2022 NHL draft: Flyers take Cutter Gauthier with 5th overall pick

Cutter Gauthier saw his stock rise all the way to the Flyers at No. 5.

The Flyers grabbed the big forward at fifth overall Thursday night in the 2022 NHL draft at Montreal’s Bell Centre.

The 6-foot-2, 200-pounder is headed to Boston College and wants to play center at the next level.

Gauthier can find the back of the net and facilitate as he finished second on the US national team development program under-18 squad with 34 goals through 54 games in 2021-22. He also collected 31 assists and had a plus-33 rating.

He was considered a riser by various draft experts.

Center Shane Wright, who many pundits considered to be the top player in the draft, nearly slipped to the Flyers’ No. 5 spots. The Kraken scooped him up at No. 4.

The Flyers had an opportunity to take 6-foot-3, righty-shot defenseman David Jiricek, who was viewed by some as the best blueliner in the draft. The Czech Republic native went off the board the very next pick to the Blue Jackets. He was the second defenseman drafted. Simon Nemec was the first, going to the Devils at No. 2.

Gauthier was the third-ranked North American skater by NHL Central Scouting and rated as the fifth-best player overall in the draft by TSN’s Bob McKenzie.

He’s a left winger but is aiming to play down the middle of the ice for Boston College.

“There are some scouts who think he could play in the league as soon as 2022-23 but would be fine if he spent more time developing in college, especially since he needs more reps at center,” DailyFaceoff.com’s Chris Peters wrote last month .

The size, center and scoring elements of Gauthier clearly intrigued the Flyers. The club hadn’t taken many pivots over the past three years. It has needed more center talent and scoring ability in its system.

Gauthier possesses a smooth but powerful skating stride. He has potential to protect and score the puck.

The 18-year-old was born in Sweden while his father Sean Gauthier was playing professionally in the country.

The 2022 draft is the Flyers’ fourth under general manager Chuck Fletcher and assistant general manager Brent Flahr. The club selected defenseman Cam York at 14th overall in 2019 and winger Tyson Foerster at 23rd overall in 2020. Last summer, Fletcher dealt the Flyers’ first-round pick to the Sabers in the trade for Rasmus Ristolainen.

The last time the Flyers had a pick in the top five was 2017, when they improbably climbed from the 13th position to No. 2 overalls. They had a 2.4 percent chance at the second pick that summer and landed it, selecting Nolan Patrick out of the WHL.

Day 2 of the 2022 draft is Friday, wrapping up with Rounds 2-7 (11 am ET/NHL Network).

Here are the Flyers’ remaining picks:

  • third round — No. 69 overalls
  • fourth round — No. 101 overalls
  • Fifth round — No. 133 overalls
  • sixth round — No. 165 overalls
  • seventh round — No. 197 overalls

Fletcher was asked last week if the Flyers would actively look to acquire a second-round pick.

“Yeah, definitely,” he said. “I think the priority is making sure we do well with our first pick. If we can still get a great first-round pick and find a way to get a second-round pick or to get another player, get another prospect or something, sure. But I think that’s secondary to actually looking at the top end of the draft.”

Eric Bolte/USA Today Images

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