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June 19, 2024

NHL Draft: 5 forwards the Flyers could take at pick No. 12

Konsta Helenius, Berkly Catton, and Cole Eiserman could be among the promising forwards available to the Flyers at the end of June in Vegas.

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Cole-Eiserman-NHL-Draft-2024-USNDP.jpg David Reginek/USA TODAY Sports

Left winger Cole Eiserman, of the U.S. National Development Program, enters the 2024 NHL Draft as arguably the class' top sniper.

The Flyers are locked in with the 12th overall pick in the NHL Draft at the end of the month, heading to Vegas as an organization that sorely needs to get stronger down the middle, or at the very least find more consistent scoring power for the future. 

A stalled-out playoff push and a lack of (slim) lottery luck didn't do them any favors in terms of positioning on the board – essentially locking them out of the 2024 class' top prospects in Macklin Celebrini, Ivan Demidov, and Cayden Lindstrom – but there is still expected to be a good bit of promising forward talent available by the time general manager Danny Brière and co. are on the clock.

Who exactly could they be looking at? Here are five projected early/mid-round forwards the Flyers could consider...

C/RW Konsta Helenius

Jukurit (Liiga) | 5'11', 189 lbs. | Age: 18, Shoots: R

Helenius is a strong skater with an even stronger vision of the ice. He gets after the puck and when he has it, has the sense to read and find openings with the skill to get it there. 

Helenius put up 14 goals and 22 assists through 51 games this past season skating with Jukurit in Finland's pro Liiga, and from the moment the Flyers were locked in at pick No. 12, he has been the prospect most consistently mocked to them. 

While he does represent a safer choice compared to other potential options, that hardly makes him a bad one. However, would the Flyers go for the sound fundamentals he would bring or take a bigger swing on a greener prospect with a higher ceiling?

C Berkly Catton

Spokane (WHL) | 5'10", 175 lbs. | Age: 18, Shoots: L

Catton fits into that aforementioned mold, and could be the center to go alongside Matvei Michkov when he gets here if 1) he falls to the Flyers, and 2) the stars align on his development. 

Catton was 116-point player for Spokane in the Western Hockey League this past season (54 goals and 62 assists in 68 games), and racked them all up with impressive speed and edgework, some slick hands and shooting, and pace-controlling playmaking. 

His offensive upside is huge, but his detractions heading into the draft: He's small and not all that physical. 

Granted, those concerns might not be all that big of a deal in the big picture. 

The size and physicality arguments have a tendency to muddy the perception of a good player around draft time for fans, analysts, and even teams alike. But for every time size did play a factor, there have been just as many cases where it just didn't matter at all. 

Don't miss out on a Cole Caufield, or an Alex DeBrincat, or a Brayden Point because they might not be able to withstand a check. They just end up finding a way to skate by everyone else on the way to the net. 

Catton could very well do the same, and on a timeline to join Michkov in the future lineup, if he's there for the Flyers at 12.

5 Flyers thoughts: Where do Dan Hilferty and Keith Jones take the team next?

LW Cole Eiserman

Boston (NCAA) | 6'0", 197 lbs. | Age: 17, Shoots: L

Eiserman is a pure goal scorer, with an absolute laser of a shot, who has seen his draft stock rise and fall and do everything in between over the past couple of months. 

He is an elite sniper, who can get a shot off from anywhere and before the opposition can even blink, using that advantage to collect a staggering 58 goals in 57 games skating for the U.S. National Development Programs this past season. 

It's just the rest of his game that draws concern and has had his stock and outlook fluctuate as a result. 

Eiserman wants the puck and wants to score, which adds up but can narrow his view and blind him from outlets to his teammates for other opportunities across the ice. And his skating, while respectable speed-wise, can grow lackadaisical away from the puck, which costs his team defensively and gets frustrating just as quickly (as you'll see in the video below).

Eiserman is the pick for a team that wants goal-scoring. The Flyers don't have much of that right now, but are they willing to live with the drawbacks or hope that Eiserman works on them and figures it out in college at Boston just for the potential offensive output alone?

C, LW Tij Iginla

Kelowna (WHL) | 6'0", 191 lbs. | Age: 17, Shoots: L

The son of Hall of Famer Jarome Iginla, Tij has a lightning-quick shot and growing confidence in using his size to shield the puck and win battles along the boards. 

Iginla scored an impressive 47 goals and 84 points in 64 junior games for Kelowna this season, and has had his stock seemingly rise the closer to the draft we get. 

He's expected to go within the late top 10 to early middle selections, though with the Calgary Flames picking ninth, that scenario is almost too poetic. 

Should Iginla slip past the Flames, however, he'd be a more-than-solid pick for the Flyers at 12. 

RW Beckett Sennecke

Oshawa (OHL) | 6'3", 182 lbs. | Age: 18, Shoots: R

Projected to be a mid-round pick, Sennecke is a sizable winger who brought some big improvements to his skating for his draft year.

With a pretty-well rounded though still developing game, Sennecke netted 27 goals and 68 points in 63 games for Oshawa this past season, heading toward the draft with a body and a playstyle that he still has a lot of room to grow into. 

That kind of upside has done wonders for his draft stock, though should have him there for the taking for the Flyers with enough of a through line to make him their guy at 12th overall.

Positionally, however, the Flyers are already pretty overloaded at right wing, and while Sennecke is interesting, he maybe isn't as initially appealing as the other prospects listed above.

We'll see where it all goes June 28 in Vegas.

*And a hat tip to NHL Draft Pros and Elite Prospects, whose video work and coverage (heavily embedded above) this time of year is continually aces.

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