One week from Friday, the NHL Draft will begin with yet another important first round for the Flyers. They currently hold the 12th overall pick and Florida’s first-round pick in a yet-to-be-determined spot, either 31st or 32nd overall pending the result of the Stanley Cup Final.

With rumors swirling in the midst of a lengthy end to the 2023-24 season, Flyers GM Danny Briere held his usual pre-draft media availability on Thursday, focusing on the upcoming draft and the team’s potential approach, what to expect in free agency, what the team knows about Matvei Michkov, and more. Here are five takeaways from the presser.

1. Taking a Swing

It’s no secret that the Flyers took a swing for the fences with last year’s top draft pick, Matvei Michkov. Is there a situation where the Flyers would do it again?

“When you take a swing on a guy that has a really high ceiling, you counter that with how much risk you're leaving out there,” Briere said. “Obviously, we're all for it and we showed that last year with Matvei, that we're willing to go there. And, if there's something that makes sense again, kind of the same way, we will.”

2. Focus on Center

When you look at the Flyers performance this season down the stretch and look at other competitors in the playoffs, it becomes apparent that the Flyers most glaring needs are a top center and a top defenseman. In particular, the team lacks center depth, something that is coveted by every team in the league.

Briere not only recognizes this from other teams, but said the Flyers would likely put an emphasis on the position.

Obviously a center has, in general, more value. Teams want centers,” Briere said. “They're a lot tougher to find. So, you’ve got to respect that as well when you're making your pick, and you're evaluating the players.

“If they're equal and we have a hard time deciding between two players and one's a wing, one's a center, we might lean into a center, because let's face it, we're lacking centers coming up throughout the organization. We haven't tried to hide that, it's a reality. But we're also not going to reach out if there's someone that makes too much sense, even if it's a winger, per se, because we have a lot of good young players on the wing and on the team, or in the minors, or in the system. We still want to swing hard if the chance is there.”

3. Looking to Acquire Assets

The primary approach to the offseason remains the same for the Flyers. As Briere acknowledged after the season ended, the Flyers still have a lot of work to do to reach the contender status they desire, and acquiring more assets for the future is still going to remain a top priority.

“It hasn't changed for us. We're still looking to acquire assets that are going to help us in the future,” Briere said. “We know where we're at as a team. It was awesome what happened last year, playing games that mattered all the way to game 82, even though we missed. But we realized we're not a Stanley Cup contender yet. We still have lots of work and the future is still what we're targeting.”

4. No Update on Michkov

At the time Briere last spoke, the rumors were swirling about the possibility of Michkov joining the Flyers sooner than expected. At this point, Briere is maintaining his approach with this subject: there is no update, and there won’t be until the Flyers get word that Michkov is, in fact, coming to North America to play in the NHL.

“As far as I know, I don't have a date,” Briere said. “You know, we're kind of at the mercy of what they decide to do over there with him. If you would have asked me, and you probably did at the end of the season, maybe that wasn't out there but maybe a couple of weeks after the season when those rumors started swirling, I’d probably say, ‘Well, we should know by the end of June.’ And here we are now getting closer to it, and we still don't know much more. So, I don't have much more of an answer.

“But for us, it doesn't change. If they tell us he's coming on Sept. 1, we'll jump on it. The mindset for us is still we're going into next season without him, he has two years left on his contract. If something changes from today until then, we'll certainly be happy. But I don't have much news on that. We read what's going on and we hope for the best.”

5. Not Expecting Much from Free Agency

Just two days after the completion of the NHL Draft, free agency will officially open in the NHL. But don’t expect the Flyers to be big players for anyone or to make much noise on July 1.

Cap constraints have the Flyers in a crunch this offseason. Without a lot of creativity, they are limited on what they can do. Briere acknowledged this potential lack of activity to come.

For us, I'll be very honest here, we don't expect to do much on free agency day,” Briere said. “The reality is, we have a lot of dead money going into year two of my tenure. But that was the plan also. We acquire assets to help us for the future, like picks and stuff. So, this summer is going to be tough. Next summer should ease up a little bit, but we're still going to be in a little bit of a crunch. But looking further towards the future, I think it's going to hopefully get easier. And as the cap rises, hopefully again next summer, know that that's going to help us.”

Kevin Durso is Flyers insider for 97.3 ESPN. Follow him on social media @Kevin_Durso.

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