Flyers Draft

Flyers should like Helenius, ‘one of the top talents in the draft'

The Finnish prospect has first-line center upside; will he be available for the Flyers at No. 12?

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Despite overachieving for the majority of the 2023-24 season, the Flyers still have a rebuilding mindset. The club's decision-makers know there's a need for more talent and that the entry draft remains the best avenue to acquire it.

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

The Flyers will have a good opportunity to augment their future when the 2024 NHL draft arrives June 28-29 at the Sphere in Las Vegas. The first round is Friday at 7 p.m. ET, while Rounds 2-7 are Saturday starting at 11:30 a.m. ET.

Like last summer, the Flyers have 10 picks, including two first-rounders. Barring a trade, they'll make their top overall selection at No. 12. Briere believes the Flyers "can get a very talented player" at that spot.

In the first round of the 2023 draft, the Flyers took a swing on Matvei Michkov at No. 7 and grabbed Oliver Bonk at No. 22. They should also have two first-round picks in 2025.

Leading up to the 2024 draft, we'll break down targets for the Flyers at No. 12.

First up:

Konsta Helenius

Position: Center
Height: 5-foot-11
Weight: 189
Shoots: Right
Team: Jukurit

Scouting report

Helenius is an intelligent playmaker who produced at an impressive clip as a 17-year-old playing against men in his home country.

In Liiga, Finland's top pro league, Helenius put up 36 points (14 goals, 22 assists) and 212 shots over 51 games this season on loan with Jukurit. He was a point-per-game player in the playoffs, recording two goals and four assists.

Through 84 career Liiga games, Helenius has 47 points (17 goals, 30 assists) and a plus-6 rating. He just turned 18 years old last month.

At the 2024 under-20 IIHF World Junior Championship, Helenius had a goal and an assist in seven games for Finland.

"He's a really smart hockey player," Dan Marr, the vice president of NHL Central Scouting, said last Thursday in a phone interview with NBC Sports Philadelphia. "His hockey sense is one of his best assets, but then he has the puck skills to execute the plays and generate the offense. Talent-wise, he is one of the top talents in the draft."

NHL Central Scouting pegged Helenius as the top-ranked European skater in its midterm marks before having him finish at No. 3. He's considered the third-best prospect in the draft by TSN's Craig Button and ninth by TSN's Bob McKenzie, while has him at No. 11.

"A lot of the really good Finnish players in the NHL, they're not flashy, they're not loud, they're just very effective, very consistent," Marr said. "He's going to be one of these really high-end, smart, skilled players that goes out there and just makes good plays and makes things happen. He's going to be the guy that you can go to when you need a goal, when you're defending a lead. He's a smart player, he understands the game so well."

Konsta Helenius
DeFodi Images/Getty Images contributor

Fit with Flyers

There's first-line upside with Helenius, which should intrigue the Flyers if he falls into their range at No. 12. Center is a premium position and it's arguably the team's weakest area from an organizational standpoint.

The Flyers eventually want to identify and develop a high-end pivot to play alongside Michkov, their top prospect. There was hope that Cutter Gauthier would play down the middle for them, which makes his loss even tougher to stomach.

Helenius would give the Flyers a potential top-six center who might not be all that far away from making an impact at the NHL level. And they have good people like player development coach and scout Sami Kapanen and amateur scout Sami Sandell that could help Helenius transition to North America.

More targets

• Flyers draft target Catton has 'ingredients' to be first-line center

Flyers could have shot at Yakemchuk, a defenseman with 'rare combination'

Flyers draft target Iginla has impressive NHL lineage and 'very high ceiling'

Eiserman, 'the best goal scorer in this draft,' an option for Flyers?

'The full package' Connelly has interesting draft case for Flyers

With 'no real holes to his game,' Jiricek an option for Flyers at No. 12

Is Brandsegg-Nygard close to pro-ready and a possibility for Flyers?

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