2022 NHL draft profile: Frank Nazar is a thrilling playmaker

·4 min read

One of draft's more thrilling players may give Flyers trade-back option originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

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 Centre in Montreal. The Flyers have six total selections. The first round kicks off at 7 p.m. ET Thursday, while Rounds 2-7 follow Friday starting at 11 a.m. 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."

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

Next up:

Frank Nazar

Position: Center/winger

Height: 5-foot-10

Weight: 180

Shoots: Right

Team: USNTDP

Scouting report

While Nazar may not have the complete game yet, his skill level is tantalizing. The Michigan-bound 18-year-old is fast, explosive and as dangerous as they get in this draft with the puck on his stick.

Nazar was third on the U.S. national team development program under-18 squad with 70 points (28 goals, 42 assists) through 56 games this season. He's a fan of the way Lightning center Brayden Point plays.

"If he were bigger, we’d be talking about him as a top-three potential player in this draft," DailyFaceoff.com's Chris Peters wrote earlier this month. "But he does have a lot of strength he’s going to need to add to be an effective player at the next level."

There are some considerably different opinions on Nazar's stock. EliteProspects.com pegged him as the fifth-best player in the entire draft and Peters slotted him at No. 7. But Nazar is the 21st-ranked North American skater by NHL Central Scouting, while TSN's Craig Button rated him at No. 25 overall.

"His skating is awesome, he plays on the inside, he has a lot of skill," an anonymous executive told The Athletic's Corey Pronman. "I think the potential there is really enticing."

Fit with Flyers

If the Flyers are high on Nazar and gather a sense that he'll fall a bit, it could present general manager Chuck Fletcher an opportunity to trade back and potentially gain a second-round pick.

The Flyers do not have a selection in the second round because of the Shayne Gostisbehere trade last summer.

We'll see how things shake out.

Regardless, Nazar's offensive prowess down the middle of the ice should appeal to the Flyers. His size and all-around game could give the Flyers some pause, but Fletcher emphasized the organization's need for more talent after back-to-back seasons of missing the playoffs.

"Part of it is we have to get younger, we have to get more talented, we have to get faster," Fletcher said May 3.

The Flyers have tapped into the USNTDP during the first round in recent years. They selected Cam York out of the program in 2019 and Joel Farabee in 2018. Like Nazar will be doing, York went to Michigan. He turned pro after a banner sophomore year.

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

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