Flyers Draft

‘He's a special, special hockey player' — Greentree a fit for Flyers at No. 12?

As an 18-year-old captain, the 6-foot-2 winger had a 90-point season for the OHL's Windsor Spitfires

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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 could have up to 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.

More: Trade candidates? How many picks? Five Flyers things to know for the 2024 NHL draft

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've broken down targets for the Flyers at No. 12.

To wrap things up:

Liam Greentree

Position: Winger
Height: 6-foot-2
Weight: 215
Shoots: Left
Team: Windsor Spitfires

Scouting report

Greentree is a strong, multifaceted playmaker who can be a nightmare to cover. He has a knack for putting himself or a teammate in position to score because of his ability to beat defenders with a variety of moves.

Leading the OHL's Spitfires in every major offensive category, Greentree delivered 90 points (36 goals, 54 assists) over 64 games this season. He had 12 games of three or more points, including a six-point performance that featured a hat trick.

"The obvious size, strength and shooting ability, but the fact that he gets the puck to the net, he creates scoring chances and gets the puck in that scoring area more often than not," Windsor general manager and vice president of hockey operations Bill Bowler said last Saturday in a phone interview with NBC Sports Philadelphia. "Over the course of a game, a season, he's just very good at generating offense."

Not even two weeks after his 18th birthday, the Spitfires named Greentree their captain.

"He's just such a good guy, he's just down to earth, extremely humble," Bowler said. "You wouldn't know if he's an NHL first-rounder or a call-up the way he carries himself and his demeanor. Once the play starts, he's a special, special hockey player. But he relates to everybody and he treats everybody the same way. ... It's unheard of that you name a captain at that age, but he deserves it."

There are some concerns with Greentree's skating, particularly his acceleration. With much less time and space in the NHL, he'll have to improve his explosiveness.

"To play in the National Hockey League and excel, Liam needs to work on everything," Bowler said. "Skating sometimes, it's the visual, it doesn't look or appear as fluid as others, but the reality is, Liam gets to where he's going to get to. There's no question he can improve on it, but my gosh, there's nothing there that would suggest he won't keep excelling at the next level. I think he'll only get better because the length, the size, the strength."

He has worked on that area of his game with Windsor skating coach Kathy McLlwain and others.

"That's the other beauty of Liam, we've talked about his character, he's always trying to get better," Bowler said. "Whatever you see now, it's going to be even better here in a couple of years."

Greentree is the 14th-ranked North American skater by NHL Central Scouting and considered the 15th-best prospect in the draft by TSN's Bob McKenzie has him at No. 18 overall, while TSN's Craig Button slotted him 23rd.

Liam Greentree
Tim Cornett/OHL Images

Fit with Flyers

When you watch Greentree, you see some Jamie Benn in his game. Both are wingers with size, skill and smarts. The Flyers wouldn't mind adding a player like that to their system. They've wanted more upside and Greentree has it.

A mix of Greentree, Michkov and Tyson Foerster would give the Flyers three wingers 22 years old or younger with 30-goal potential. And the Flyers also have 25-or-younger wingers like Owen Tippett, Joel Farabee, Noah Cates and Bobby Brink already impacting their rebuild, along with Foerster.

Could the Flyers have a center or defenseman higher on their list that is still available at No. 12? That's definitely possible. But, if he's still there, Greentree should give the Flyers a good decision to make.

More targets

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

• 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?

Sennecke, a big winger set to 'explode offensively,' will be on Flyers' radar

Should Boisvert, a future 'impact center,' have Flyers' attention?

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