The Philadelphia Flyers just may select German winger John-Jason Peterka, per ESPN’s post-lottery NHL mock draft (ESPN Insider subscription required). Of course any draft prediction, other than Alexis Lafreniere going first overall, must be taken with a grain of salt as we still do not know the draft order for most teams.
Still, it’s always fun to speculate and explore potential draft targets for each team. So with that, let’s take a look at Peterka and see what THW think about the chances of him playing for the Flyers.
Getting to Know John-Jason Peterka
As discussed in our site’s prospect profile for Peterka, his draft stock has risen considerably this season. He began this season as a B-grade prospect by NHL Central Scouting, and as a likely second or third-round NHL draft pick.
That all changed after an impressive showing at the 2020 U20 World Juniors. Peterka helped lead Germany to a surprising win over Czech Republic, and to respectable efforts against the much stronger Canada and the United States. During the tournament, he led all German draft-eligible players with four goals and six points.
Peterka then joined EHC Red Bull Munich this season for his first in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL). Though he joined the league at just 17 years old, he mustered 7 goals and 4 assists in 42 games. Only 3 players under the age of 18 recorded more points in a season in the DEL over the past twenty years.
Related: THW’s 2020 Draft Guide
As a result, Peterka is now a possible late first-round pick. He still needs to mature and find more consistency on both sides of the puck, so he likely won’t be playing in the NHL next season. Still with incredible speed, Peterka will be an interesting developmental project for whichever NHL team lands him.
So, Will He Go to Philadelphia?
It’s tough to answer the question without knowing exactly where the Flyers will pick. We do know that they will be picking in the bottom half of the round, but the specific selection will be determined by their performance in the playoffs.
After several months off, there is no guarantee that the Flyers (or any team) will be in top form once play resumes. Nonetheless, given that the Flyers had a very strong regular season, it’s reasonable to assume that they will advance deep into the playoffs. Should this be the case, they would receive a late first-round pick that could be perfect for Peterka.
Still, in our site’s mock draft, I argued that the Flyers would be better-suited drafting Ridly Greig. He is a coming off a strong season of 26 goals and 34 assists for the Brandon Wheat Kings of the Western Hockey League (WHL). His 1.07 points-per-game rate was highest on the team. There is no doubt that the WHL is a more reliable pipeline for NHL players than is the DEL. After all, Flyers’ legend Bobby Clarke got his start playing for the Flin Flon Bombers of the WHL (then called the WCJHL).
Furthermore, Greig’s father, Mark is a former NHL player who is currently a scout for the Philadelphia Flyers. Therefore, Greig is surely well-known in the Flyers’ organization. He also has experience on the international stage representing Team Canada during the 2018 U-17 World Hockey Challenge. Ultimately, if both Peterka and Greig are on the board for the Flyers, I think that Greig would be the better choice.
So what about Peterka? Our site has him going to the Buffalo Sabres with the 38th pick in the second round of our mock draft. However, whether he is still on the board then, or whether the Sabres will even have the 38th pick, is like a lot of 2020 NHL Draft questions: yet to be determined.
Still, one thing is for sure: both Peterka and Greig present strong upside, and either could be a key piece of the Flyers’ future.