A Look into the Possible Future of the Flyers

Photo Credit: https://chl.ca/ohl-otters

With the Flyers having played under the new regime of Keith Jones and Danny Briere for the better part of an entire season now, I believe that most fans would agree that this franchise has already taken a step in the right direction.

But between the team’s injury list beginning to pile up, having to depend on two rookie goaltenders to backstop them and the upcoming schedule looking quite daunting. The likelihood of Philadelphia being able to hold onto third place in the Metropolitan Division is looking less and less likely.

Fear not, though, for the management’s blueprint for this rebuild of a return to Stanley Cup contention was never set to be unveiled this season anyway. Instead, the powers at be don’t see this reconstruction coming to completion for another two seasons when their star prospect, whom they drafted seventh overall in 2023, Matvei Michkov’s KHL contract, is set to expire and can join the team.

However, very few men have been known to change a franchise by themselves, so he will undoubtedly need some help along the way. That is where the Flyers’ multiple first-round picks this summer and next will come into play.


Zayne Parekh

So, let us take a look at who they might be. The 2024 NHL Draft is stocked full of quality defensemen, with a lot being of the right-hand-shot variety, and as we all know, this is something all teams covet. Therefore, depending on just how far they may drop in the standings over the next two weeks, I believe Philadelphia should use their 1st round pick on one of these elusive right-hand-shot defensemen. And if I had to pick just one, it would be Zayne Parekh of the OHL’s Saginaw Spirit.

Zayne would offer the Flyers the type of offensive from the blue line we haven’t seen from the orange and black since the likes of the great Mark Howe. Parekh skates like he came out of the womb with blades already on his feet. He can change direction on a dime and circles around the offensive zone while on a power play like a wild animal who is stalking his prey. Zayne’s natural skating ability also allows him to maneuver around the opposition like they are standing still because I have never seen this young man slow down when the puck is on his stick.

This season, Parekh has managed to obliterate any and all prior records made by OHL defensemen that came before him. So much so that to date, he has scored 31 goals on the season and has compiled 59 assists which adds up to an incredible 90 points on the season.

But unlike other defensemen in this draft who are addicted to making that big red light go off behind the goalies’ net, Zayne is also defensively responsible. Because on the rare occasion when he travels down to the opposite side of the ice and his team does not score, he makes it a point to get back so as not to leave his goalie high and dry. In doing so, Zayne has been able to maintain a +34 this season.

Drafting Zayne would allow the Flyers to have Jamie Drysdale or Parekh on the ice for every second the Flyers are on the man advantage. I don’t know about you, but I think even I could score 20 goals a season for the Flyers if I were receiving the passes these two young men are capable of dishing out on a nightly basis.

Dean Letourneau

After drafting Zayne this summer, the Flyer’s work in the first round will not be over, as they will finally have the chance to utilize the final piece that they got in the deal that sent their former captain Claude Giroux to the Florida Panthers. That is the Panthers first-round pick in this summer’s draft.

Now, this one will likely be quite late in the first, seeing that Florida has been one of the best teams in the league this entire season. So, I think here is where Danny should try to cash in on a player they are calling the next Tage Thompson. And that player is the 6’7 209 pound center known as Dean Letourneau, who plays for the Saint Andrews College Saints in Canada’s Prep Hockey Conference. Dean is a unique physical specimen whose brute strength allows him to dominate games whenever he wants to.

To pair with his unmatched physicality, this possible future Broad Street Bullie has a fantastic release that has allowed him to score 61 goals and 66 assists for 127 points in just 56 games played this year. Folks, that means Letourneau has averaged an incredible 2.26 points-per-game pace this season. And, for his efforts, Dean has managed to catch the attention of the illustrious Boston College, whom he has committed to play for in the
25-26 season.

The Flyers currently have nothing but cookie-cutter, defensively responsible clones down the middle of the ice who don’t add much in the way of offense. Couturier, Laughton, Poehling, and Cates have only combined for 33 goals this season, with Coots leading the pack with 11. This is even less impressive, considering Philadelphia is paying them a combined $14,775,000 this season.

I get the team wanting defensively responsible players. Still, if they genuinely want to compete, they will need to add a scoring threat down the middle, and if in the market for one, why not take a chance on a kid with these types of stats who, at just 18 years of age already towers over the Flyers most physically dominant center of all time Eric Lindros who only stood at 6’4 when playing?


Malcolm Spence

With the news of one of the Flyers’ most beloved players of all time, Wayne Simmonds, recently announcing his retirement and deciding to come back to Philly and sign a one-day contract so he could retire a Flyer. I can think of no one better for the Flyers to potentially draft with their 2025 1st round pick than a player whose game seems to emulate Wayne’s, so much so that he even wears the number 17.

Malcolm, who is only 17 years old, is already 6’2 and 192 pounds. He plays for the Erie Otters of the OHL, where he has been making a bit of a name for himself in this just his draft minus one year.

Spence does so by being absolutely tenacious along the boards in both forechecking situations and backchecking scenarios. Sound familiar? Winning these board battles allows him and his team plenty of scoring chances. He then takes advantage of them by setting up shop in the danger zones close to the net where he does not allow the opposition’s abuse to bother him, seeing that he commonly rips home nasty wrist shots and one-timers from that location.

Malcolm can also skate really well, and although his stride may seem a little unorthodox right now due to him sprouting up from 5’9 to 6’2 pretty quickly, it is effective. Spence often can be found using his uncapped speed in breakaway situations after picking the pocket of an opposing player in the neutral zone.

So overall, Spence may not yet have the willingness to drop the gloves like Simmonds, but he does have the same drive, determination, and never-quit attitude that made Wayne so popular here in this blue-collar city. This is why I think the Flyers should be keeping a close eye on this young man throughout next season leading up to the draft that summer.

The final pick we will talk about that could change the outlook for the Flyers’ future is the one that the team just acquired at the deadline from the Colorado Avalanche for pending unrestricted free-agent defenseman Sean Walker. This pick came with top-ten protection, but I highly doubt that the Av’s will be out of playoff contention then, considering even if they lost everyone else to free agency, they would still have Nathan MacKinnon, Cale Makar, Davon Toews, and Gabriel Landeskog all under contract. So, with that being said, I think it is safe to say that the Flyers will be walking to the stage in 2025 to make a selection courtesy of Colorado.

Lynden Lakovic

And the player that I think they should select with that pick should be Lynden Lakovic of the Moose Jaw Warriors of the WHL. Lakovic is already 6’4 and 183 pounds at just 17 years of age, and it is his immense frame that has allowed him to continually take the puck to the outside and skate by his opponents virtually unscathed on his way to the net.

Once there, this heads-up skater quickly decides his next plan of attack. Does he use his quick release to launch a goal of his own, or does he pass it on to one of his many talented teammates like Jagger Firkus, Atlee Calvert, Brayden Yager, or Matthew Savoie to set them up?

Either way he chooses both usually results in a goal. That’s why I think come next season when some of these talented players find themselves receiving the call from their respective NHL clubs to become a professional hockey player then you will really get the chance to see why I think Lynden is capable of so much more than the 18 goals, and 21 assists for 39 points he scored this year with minimal ice time.

I feel so strongly about this that I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that Lakovic managed to double his point production from this season this time next year.

Drafting a player like Lakovic would add more speed and scoring ability to an already youthful core.

Now, these are definitely not the only players who will help this team improve over the next couple of years. But think about it with guys like Zayne Parekh eventually replacing Mark Staal and Erik Johnson on defense. Not to mention guys like Dean Letourneau, Malcolm Spence, and Lynden Lakovic taking the spots in the lineup previously held by underperforming guys like Morgan Frost, Cam Atkinson, etc., and the future of the Flyers will surely see them return to the perennial playoff team they once were.

Lance Green

I’m a lifelong Flyers fan who has been playing the sport of Ice Hockey we all know and love competitively for over 30 years now. I grew up playing in-between the pipes where I was able to take in the whole game and analysis just what the team needed to do to help us win. Over the years I always enjoyed reading and gaining as much knowledge as possible about this great sport, but always thought it lacked something. A players prospective!