Get To Know The Flyers 2024 Draft Picks

Jett Luchanko, C, 1st Round, 13th Overall

Luchanko may be a bit undersized but concerns about that sort of melt away when you realize you must catch him, and catching Jett Luchanko is a tough ask. Luchanko’s speed is top-notch; having topped out the CHL’s top prospects game in sheer speed among all players invited, and earning that reputation of skating prowess well with strong, tight strides that allow him to explode off of mere drifting into a full blinding sprint at the drop of a hat, particularly finding extra speed coming out of turns and cuts, which can make defending him a real headache. Especially considering he’s the man trying to create chances for Guelph.

If Luchanko can’t bring it to the net, he’s usually creating the pass that gets it there; able to see the offensive side of the ice very well, identify passing lanes as they open, and then squeak the puck through, or gather the puck to keep plays alive through quick, soft passes. Even better, his lack of fear means he’s more than willing to do this not just on the rush, but also with a player/player directly in his face; something he also very much likes to do, find space by drawing back checkers to him and then dish it off to a now wide-open player for a scoring chance.

The Player

So, you’d think with all this playmaking and speed, that he’d be some form of water bug power play merchant, right? Luchanko’s defense is solid for a junior player, and it had to be with Poitras out of Guelph, he was asked to develop a 200-foot game quickly.

He did with aplomb; using that impressive agility and speed to slam lanes shut, putting in the work to come to break down plays either with speed or with dogged tenacity, that complete lack of fear of larger players helped tremendously because he knew he could not only get the puck out of danger with his stick, but the turn out from the pile can be a major danger to the opponent for a transition chance.

Luchanko’s offensive creativity comes from his skating ability and his passing…but not his shooting. His shooting on the other hand is a consistent criticism; he prefers net-front scrambles and backhanders in close or one-time shots and is rarely going to use his hands for anything more. He doesn’t have bad hands necessarily, just a heavy bias for passing first and shooting down low.

Potential

I like it when players recognize the single most dangerous part of the ice. It makes me think they were raised right, but I understand the concern if his offensive output generally relies on his wingers being lights-out shooters while he ends up merely a setup man, or that he might struggle to find chances to score for himself.

Another more pressing criticism for fans would likely be his face-off percentage, which has trended below 50% through his draft year. Current scholarship about face-off wins doesn’t necessarily suggest it’s a major factor in games but given how frequently it came up as a negative for Boston, I wouldn’t be shocked if it became a point of emphasis for the young man if he were drafted.

And of course…he’s still a good 20 to 30 pounds of muscle away from being what we’d call “safe” to play NHL hockey at his height. Some guys can make it work, and he plays like he could be, but that’s not a guarantee.

If you can bulk him up and try to summon more than just some playmaking out of him, I think Jett Luchanko would make a great Boston Bruin. He’s got the 200-foot game that we like to see here, he efforts hard just about every game, and his slight disadvantage in height seems to be no issue for him.

Jack Berglund, C, 2nd Round, 51st Overall

Berglund doesn’t have that “wow factor” or will make plays that’ll get you off your feet, but he shows great composure and is extremely effective in everything he does as he’s smart when in control of a play. He has great awareness and positioning in all three zones, displaying a strong work ethic and a steady 200-foot game. He plays with a great sense of purpose and intensity and is always doing the little things right to be on the right side of a play.

Berglund has great puck skills and soft hands to make moves in tight spaces. He’s always utilizing his size to his advantage to shield the puck and using that strong drive to get to the middle of the ice. As a result of his puck protection skills, it’s extremely difficult to knock the puck off him as he’s always in control. He can make plays with his deceptive playmaking or finish them off with his goal-scoring abilities. He doesn’t excel in one main area and his offensive upside may not be up there compared to others, but he’s effective in all facets of the game. 

Potential

Without the puck, Berglund is just as impactful. His smooth skating stride and speed allow him to quickly come back and help on the back check and defend the rush. He’s always the first forward back in those situations, making him extremely reliable in defensive situations. He can effectively tie up opponents with his stick and he’s actively aggressive in one-on-one battles, making timely stick lifts to disrupt plays.

Berglund is probably not pushing anywhere near the first or even second round. Though, he has the skill set to be taken as a mid-round selection. That can be as high as the third round or as late as the early part of the fifth.

Spencer Gill, D, 2nd Round, 59th Overall

Gill finished his draft-eligible season with 46 points in 65 games, good for 10th overall among Quebec Maritimes Junior defensemen. In the process, he finished seventh in goals with 12. That’s some decent production for a player who’s only in his sophomore season of junior hockey and only had four assists all last season. 

When looking at Gill’s game, he’s got great poise and smarts on the backend. He moves well for his size, showing great speed and mobility when carrying the puck. He’s quickly able to find and exploit those lanes when in transition and push the defenders back when entering the offensive zone. His reads and vision are already impressive at his age, knowing when to jump up into plays to keep pucks alive but also when to prioritize defense and not be aggressive with his decision-making. 

Gill is a very strong passer, finding the cross seams and being very accurate with his breakout passes and stretch plays. He’s also great at drawing in players to open things up for his teammates and is quick to connect with them. He also has a strong shot from the point and has the awareness to make himself available for a shooting opportunity. When he sees his opportunity to walk in, he won’t pass that up.

Potential

He has a great work ethic on the other side of the puck as well, as his defensive game has improved tremendously. He’s better with his reads, and defensive positioning and has shown himself to defend against the rush very well and using his size to his advantage. Having a 6-foot-3, 179-pound frame, you need to know how to utilize that and he’s becoming much better. He’s learning to be more aggressive against puck carriers and he shows great composure when dealing with pressure protecting the puck. 

Heikki Ruohonen, C, 4th Round, 107th Overall

Heikki Ruohonen is a two-way center who drives play, pushes the pace, and has some power-forward qualities. He uses explosive weight shifts to beat defenders to the inside. Outworking opponents for body positioning and using contact as an advantage.

Cycles the puck well, makes power moves out of the corners and has a heavy shot. Forces turnovers off a heavy pounding forecheck. Not a traditional playmaking center in that he is lacking in terms of creativity and soft hands, and he generates offense through physicality and determination down low. Strong on his stick and skates, and very good in the face-off circle. But is he a left-wing?

Noah Powell, RW, 5th Round, 148th Overall

A big power forward at 6’0″, 201 pounds, the Flyers continued to favor size on Day 2 of the draft with the selection of Powell. 

In 61 games in the USHL this past season, Powell scored 43 goals and 74 points with a plus-18 rating and is lined up to go play college hockey at Ohio State this coming year. 

Ilya Pautov, RW, 6th Round, 173rd Overall

Pautov is notably small. At just 5-foot-10 and 165 pounds, he’ll need to add considerable weight before even sniffing an NHL lineup. Despite his diminutive size, though, he plays an exciting game thanks to his high-end skill

Austin Moline, D, 7th Round, 205th Overall

The 18-year-old had a 35-point season on the blueline (eight goals, 27 assists) skating in 57 games for Shattuck St. Mary’s Prep in Minnesota, and is committed to playing college hockey at Northern Michigan. 

Moline still has a lot more development to do, but his frame at his position is an obvious plus. 

Matt Bednarczyk
Matt Bednarczyk

Matt Bednarczyk is your host of Talking Philly Sports With Matty B. He is a proud retired US Army Sergeant First Class, he is also a combat veteran with over 80 months served in Afganistan, and Iraq . Huge Hockey Fan. Matt is a lifelong 4 for 4 Philly sports fan. Born and raised on the Mayfair and Tacony neighborhood lines of Northeast Philly. He brings over 40 years of Philadelphia Sports passion and provides a realistic look at our Major Sports Teams and the most passionate sports fans on the planet. Look for his show live on Edge of Philly Sports.

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