Flyers News & Rumors: Draft Day, Fedotov, Schedule Released

The Philadelphia Flyers never seem to go through a week without making major headlines. The 2022 NHL Entry Draft begins in Montreal tonight, and free agency is just one week away. However, just ahead of the most consequential week of the offseason, goaltending prospect Ivan Fedotov found himself in a situation with implications beyond the organization and the NHL.

2022 NHL Entry Draft

The big day is finally here. The Flyers own the fifth-overall pick in the first round of the NHL Entry Draft, which will be televised beginning at 7 p.m. in the Eastern time zone on Thursday. Rounds 2-7 will take place at Bell Centre on Friday beginning at 11 a.m. Eastern time on NHL Network. 

Cutter Gauthier USNTDP
Cutter Gauthier, USNTDP (Rena Laverty / USA Hockey’s NTDP)

The Flyers have picked in the top five just three times during the 21st century. They also own picks 69, 101, 133, 165, and 197. They traded their second-round selection to the Arizona Coyotes along with Shayne Gostisbehere and an additional pick for cap relief last offseason. While they sold off veteran players in exchange for draft capital ahead of the trade deadline in March, they focused more on acquiring picks in future drafts. The deals that sent Claude Giroux, Justin Braun, and Derick Brassard to playoff teams brought back three picks in 2023 and one conditional pick in 2024 or 2025.

Rumors continue to swirl about a top-six tier of available prospects that lacks a general consensus among NHL scouts. Bob Mckenzie and Corey Pronman have deviated from the expectation of Shane Wright as the first-overall pick for the Montreal Canadiens. Both respective draft experts have swayed toward Slovakian sensation Juraj Slafkovsky as the best player available. Pronman projected Cutter Gauthier as Philadelphia’s choice while MacKenzie ranked Gauthier as his fifth-best available player (from The Athletic, “2022 NHL Mock Draft: Juraj Slafkovsky goes No. 1 in Corey Pronman’s final mock of the season,” 7/6/22).

Related: 2022 NHL Draft Guide

Fans in Philadelphia remember circumstances of bad luck the last two times the Flyers picked this high. They lost the 2007 NHL Draft Lottery despite finishing with the worst record and missed the opportunity to select three-time Stanley Cup winner Patrick Kane. Even when they moved up 11 picks in the lottery in 2017, they used the second-overall pick to select highly-touted center Nolan Patrick. Miro Heiskanen, Cale Makar, and Elias Pettersson went with the next three picks and became franchise building blocks for each of their teams while Patrick quickly faded in Philadelphia. Chaos at the top of the draft, however, might benefit the Flyers this time around if the top-end talent they seek slips to the fifth spot unexpectedly.

Fedotov’s Murky Situation in Russia

The excitement surrounding the NHL Draft was unfortunately moved to the backburner when reports surfaced about Fedotov’s situation. The 25-year-old goaltender was taken to a military base by Russian law enforcement officers just ahead of his planned move to the United States, his agent J.P. Barry told the Associated Press.

The Flyers selected Fedotov in the seventh round in 2015. He starred in the 2022 Winter Olympics, helping the Russian Olympic Committee to a silver medal, and in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) in three full-time seasons since 2019-20. The 6-foot-7 netminder signed a one-year entry-level deal with Philadelphia on May 7. General manager (GM) Chuck Fletcher hoped for Fedotov to compete for the backup spot behind expected starter Carter Hart, but the circumstances presumably remove him from the equation in the immediate future.

Shaw In, Yeo Out

Brad Shaw will join newly-hired head coach John Tortorella’s staff in Philadelphia. He is expected to focus on defense and penalty killing. The two coaches spent five years together with the Columbus Blue Jackets from 2016-17 to 2020-21. The Flyers had the worst cumulative penalty kill in the NHL in 2020-21 and 2021-22, and they finished tied with the New Jersey Devils for the worst goals against average over the same span.

Mike Yeo Philadelphia Flyers
Former Philadelphia Flyers Head Coach Mike Yeo (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Mike Yeo accepted an assistant coaching position with the Vancouver Canucks under head coach Bruce Boudreau. Yeo spent 60 games as Philadelphia’s interim coach in 2021-22, finishing with a 17-36-7 record. The organization forced him to fight an uphill battle in too many ways, and Fletcher acknowledged as much when he announced that the interim tag wouldn’t be removed. 

2022-23 NHL Schedule

The NHL released its regular-season schedule for 2022-23 on Wednesday. The Flyers will open the regular season at the Wells Fargo Center on Oct. 13 against the New Jersey Devils and remain home to face the Canucks two days later. Other schedule highlights include a Black Friday matchup against the Pittsburgh Penguins and home games against the Tampa Bay Lightning and Colorado Avalanche just four days apart in early December.

Sean Couturier of the Philadelphia Flyers and Evgeni Malkin of the Pittsburgh Penguins (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The NHL hopes to find normalcy after complications from COVID-19 and the Winter Olympics have significantly impacted scheduling the last three seasons. Due to the addition of the Seattle Kraken in 2021-22, two divisional games are subtracted from Philadelphia’s schedule. The Flyers will face the Penguins and the New York Rangers, arguably their two biggest rivals, just three times each while they face every other Metropolitan Division team four times each. 

The schedule release on Thursday afternoon got a busy week in the world of the Philadelphia Flyers started. There will be more news to come, and fans might finally get to how Fletcher’s plan to “aggressively retool” will take shape for a rebound season in 2022-23.

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