Update: With less than 10 games to go, the Philadelphia Flyers have a 6.5%
The Philadelphia Flyers have endured yet another disappointing season, and they are currently in the midst of their third consecutive campaign that has the potential to be regarded as the worst period in the history of the team. In spite of all of their suffering, they have not been successful in achieving their primary objective of obtaining a high draft selection.
The problem is that the club hasn’t been in the race for a high draft choice since some of its younger players have performed better than expected this season. This has prevented the team from competing for a top pick. If the 2022-23 season were to end today, they would finish in seventh place, which is their lowest result ever. The probability of winning the lottery and securing the first overall choice is only 6.5% at this point. Even finishing in eighth place has just a 6% probability, ninth place only a 5% chance, and even sixth place only a 7.5% chance.
The Flyers have a limited capacity for further decline at this point in the season, since time is running out. Although the bottom four teams have very much distanced themselves from the rest of the pack, it is still theoretically possible for one of those teams to finish fifth-worst and earn the 8.5% lottery odds that come with that position.
Despite the fact that the lottery was created specifically for this purpose, which is to provide clubs with an opportunity to win a high draft selection even if they did not “earn” it. What will take place if the Flyers are blessed with good fortune and emerge victorious from the 2023 draft with phenom goaltender Connor Bedard? In the past, we have considered the possibility that the Flyers could win the first overall selection if there is a higher authority that is in charge of making those decisions.
The Flyers want significant skill at center more than anything else, and an 18-year-old with the potential to become a legendary player would be exactly what the doctor ordered for them. They have a roster full of up-and-coming wingers, but nobody to lead the lines in the center, and they have very few in-house alternatives coming their way to solve that problem internally. As a result, they have a restricted ceiling for how far they can take their club.
Even though his natural position is on the left wing, Cutter Gauthier, who played college hockey at Boston College and was drafted in the first round in 2022, moved to center during his time there and would benefit greatly from this. That indicates that he has the option to either move back to the wing and form a one-two punch with Bedard on the top line or assume the job of the center on the second line and work his way up to playing that position at the NHL level.
A strong foundation for a rebuild may be laid by having a possible top three centers start the 2023-34 season in Bedard, Gauthier, and Elliot Desnoyers, all of whom would be 21 or younger at the time of the start of that season. And it does not even take into account Noah Cates, who turned 24 recently and has quietly evolved into one of the best young stoppage centers in the game.
Bringing in Bedard would be fantastic for the future of the franchise, but the Flyers’ front office is so inept that it’s possible they’d feel like they were off the hook when it came to making further moves during the offseason of 2023 and beyond if they were successful in their pursuit of him.
Even though Bedard has scored 123 points in 48 games for his junior club, the Regina Pats, they are hovering barely around the.500 mark in their current season. There is no need to look any farther than Connor McDavid in the NHL to demonstrate that one player, regardless of how talented they are, cannot carry a whole team by themselves.
It is possible that the front office actually said something along the lines of “Hey, we have Connor Bedard, he’ll save the day, we don’t need to make any moves.” This is because the front office has been reluctant to make moves even when they do not have a potential generational talent on their side.
Now that Chuck Fletcher is no longer in the picture, there is presumably less possibility that a miracle of this level would be entirely wasted, but with the rest of the front office shakeups still unknown, the stupidity that has grown increasingly frequent these days isn’t completely gone yet.
A dream come true for the Flyers would be to take Connor Bedard with the first overall pick. This seems quite unlikely, though. Although it is not likely, there is still a potential of it happening, which is a ray of light for a series that is now mired in obscurity. It’s possible that the agony that Flyers supporters have endured over the past decade may finally pay off this season. If so, the hockey gods will have compassion on a club that’s been through a lot and will reward them by giving them the next great thing in our sport.
Photo Credit: Tankathon.com/nhl