The 2023 NHL draft is widely expected to be one of the best drafts in recent NHL history, and it just so happens to be interim general manager Danny Briere’s first chance to make a splash in his new role with the Philadelphia Flyers.
In Mid-April Darren Dreger noted that Briere is expected to listen on basically every asset Philadelphia has and wants to be aggressive this summer to overhaul the rebuild. Now, there’s plenty of skepticism when it comes to a Chuck Fletcher prodigy being aggressive with anything, but there was one extra tidbit in Dreger’s segment and it referred to Briere potentially looking to move up in the draft, or add another top ten pick.
This piece was published a week before the draft lottery, which will obviously determine their fate permanently, but as of right now, the Flyers are slotted to pick seventh overall. Via Tankathon, here are the draft positions of lottery teams pre-lottery.
The problem with Briere’s ambition for moving up in the 2023 draft is that not many teams are going to be interested in giving up their spot. It’s expected to be the deepest draft in recent years with talent oozing from the top ten picks and beyond.
Whoever wins first overall, whether it be Anaheim or any lottery team, isn’t giving up Connor Bedard. Adam Fantilli, the consensus second overall pick is probably too enticing to move on from either. In fact, the same can be said for at least the top five or six picks in the draft.
It not only decreases the likelihood any pick gets moved, but it severally ups the price if a team in the six spots above the Flyers does indeed hang a for sale sign on a coveted top five slot.
With the possible exception of Columbus, every team below the Flyers is in a rebuild of their own, which means even if another team were to try and deal their own pick away, they’d be doing it from a point of sheer leverage, only moving it if they deem the trade value more than the player they’d pick.
And what do the Flyers even have to offer to move up anyway?
It’s not impossible the Flyers could get a first round pick for either of Travis Konecny or Ivan Provorov, ya know, things actual rebuilding teams would do, but are either valuable enough, especially for teams in rebuilding phases of their own to warrant giving up a top five pick? Maybe they can acquire a pick in the teens or early 20’s if they so choose to trade one or both of their roster players to playoff teams looking for upgrades, but using them to sneak into the top ten seems unlikely.
Detroit (9) and Buffalo (13) may considering moving their picks for main roster help to take steps forward. Washington (8) and Pittsburgh (14) could also reasonably deal their picks in the name of keeping their rosters as competitive as possible to see out the last few years of Alex Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby respectively.
So it may not be impossible for them to add another pick in the top 10-12 or so, but moving up into the top five is pretty much impractical.
If they somehow land the first overall pick in the draft through the lottery, then the idea of going hunting for another pick in the top ten becomes a little more believable. They’ll already have the best player available and anything else will be gravy. At that point it becomes a little more plausible that they give up an asset or two to land a pick in the 7-10 range. And as long as we’re traveling down this line of thinking, they can also trade away Konecny and Provorov and add another pair of picks later in the first round too! Four picks would be better than one.
Overall, it’s good to hear that Danny Briere is ambitious and at least wants to leave all options on the table for change this summer. Obviously his actions will speak far louder than his words ever could, but being smart with the draft sets a positive tone for his first summer at the helm, and it would be quite the first impression if he could somehow walk away with two top ten picks in a stacked draft, especially without selling the farm to do so, but it also doesn’t seem like the most likely outcome either.
By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)
photo credit: nhl.com