Flyers grab second spot in NHL draft lottery

Nico Hischier of Switzerland scores vs Czech Republic in world junior tournament
The Flyers had great luck in Saturday night's NHL draft lottery, vaulting to the second spot for June's draft. The NHL's Central Scouting Bureau lists Switzerland's Nico Hischier as the second-rated player. Seen here scoring against the Czech Republic in the world junior championships, Hischier was the rookie of the year in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League in 2016-17 while playing for Halifax.

The Flyers defied the odds in the NHL draft lottery on Saturday night and, as a result, could get a generational player with their first selection.

They went from No. 13 to No. 2 in the draft and figure to select a center who has the potential to be a star.

New Jersey won the lottery, vaulting from the fifth spot, and will pick first for the first time since the franchise moved from Colorado.

The draft will be held June 23-24 in Chicago.

The Flyers' odds of getting the top selection were just 2.2 percent, and their odds of getting the No. 2 pick were just slightly higher.

"I feel like we had a lot of bad luck this year and I’m hoping this is a turning point for that to be turned around," Flyers general manager Ron Hextall said in a conference call with reporters.

Colorado, at 18 percent, had the best chance to get the No. 1 overall pick. But the Avs fell to No. 4 in the draft.

Dallas went from No. 8 to No. 3. The expansion team in Las Vegas will pick this year, but the Golden Knights had no luck in the lottery and fell to the sixth spot.

Nolan Patrick of the Brandon Wheat Kings in the Western Hockey League is projected to be the No. 1 overall pick. He is a former WHL teammate of Flyers rookie Ivan Provorov.

Centers Niko Hischier, Martin Necas, and Gabriel Vilardi are projected as the next three picks.

Most scouts have the 6-foot, 174-pound Hischier just below Patrick. The Swiss center had 38 goals and 86 points in 57 games this season for Halifax and was named rookie of the year in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

According to the Flyers, this is the second time in franchise history they will have the No. 2 overall pick. They selected James van Riemsdyk in 2007.

The team said it has had only six draft picks in the top 5 of a draft, and four of those six selections came before 1991.

Here are those picks: 1967, Serge Bernier at No. 5; 1975, Mel Bridgman at No. 1; 1982, Ron Sutter at No. 4; 1990, Mike Ricci at No. 4; 2002, Joni Pitkanen at No. 4 and van Riemsdyk.

Draft order:

1. New Jersey Devils

2. Philadelphia Flyers

3. Dallas Stars

4. Colorado Avalanche

5. Vancouver Canucks

6. Vegas Golden Knights

7. Arizona Coyotes

8. Buffalo Sabres

9. Detroit Red Wings

10. Florida Panthers

11. Los Angeles Kings

12. Carolina Hurricanes

13. Winnipeg Jets

14. Tampa Bay Lightning

15. New York Islanders

scarchidi@phillynews.com

@BroadStBull www.philly.com/flyersblog