Breaking: Flyers closing in on deal to sign 5-foot-10 center with 54 goals and 62 assists in 68 regular-season

Breaking: Flyers closing in on deal to sign 5-foot-10 center with 54 goals and 62 assists in 68 regular-season

The 18-year-old center had 54 goals and 62 assists in 68 regular-season games for Spokane

Despite their success throughout the 2023-24 season, the Flyers remain focused on rebuilding. The club’s decision-makers recognize the need for more talent and believe the entry draft is the best way to acquire it.

“The bulk of it still needs to be done through our young guys, mostly through the draft,” general manager Danny Briere stated in April.

The Flyers will have a strong opportunity to improve their future when the 2024 NHL draft takes place June 28-29 at the Sphere in Las Vegas. The first round begins Friday at 7 p.m. ET, with Rounds 2-7 beginning Saturday at 11:30 a.m. ET.

The Flyers have ten picks, including two first-rounders, just as they did last summer. Unless a trade occurs, they will make their top overall pick at No. 12. Briere feels the Flyers “can get a very talented player” in that position.

In the 2023 draft, the Flyers selected Matvei Michkov at No. 7 and Oliver Bonk at No. 22. They should have two first-round picks in 2025.

Prior to the 2024 draft, we’re looking down targets for the Flyers at No. 12.

Berkly Catton

Position: Center
Height: 5-foot-10
Weight: 175
Shoots: Left
Team: Spokane Chiefs

Scouting report

As a shifty and crafty pivot, Catton put up some of the most outrageous numbers in Canadian major junior hockey this season.

The 18-year-old scored 116 points (54 goals, 62 assists) in 68 regular-season games for the Chiefs. He recorded seven games with four or more points and 14 multi-goal performances, and his seven shorthanded goals led the WHL.

Catton’s ability to reverse direction at full speed while maintaining control makes him a continuous threat with the puck. He may score and influence a game in a variety of ways.

Does he have first-line NHL potential?

“He does in the sense that one of his strongest assets is his ability to control the game with his hockey sense,” Dan Marr, vice president of NHL Central Scouting, told NBC Sports Philadelphia over the phone a week and a half ago. “His vision, anticipation, and the way he sees the ice and reads the play allow him to set up and make plays, as well as execute them when necessary. He’s simply a very, very intelligent player out there.”

Catton is on the smaller side, which will inevitably spark debate about how his game will perform against professionals. According to NHL Central Scouting, he is the eighth-ranked North American skater, while ranks him as the eighth-best prospect in the draft.According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie, Catton is ranked 11th overall, while Craig Button places him 15th.

“He’s highly skilled and highly intelligent,” Marr stated, “and those are the ingredients that you want in a top-line centerman.”

Fit with Flyers

Catton would be a good fit for the Flyers, who could use some top-tier skill, particularly down the middle.

Morgan Frost is the lone first-round center on the Flyers’ active roster from the previous 11 drafts. With Catton, the Flyers’ future scoring potential would be significantly increased, as would the addition of a player to complement Michkov.

While Catton carries risk since the ideal size is not available, the rebuilding Flyers have decided to take more chances in the first round.They did not take the safe route last summer. If they get a chance to draft Catton with the 12th overall pick this summer, they should seriously consider it.

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