Everything Still On Table for Briere, Flyers as Draft Arrives
The NHL Draft is five days away, and Danny Briere and the Flyers have already been hard at work to get as many opportunities as possible at this draft class. On June 6, Briere’s first trade as Flyers GM netted another first-round pick, leaving the Flyers with two picks in the first round.
That has created some additional excitement, both for Briere and the Flyers scouts.
“There's been a lot of activity and I'm excited. First draft, having a chance to have two first-round picks on top of it, I think it's good,” Briere said. “You can kind of feel the energy too from our staff and our amateur scouts having to dig in a little deeper. You prepare going into it thinking about the seventh pick, but now all of a sudden, you're telling them all you got to know the list all the way down because there might be something different.”
Two picks in the first round create a plethora of possibilities for the Flyers. They could simply retain the picks they have at seventh and 22nd overall and make two selections on players they think will fit their future. Having two picks also creates the opportunity to explore trading up for one of the more elite players in the draft or trading down to acquire more draft capital into the second round, where the Flyers currently do not have a pick.
As already stated in previous press availabilities, everything remains on the table for the Flyers.
“We've had discussions in both directions,” Briere said. “It would kind of have to make sense for both sides, whoever's involved. Like I said, I'm not taking anything off, but I would think that if something like that were to happen, it's probably going to be on the draft floor depending on how the board falls during that day.”
As in the past, the method remains very much the same for the Flyers: take the best player available, at least in the first round and see how the rest of the board plays out. Briere and assistant GM Brent Flahr have noted that the long-term future of the player and the development process will be more important than the pick itself next week.
“I still want to take the best player available for us at that moment,” Briere said. “Not thinking, ‘okay, now because I have that other pick, it changes what I'm going to try to do.’ I'd rather we go with the same mindset. We take the player that's going to be the best player for us, depending where we're at in the organization. I'm not looking at it where, okay, because we have different picks, that's going to change how we approach number seven.”
“We want the best player three, four years down the road,” Flahr said. “It's not a rush as far as who's going to be playing first. There's a lot of guys that will play sooner, but who is going to become the best NHL player is our focus.”
“I agree with that. It's about the development of the player,” Briere said. “I'm not worried if it's three, four, five years down the road that they become the best they can be. I'm not worried about next year or the year after.”
This can also help create more clarity in the Flyers draft strategy. With everything on the table, and the expectation that the rebuild will create much more roster turnover in the years to come, Briere isn’t focused on one position or trying to stock up on prospects in any particular area.
“We're not that deep in any position,” Flahr said. “Right wing, I guess you could say that we have depth, but again, there's some quality players, and if it's the best player significantly, then we’ll have another right winger. We have some holes to fill, and we'll evaluate that. It's always that if it comes in the players are equal, and our guys are 50/50, maybe you go by position, but we do our list and we try to stick by it as best we can.”
“And we have to be careful too,” Briere said. “Again, we discussed that earlier, about three, four, five years down the road, the roster is going to be completely different, so you have to be careful diving into that too much.”
In addition to drafting pieces that could be part of the future, the Flyers also have many things potentially on the table with the current roster. Good luck finding a player that hasn’t had his name mentioned in a trade rumor this offseason, with the trade of Ivan Provorov only adding fuel to that fire. Is it possible for the Flyers to get back into the first round yet again?
“If someone wants to give us another pick, we'd gladly take it,” Briere said. “We're having discussions with different teams. I’d probably say it's not likely, but we're definitely looking at every avenue, and I would love to give another jolt to our amateur scouts to dive in even deeper in our list. We're trying, no doubt about it, but you need a dancing partner, as well, so I don't know if it's realistic.”
Briere also expressed a desire to potentially get into the second round as well. The Flyers don’t have a pick from 22nd overall until 87th overall in the third round.
Any trades that will be made involving draft capital will likely move closer to being finalized as the draft actually happens. Briere has been hard at work talking about players to other teams. With the draft approaching rapidly, more of his calls are being returned.
“I've seen an uptick probably this week,” Briere said. “I think it felt like the guys are getting down to business a little bit more. Getting inside the 10-day window to the draft. I'd have to say this week was probably a time where I started getting more return calls.”
The NHL Draft will take place on Wednesday and Thursday next week. The Flyers have 10 total picks in the draft.
Kevin Durso is Flyers insider for 97.3 ESPN. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.
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