The NHL Draft Lottery took place on Tuesday night, and the Philadelphia Flyers didn’t get the good fortunes they hoped for. They landed the fifth-overall pick, which was the likeliest outcome entering the sweepstakes. The Montreal Canadiens and New Jersey Devils benefitted from the luck of the draw, landing the first and second picks in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft, respectively.

Shane Wright and Logan Cooley will most likely come off the board before the Flyers pick on July 7 in Montreal, but the consensus is not as clear for the rest of the top 10. The pick carries incredible importance for the future of a franchise that has no intention of “bottoming out” in a long-term rebuild that would land them in a similar position in upcoming drafts. Philadelphia will have plenty of viable options for selecting a potential franchise-altering player with the fifth-overall pick.

 

Juraj Slafkovský, LW, TPS (Liiga, Finland)

Slovakian winger Juraj Slafkovský emphatically made his case as a top prospect at the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing when he led Team Slovakia to their first-ever Olympic ice hockey medal. The 6-foot-4, 220-pound power forward scored seven goals in seven games and earned the honor as the tournament MVP despite a bronze medal finish. The performance wasn’t too bad for a young man who hadn’t yet celebrated his 18th birthday.

Slafkovský played 49 regular-season and playoff games for TPS of the Finnish Liiga in 2021-22. Professional experience in foreign leagues against older, physically mature players in the prime years of their professional careers overseas factors into the draft-day decisions of NHL front offices frequently. 

He is more likely than any of the other four targets to be off the board by the time the Flyers pick. However, if he slips past the first four teams, general manager (GM) Chuck Fletcher and his assistant Brent Flahr should pounce quickly. Slafkovsky has the complete package of size, speed, and power to become the type of exhilerating top-end talent the Flyers lack.