2022 NHL draft profile: Flyers ought to have good learn on Conor Geekie

Brent Flahr quipped that he hopes the Flyers won’t be picking this high again in a long time.

Nonetheless, though, Flahr and his amateur scouting staff are confident about landing a really good player around the top five of the 2022 NHL draft.

“Yeah, I think we’ve gone over the players that we feel are the best five and we’ve gone over different scenarios of what we think the teams in front of us will take. There are still some unknowns, though,” Flahr said June 10 in a phone interview with NBC Sports Philadelphia. “But I think we’re happy with the number of different players at the position, probably even a couple of more further. Depending on how it falls, maybe you trade back a couple of spots even or look to trade up. We’ll see how it goes.”

Following a 25-46-11 season, the Flyers are slotted at No. 5 overall in this year’s draft, which will be held July 7-8 at Bell Center in Montreal. The Flyers have six total selections. The first round kicks off at 7 pm ET Thursday, while Rounds 2-7 follow Friday starting at 11 am ET.

“I think it’s been well-documented, there’s no Connor McDavids in the draft or whatnot. But there is some depth early in the draft,” Flahr said. “There’s different positions — there’s a few centermen, there’s a couple of right-shot defensemen with skill and size, there’s a couple of scoring right wingers, there’s a power winger.

“There are some interesting players early. I think it’s going to be a really interesting first round. … It’s going to be surprising I think to a lot of people, I think there could be a lot of surprises in the early going of this draft .”

More: With potential for ‘surprises’ or a trade, Flyers have big opportunity at No. 5

Leading up to July 7-8, we’re breaking down draft targets for the Flyers at No. 5.

Next-up:

conor geekie

Position: Center

Height: 6-foot-4

Weight: 190

Shoot: Left

Team: Winnipeg ICE

scouting report

With potential top-10 pick Matthew Savoie and former Flyers prospect Connor McClennon, Geekie’s Winnipeg team was seen a lot by Flahr and company in 2021-22.

What the Flyers likely saw in Geekie was a player with eye-opening size and potential down the middle of the ice. He put up 70 points (24 goals, 46 assists) and a plus-46 rating in 63 games on a loaded ICE team coached by James Patrick, the uncle of Nolan Patrick. Geekie, who is the brother of Kraken forward Morgan Geekie, had a modest WHL playoffs with 11 points (three goals, eight assists) through 15 games.

Despite Geekie being the fifth-ranked North American skater by NHL Central Scouting, TSN’s Bob McKenzie pegged him at No. 13 overall in the draft, while TSN’s Craig Button had him down at No. 29.

“It’s hard to deny the impressive size-hands combination he has considering his length,” The Athletic’s Scott Wheeler, who slotted Geekie at No. 16, wrote last month. “He’s got a real ability to hang onto the puck, draw players into him, and then facilitate through or around them.”

There are some concerns with Geekie’s skating and tendency to blend in at times.

“His hands are good enough to keep the opposition honest and he can drive the middle of the ice as well as anyone in this draft,” DailyFaceoff.com’s Chris Peters, who rated Geekie at No. 19, wrote last month. “I think Geekie could go higher than I have him here, but the skating continues to be my most fervent concern.”

Fit with Flyers

Given the Flyers’ position at No. 5 overall, Geekie would probably be a reach for them.

There are definitely ingredients to like with Geekie, especially the 6-foot-4 frame at a premium position. But you don’t won’t to become too infatuated with purely size, particularly in the top five. The Flyers will draft the best player available and they’ve been emphasizing talent.

“I still think you’ve got to make sure you get high-end talent,” Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher said June 29. “But high-end talent, as we just saw in the playoffs, you look at Tampa, you look at Colorado, they have a lot of high-end talent that is packaged oftentimes in a big or competitive or speedy frame.

“I think we certainly, like everybody, want to get the most competitive players we can get, but you can’t forsake talent. You have to make sure you’re getting talent. And where we’re picking, we should be able to find competitive people who have talent.”

If the Flyers are high on Geekie, it could give them an opportunity to trade back and gain another asset. But it seems likely the Flyers will stay at No. 5.

More targets

• Will Flyers land best defenseman in draft at No. 5?

• Savoie, a dynamic skater and scorer, can boost Flyers’ talent level

• Could Flyers draft another Finnish winger with exciting tools?

• A big center on the rise should have Flyers’ attention at No. 5

• One of draft’s more thrilling players may give Flyers trade-back option

• If there at No. 5, D-man with eye-opening game will give Flyers a lot to ponder

• Is versatile forward with advanced game worth No. 5 pick by Flyers?

• Is there a dark horse on defense for the Flyers at No. 5?

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