped up. In my opinion, I don’t believe any scout said that, and the tweeter posed this question from their brain. Surely a scout thinking a team like the Flyers shouldn’t get a player like Bedard would make some pretty big headlines in the hockey world. No scout has said anything like that, and for once, there seems to be no scout even considering anyone but Bedard for any team that gets the chance to pick first.
Going next to the “Year 0” comment. The Flyers are not at “Year 0”. Even though the Flyers’ management has just started officially calling it a rebuild, that doesn’t mean that’s not what they’ve been doing. If I run past the hall monitor and tell them I’m walking, I don’t think that’ll make them say “Oh he is walking, my bad”. The Flyers were trying to retool, especially going into the 2021-22 season when they got Ristolainen, Atkinson, and Ellis, among others, but about halfway through that season, it became apparent that the higher-ups knew that they needed to lose to win. We finished the season 4th last, the second time the Flyers started a playoff drought in their history. The Flyers didn’t do too much to help them win now this past summer, though the Tony D move was the outlier. Now, the Flyers are the 7th worst team and have a shot at a generational player.
Onto comparing the players the Flyers have compared to teams like the Rangers, Devils, Maple Leafs, and Oilers. Before the Oilers drafted McDavid, they had Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Leon Draisaitl, Nail Yakupov, and Nurse. The Devils had Yegor Sharangovich, Kyle Palmieri, Nico Hischier, Damon Severson, Jesper Bratt, and Pavel Zacha. Those are the two teams he mentioned. If we look at what the Rangers had before picking Lafreníere, they had Chris Kreider, Henrik Lundqvist, Igor Shesterkin, Adam Fox, Kappo Kakko, Artemi Panarin, Mika Zibanejad, and K’andre Miller. The Maple Leafs had Mitch Marner, William Nylander, Morgan Reilly, and Nazem Kadri when they drafted Matthews. So, then what weapons do the Flyers have that they can put around Bedard? Travis Konecny is one, along with Owen Tippett, both probably fighting for the top-line RW spot. Noah Cates, Joel Farabee, Tyson Foerster, Elliot Desnoyers, Morgan Frost, Cam York, Ronnie Attard, Carter Hart, and Cutter Gauthier. While most of these players still have room to grow, there clearly isn’t a lack of talent to put around him.
All in all, there is no reason why the Flyers shouldn’t pick Bedard if given the chance. It would be the biggest blunder in NHL history, and the only reason Bedard should not be in the orange and black is if we don’t win the draft lottery. A player with Bedard’s potential doesn’t come around often and even with this, Bedard in his first season will most likely not put the Flyers over the edge to make them a playoff team. We don’t know what changes will happen as well. Don’t buy into the doubt, be excited until we don’t have a reason to be.
By: Noah Caplan (@Phlyers24)
Photo creds: BarDown