By slim odds, the Flyers didn’t find gold in the playoffs with Connor Bedard.
But they will have a chance to bring in some important top talent near the top of the 2023 NHL Draft.
“We’re lucky,” Flyers general manager Danny Brere said of the draft crop in April. “We have very few choices and we have a lot of choices.
“Unfortunately, you have to go through a lot of bad times to get there, but when you’re on the draft table and you get a top pick like that, it’s exciting. He’s going to be an important pick for the organization moving forward. There’s no doubt about it.”
After selecting Cutter Gauthier fifth overall last summer, the Flyers are ranked No. 7 in this year’s draft, which will be held June 28-29 at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee. In the Ivan Provorov trade, the Flyers acquired the 22nd overall pick, giving them two first-rounders and 10 overall picks in the draft. The first round starts at 7pm on Wednesday, with rounds 2-7 starting at 11am on Thursday.
We’re breaking down the Flyers’ targets at No. 7 heading into the draft.
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Behind his big-time speed and skating, Moore plays a game that NHL coaches admire. He is a two-way pivot with great competitiveness, defensive effort and the ability to get things done with his feet.
On a star-laden U.S. national under-18 team, Moore posted 75 points (31 goals, 44 assists) and a plus-42 rating in 61 games this season. Nine of his goals were scored on the power play and two were shorthanded.
At the 2023 IIHF U-18 World Junior Championship in late April, the Minnesota commit had nine points (four goals, five assists) and a plus-6 mark as the U.S. won gold.
“One of the things Oliver Moore has going for him is he’s probably one of the best athletes in the draft class,” NHL Central scouting director Dan Marr said in a June 1 phone interview with NBC Sports Philadelphia. “Like, in all the test scores, he’s right at the top in all the categories. You have a good athlete. The amount of speed he has, you can put him on the ice in any situation.
They argue Moore’s ceiling is that he lacks a certain amount and type of prolific output. But there is certainly second-line center potential, a player who can be trusted with solid performances and late games.
“As a young player, I’m sure he’ll be a penalty killer to start with so the coach can get him some ice time,” Marr said. “He creates a lot of chances on the puck, just because he has that much breakaway speed, he creates a lot of oddballs.”
Moore is the eighth-ranked North American scout by NHL Central Scouting. In the updated rankings, EliteProspects.com has him as the eighth-best player in the draft, while the Athletic’s Scott Wheeler has him at No. 9 and the sixth-best center.
“Underneath, he’s fast,” Marr said. “Just the elements he brings and the ways he uses them; there are a lot of players whose head doesn’t match their foot speed, but he’s not one of them. When you have a guy who can make the plays and see the ice at a high speed, that’s a great prospect.”
Suitable for flyers
Moore would be a good pick for the Flyers and is likely to go at No. 7.
He has a lot of winning character and contending teams always feature important players like him.
“He’s not the biggest guy, but he’s an athlete,” Marr said. “He’s got a lot of movement in his game, but he’s strong. Strong athlete, strong hope.
Flyers emphasized how they needed more senior talent. It’s worth wondering if Moore has the overall toplight talent that the Flyers would swing at No. 7. Among other things, it’s a rebuilding team that needs scoring and needs to stand out.
But Moore is already an elite skater and there’s reason to believe he can be an effective scorer at the NHL level.
Playing a premium position is a bonus. Gauthier is a natural wing, but he’s playing center at Boston College and the Flyers hope he can play center in the NHL. If the Flyers draft Moore, it will give them another center with top-six potential. Gauthier and Moore bring different elements and both compete.
The Flyers agreed to tap the U.S. National Team Development Program. Three of their first-round picks in the past five years have come from the program: Joel Farabee (2018), Cam York (2019) and Gauthier (2022).
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