Should the Flyers Trade or Keep Their 5th-Overall Pick in 2022 Draft?

The Philadelphia Flyers have a decision ahead of them for the 2022 NHL Entry Draft. Typically, trades go down on draft day if a player is left available and another team wants him, possibly resulting in the trading of the pick outright or trading down.

I don’t expect the Flyers to trade away their pick before the draft, but they may get offers from a team in the limited time they have for their pick. Chuck Fletcher and company should be ready for this and entertain any offers that come their way. Depending on what the Flyers do with this high pick can impact the future of this team.

Trading the Pick Would Fetch the Flyers an Impactful Player for 2022-23

The first option the Flyers have is trading the fifth overall pick. With the skill at the top of the draft class this year and how impactful high overall picks are to organizations, the Flyers would be able to make a significant ask in return if another team wants that pick.

I say the Flyers should entertain any trades since Fletcher stated that there is going to be an aggressive retooling. This would mean the Flyers still plan on being a competitive hockey team next year in a division that is getting older around them. They should actually have a pretty good shot at making the top three to four in the division since the Washington Capitals have injury trouble, the Pittsburgh Penguins have contract issues, and the New York Islanders are old and parted ways with their future Hall of Fame coach.

With a healthy team and a new face or two added to the mix, it would breathe life into the team and allow them to be elevated into the higher group of teams in the Eastern Conference. The Flyers have a young and very skilled goaltender in Carter Hart here now as well as a number of players who, if they get past their injury problems, are in their primes or heading to the back nine of their careers. There’s no time to waste and drafting and developing a 5th overall pick could take at least three to four years before he starts to reach the prime of his career and be a game-breaker. The Flyers don’t have that kind of time with their current roster that includes Sean Couturier, Ryan Ellis, Kevin Hayes, and Cam Atkinson.

Cam Atkinson Philadelphia Flyers
Cam Atkinson, Philadelphia Flyers (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Regarding the retooling, if a couple of impact players are headed out, the Flyers may not get a player or NHL-ready prospect in return, so that leaves them with more draft picks. That’s more of an indication of a rebuild. But if the Flyers can use draft picks to get impactful players, then we could see a turnaround next season and hope for the Flyers yet with this core.

Any pick in the top 10 should be highly regarded and not just thrown away. The Flyers would need to receive an offer for someone in their late 20s at the oldest and able to produce. If not, then on to the next option.

Trading Down & Possible Teams to Deal With

Trading down in the draft won’t fetch as high of a return, but could also give the Flyers another first or second-round pick to work with. Whether that is drafting with it or trading it to acquire someone they want to add to their roster, that’s up to them.

Generally, teams don’t trade down too far in the draft, so they could look to teams right below them in the draft like the Columbus Blue Jackets, Ottawa Senators, Detroit Red Wings, Buffalo Sabres, Anaheim Ducks, and San Jose Sharks contact the Flyers at the draft if they like a player and they think he might be taken before they get to pick.

If the Flyers don’t have a specific player they really like and are sold on, trading down a couple of spots is never a bad option. Depending on how much the team trying to trade up wants their player, it could benefit the Flyers. A few spots in the draft may or may not change the type of talent that either team drafts. That’s something that takes many years to see.

Keeping the 5th Overall Pick Could Lead to Better Long-Term Results

Trading the Flyers’ fifth overall pick is better for the short-term, but the best long-term solution is to take the best available player in the draft at fifth overall. A team can never have enough talent at one position. Worst-case scenario is that they would be able to choose their best players and trade someone away for a good return.

There aren’t any goaltenders ranked in the top 10 of the draft, so the Flyers will either be drafting a forward or a defenceman. It would be better for the Flyers if they drafted a centreman over a winger since they are more starved for that in their system and a solid centre can make a big difference.

Nolan Patrick #19
Nolan Patrick, former Philadelphia Flyer (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Any draft pick, no matter where they are in the draft, isn’t a confirmed franchise changer. As the Flyers have experienced as recently as 2017 with Nolan Patrick, a high overall pick could have his career derailed by injuries or other factors. But the higher the pick, the better the chances that the Flyers will be getting a game-changer in 2022. Add a good young talent to the group the Flyers already have which includes Morgan Frost, Owen Tippett, Bobby Brink, Noah Cates, Cam York, Hart, and a number of others in the system, the Flyers have a bright future ahead of them. But the drafted player most likely wouldn’t even play more than nine games next season, so it wouldn’t help towards any turnaround the Flyers hope to have.

Related: Flyers’ History of High First-Round Picks Leaves Something to Be Desired

Whichever route the Fletcher and the Flyers choose to go, it will give us a clearer picture of what they think about the future in Philadelphia and what fans can expect over the next couple of seasons.

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