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Flyers Trade Down, Draft Jett Luchanko With the 13th Overall Pick

(Chris Tanouye/Getty Images)

After weeks of speculation, the 1st round of the NHL Entry Draft was upon us and the Philadelphia Flyers selected Jett Luchanko with the 13th overall pick with a little bit of help from the legendary boxing announcer Michael Buffer.

Daniel Brière traded down from 12 to 13 with the Minnesota Wild while also acquiring a 2025 third round pick.

Macklin Celebrini was selected 1st overall as expected by the San Jose Sharks, the Chicago Blackhawks then selected Artyom Levshunov with the 2nd overall pick but the curveballs that we expected arrived early as the Anaheim Ducks surprised with the selection of Beckett Sennecke at 3.

Columbus then drafted Cayden Lindstrom 4th overall, Matvei Michkov’s friend and teammate from SKA St. Petersburg, Ivan Demidov, was selected 5th by Montreal to round out the top-5 in 2024, Tij Iginla was taken 6th by Utah, Ottawa drafted Carter Yakemchuk with the 7th overall pick, and the Seattle Kraken drafted Berkly Catton 8th overall.

As we neared closer and closer to the Flyers, the Calgary Flames and the New Jersey drafted 2 players who dropped considerably from their initial rankings in  Zayne Parekh at 9 and Anton Silayev at 10th – absolute steals. The Sharks walked back to the podium with the 11th overall pick after making a trade with Buffalo earlier in the week and selected Sam Dickinson out of the London Knights.

Daniel Brière and company were on the clock and with names like Konsta Helenius, Zeev Buium, and Cole Eiserman still available, they had their choice of the litter. Ultimately they took their sweet time and traded down one spot to 13 with the Wild while also acquiring a third round pick in 2025. The Wild selected Zeev Buium who also dropped considerably from his pre-draft rankings.

While many teams were open to moving their draft picks and trade rumours were rampant with Columbus at 4, Utah at 6, Ottawa at 7 and New Jersey at 10, unfortunately there wasn’t much movement. The Flyers reportedly had conversations with Columbus and Utah that never materialized. With Helenius and Eiserman still on the board, the Flyers shocked and surprised by pivoting towards Guelph Storm centre Luchanko.

Luchanko was ranked 19th on Bob McKenzie’s draft board but he rose significantly over the final stretch of the season. The 17-year-old finished the year with 20 goals and 74 points in 68 games after 5 goals and 14 points in 46 games the year prior.

Luchanko is a 2-way forward, great centre-man, plays a 200-foot game, has a never-ending motor and fits the profile of what the Flyers have been drafting over the last few years – a “complete” player. writers in Adam Kimmelman and Mike Morreale had some complimentary words about Luchanko in their pre-draft mocks:

Kimmelman: “Luchanko (5-11, 187) is an explosive skater who can contribute on the power play and penalty kill. When injuries and graduations to pro hockey forced the 17-year-old into a larger role this season, Luchanko responded with a team-high 74 points (20 goals, 54 assists) in 68 games; he had 14 points (five goals, nine assists) in 46 games last season.”

Morreale: “The right-handed shot, is smart and tenacious on pucks, and had 33 power-play points (30 assists) in 68 games. He can play center or wing and finished among the top five in six of 10 on-ice categories at the CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in January, placing first in reaction with puck and second in transition ability with puck.

The pick could definitely be seen as a reach by the Flyers as the youngster never cracked anybody’s top-15, but Brière and company loved what they saw from him at the combine and were impressed with how he finished his 2023-24 season, while addressing their biggest positional need at the centre spot.

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