With Just Hours to go before the Draft, Briere is showing that he is Willing to Go “ALL IN” to Improve his Club

Photo Credit: SKA St. Petersburg

With the 2024 NHL Draft (which will be held in Las Vegas, Nevada this year) now only a few hours away from commencement, the Flyers General Manager Danny Briere has shown that he is willing to ANTE UP and go ALL IN to improve his club.

And why shouldn’t he? Especially after his gamble of selecting Russian forward Matvei Michkov with the seventh overall pick last year (who at the time was under contract for three more years to play in the KHL) just paid off after the news broke earlier this week that Michkov’s team, SKA St. Petersburg has officially let him out of his deal so he could chase his dream of playing in the NHL.

With a year now under his belt as the Flyers GM, Danny has now come to The Neon City armed with his best poker face, ready to take on some high-stakes action. He has a lot of chips with him in which to play with, that include multiple first-round picks in this year’s draft as well as multiple in the 2025 draft. With that being said, that leads us to the team’s latest rumor that Dealing Danny has already tried to make a move by offering up their 12th overall pick this year, a roster player, and a 2025 first-round pick to Columbus, for the Blue Jackets 4th overall pick in this year’s draft.

Now, while the Blue Jackets have turned down this trade offer, it doesn’t mean they won’t revisit the idea on the draft floor or that Philly won’t be trying to make a similar one with another team within the top five in order to try and get a prospect who could quite possibility make the Flyers opening night roster next season out of camp.

I don’t know about you, but I like this idea given the fact that with Michkov becoming available now instead of 2-3 years from now, it has sped up their rebuild significantly. Philadelphia last season surprised a lot of people with their play, so much so that they were able to hold down a playoff spot in the Metropolitan Division for well over 100 straight days before folding during the last two weeks of the season.

But, with that in mind and the addition of possibly the second-best player to come out of last year’s draft now in the mix, there is no better time than now to backdoor some people and come out once again on top.

The only question is, who did Briere have in mind to acquire with that fourth overall pick? My guess would be one of Michkov’s fellow Russian comrades.

The obvious choice would have been to go after Matvei’s former SKA teammate, Ivan Demidov. Ivan is a 6’0, 192-pound skilled puck handler whose distributing skills would pair perfectly with Michkov’s elite finishing ability.

This past season, Demidov played primarily for SKA’s 1946 MHL (Junior Hockey League) Team, where in 30 regular season games, he was able to produce 23 goals and 37 assists for 60 points. And if that two-points-per-game average wasn’t impressive enough, the fact that he was able to maintain a +47 average should be.

But with the possibility that Demidov would already be off the board come the fourth overall pick, Briere could have also been looking to draft either one of these Eastern European defensemen named Artyom Levshunov or
Anton Silayev.

Artyom Levshunov -may not be Russian, but he is from Belarus, a country that directly borders Russia and only gained its independence from them in 1991 after the fall of the Soviet Union. What’s most intriguing about Levshunov is that this 6’2, 209-pound right-hand shot defender is probably the most NHL-ready blueliner in this draft class. Because instead of playing oversees Artyom was able to kick start the learning process of the North American style game by playing in the USHL for the Green Bay Gamblers in 22-23 and for the Michigan State Spartans of the NCAA this past season, where he was able to post nine goals and 26 assists for 35 points in only 38 games played.

Artyom would bring the team four-way skating mobility, which allows
him to cycle the puck with ease around the offensive zone, making him a true power play threat, an attribute that the Flyers desperately need to add to their arsenal.

Anton Silayev

Is still a relatively raw prospect whose immense size of 6’7 and 207 pounds, when paired with his elite skating ability, has seen his stock rise immensely. So much so that before this past season started, most experts didn’t even have him ranked on their draft boards. But I guess when you’re that big and can skate as well as he can, it’s hard not to be spotted by scouts who are in the stands.

If Anton can find a way to add some aggression and physicality to his game this summer, he could find his way onto an NHL roster sooner rather than later.

Any of these players would make good additions to the Flyers prospect pool, not to mention help to ease Michkov’s transition to the NHL. But time will tell if Briere will be able to get his way by trying to move up in the draft to select one of them. We will just have to tune in tonight to find out.

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!