By Jsaq and Number23-AKA H&B Olde Tyme Hockey
After doing a Flyers trade history review and analysis, I decided to tackle their entry draft record. Needless to say, it was a bit more difficult, so I enlisted the help of fellow Buzzard Number23. We are brothers-in-law, sort of a white trash version of the Gallof boys.
Anyhow, we decided to do this a little bit differently. We'll still take a look at the draft history of the team, but also the bad picks, the good picks and of course the ugly picks--like when they took winger Glen Seabrooke instead of some guy named Joe Nieuwendyk.
We think this will be a very, very interesting look at what has shaped the team over the past 41 years. We hope that you enjoy and feel free to comment and have a good laugh and, maybe shed a few tears.
1969-Flyers GM: Keith Allen
Best Picks: Bobby Clarke C, Dave Schultz LW, Don Saleski LW
What else can you say? Clarke was the 17th overall pick--which was the second round back then--and he ended up a first ballot Hall of Famer. Schultz personified the Broad Street Bullies, setting the NHL record with 472 penalty minutes in 1974-75. Saleski was an excellent checking line winger, with tons of grit and guts. All three were keys parts of the Flyers back-to-back Stanley Cup Championship teams.
1972 Flyers GM: Keith Allen
Best Picks: Bill Barber LW, Tom Bladon D, Jimmy Watson D, Al MacAdam RW
Another great draft class, nabbing Hall of Famer Barber in the first round, two excellent defensemen in Bladon and Watson, and a decent NHLer in MacAdam. MacAdam was a key component in the team's trade for Reggie Leach in the summer of 1974. Barber, Bladon and Watson all had long tenures with the Flyers, with Barber and Watson spending their entire careers with the club.
1978 Flyers GM: Keith Allen
Best Picks: Behn Wilson D, Ken Linseman C, Glen Cochrane D, Mark Taylor RW
The Flyers had 3 first-rounders; with the first, they grabbed Wilson, a tough and talented rearguard. Wilson was a ferocious fighter and bested many of the NHL's top heavyweights. He also had the skill to be a power-play point man and make an end-to-end rush. The negatives were that he was inconsistent and somewhat injury-prone. Linseman was seen as a Bobby Clarke clone--a talented playmaker that had a nice touch of nasty in him. Linseman was nicknamed The Rat and certainly lived up to his billing, despite never becoming the elite level scorer that Clarke was. Linseman and Wilson were also both traded in deals that brought in key pieces of the 1980s teams (Wilson for Doug Crossman and Linseman for Mark Howe). Cochrane was a very good fighter and decent defenseman.
1979 Flyers GM: Keith Allen
Best Picks: Brian Propp LW, Blake Wesley D, Pelle Lindbergh G, Lindsay Carson LW, Thomas Eriksson D
In what is arguably the greatest draft class in NHL history, the Flyers selected five players that had NHL success. Propp ended his stellar career with over 1000 points and 425 goals. He was a well-rounded player, who played in every situation. The five-time all star is the all-time leading scoring LW in NHL playoff history. Lindbergh was a Vezina Trophy winning goalie, who perished in a 1985 drunk-driving accident. Lindbergh was also the starting goalie for the Bronze Medal-winning Swedish Olympic team in 1980. Carson was a valuable grinder on the mid-1980s teams that went to two Stanley Cup Finals. Eriksson was a talented offensive defenseman for a few years and a member of the all-rookie team in 1984.
1982 Flyers GM: Keith Allen
Best Picks: Ron Sutter C, Miroslav Dvorak D, Ron Hextall G, Dave Brown RW
Three of the four mentioned above had long, successful NHL careers. Sutter was the typical Sutter--hard working, good defensively and tough. Hextall had a great NHL career, despite not winning the Stanley Cup. He won the Vezina Trophy in 1987, and probably should have nabbed the Calder that year as well. Brown was one of the most intimidating enforcers of the 1980s. Dvorak was a veteran Czech defenseman, who played 3 NHL seasons, all with the Flyers.
1983 Flyers GM: Bob McCammon
Best Picks: Peter Zezel C, Derrick Smith LW, Rick Tocchet RW, Pelle Eklund C
This draft produced 4 NHLers--and the Flyers didn't even have a pick until round two. Zezel had several productive seasons in the mid-1980s for the Flyers before being traded to St Louis. He developed into a solid checking line center in his travels around the NHL. Smith was a big, grinding winger that also played on the mid-1980s teams. Tocchet, however, makes this draft a good one. Drafted in the sixth round, Tocchet went on to score 440 goals and rack up 2970 PIM in an excellent NHL career. He won a Stanley Cup in 1992 with the Pittsburgh Penguins. Eklund was a slick playmaking center who had a solid, if unspectacular, career. He was a popular player in Philly, as evidenced by a certain anonymous hockey blogger....
1990 Flyers GM: Russ Farwell
Best Picks: Mike Ricci C, Chris Simon LW, Mikael Renberg RW, Chris Therien D, Dan Kordic D, Tommy Soderstrom G
Several good selections from this crop, which was a strong overall draft. Ricci had a good, long NHL career as a checking line center. Simon is one of the league's most feared enforcers and had a few productive seasons. Renberg was the RW on the Legion of Doom line and holds the Flyers' rookie goal scoring record. Therien played more games than any other Flyers' defenseman.
1991 Flyers GM: Russ Farwell
Best Picks: Peter Forsberg C, Dmitri Yushkevich D, Andrei Lomakin LW
Forsberg became one of the best players in the game and is an almost certain Hall of Famer. Unfortunately, his best years were spent in Colorado, as he was part of the Eric Lindros trade. Yushkevich had several solid seasons for the Flyers and had a good NHL career. Lomakin, the first Russian-born Flyer, had a short run in Philly. He was an original member of the Florida Panthers. He passed away at the age of 42 in 2006.
1998 Flyers GM: Bob Clarke
Best Picks: Simon Gagne LW, Antero Niittymaki G, Bruno St Jacques D
Gagne has had quite a few excellent years with the Flyers. He has been a very good all-around forward, who has tallied back to back 40-goal seasons. Niittymaki has had a decent, if inconsistent, NHL career. St Jacques was a late round grab that has bounced around the NHL, getting a few cups of coffee.
2003 Flyers GM: Bob Clarke
Best Picks: Jeff Carter C, Mike Richards C, Stefan Ruzicka RW, Alexandre Picard D, Ryan Potulny C
The jury is still out on this class, but all of the above have had NHL experience. Carter has a 20-goal season on his resume; Richards has become one of the better-all around forwards in the NHL, Picard had a 5-point game last season and Ruzicka and Potulny have played well in brief NHL exposure.
1974 Flyers GM: Keith Allen
Best Picks: Bob Sirois F, Reggie Lemelin G
Sirois and Lemelin were the only two of 13 picks to play more than a handful of NHL games. Neither did much with the Flyers, although Lemelin is the team's current goalie coach.
1976 Flyers GM: Keith Allen
Best Picks: Uhh, well....Umm Mark Suzor?
To be fair, the Flyers didn't have a lot of picks, but the top two, Suzor and Callander combined for 103 NHL games...more on this hideous draft later.
1981 Flyers GM: Keith Allen
Best Picks: Dave Michayluk F, Len Hachborn C
This one also qualifies as ugly. Michayluk is a minor pro legend. Hachborn was a journeyman bubble player for several years. They also drafted a guy named Tabobondung.
1985 Flyers GM: Bob Clarke
Best Pick: Gord Murphy D
Murphy is the only guy that had a decent NHL career. 1st rounder Glen Seabrooke had a promising start, but chronic shoulder issues were poorly handled by the Flyers' orthopedic surgeon and his career was over before it really started. Journeyman Tony Horacek was a late round pick.
1986 Flyers GM: Bob Clarke
Best Picks: Kerry Huffman D, Murray Baron D
Huffman had a decent NHL career, where he bounced around a good deal. He was part of the trade for Eric Lindros. Baron was a very solid defenseman for several NHL seasons, but only one full one with the Flyers.
1987 Flyers GM: Bob Clarke
Best Pick: Darren Rumble D
Seriously, take a look at the best pick listed above. They selected 12 players in this draft and Darren Rumble had the most success. I mean, c'mon.
1988 Flyers GM: Bob Clarke
Best Picks: Claude Boivin LW, Dominic Roussel G
Boivin's father was a Hall Of Fame defenseman, however, the bloodlines didn't really carry over. Roussel was a solid back-up netminder for a few years.
1992 Flyers GM: Russ Farwell
Best Pick: Chris Herperger F
This draft is probably the worst in team history. Ryan Sittler was picked 7th overall. He barely made it to the AHL. Jason Bowen was the 15th pick. Herperger was picked at 223. He played more NHL games than the 9 other picks combined. There is a slight caveat to this draft, though. The Flyers thought they had traded their two first-rounders to Quebec in the Eric Lindros trade. Of course Quebec also made a trade with the Rangers and, well, it was not decided until a month later--meaning the Flyers were stuck with Sittler and Bowen.
1997 Flyers GM: Bob Clarke
Best Pick: Todd Fedoruk
Although several players from this draft class reached the NHL, Fedoruk is the only one who has had any impact at all.
1999 Flyers GM: Bob Clarke
Best Pick: A giant booger that was in Paul Holmgren's nose
Maxime Ouellet and Vaclav Pletka were the only members of this class to play in the NHL. They combined for 13 games at the NHL level. No, we are NOT trying to pick on Bob Clarke.
The ugly section is a little different. These are not necessarily ugly drafts--but rather guys who were on the board when the Flyers made their pick and they didn't select. There are also a couple of drafts that were pretty much all ugly, but we listed those above.
Selected Larry Wright and Pierre Plante (8th and 9th, respectively)
Could have had: Terry O'Reilly (14th, Boston), Larry Robinson (20th, Montreal) and/or Rick Kehoe (22nd, Toronto--with a pick originally owned by the Flyers)
Selected Mark Suzor (17th)
Could have had: Brian Sutter (20th, St Louis) or Randy Carlyle (30th, Toronto)
Selected Kevin McCarthy (17th) and Tom Gorence (35th)
Could have had John Tonelli (33rd, New York Islanders) and Rod Langway (36th, Montreal)
1981--see, here it is, again!!
Selected the other Steve Smith (16th) and Rich Costello (37th)
Possibly should have considered Chris Chelios (40th, Montreal) and Mike Vernon (56th, Calgary)
1982--yeah, we had it listed as one of the good drafts, but...
Selected Ron Sutter (4th)
History might have been a lot different had they picked Scott Stevens (5th, Washington) or Phil Housley (6th, Buffalo)
Selected Glen Seabrooke (21st)
Probably would have prefered Joe Nieuwendyk (27th, Calgary) or Mike Richter--a local boy (28th, New York Rangers)
Selected Kerry Huffman (20th), Jukka Seppo (23rd) and roller hockey legend Kent Hawley (28th)
Could have had Adam Graves (22nd, Detroit) and/or Teppo Numminen (29th, Winnipeg)
Selected Darren Rumble (20th) and Jeff Harding (30th)
Could have drafted, instead of traded for: John LeClair (33rd, Montreal) and Eric Desjardins (38th, Montreal) or picked Matthieu Schneider (44th, Montreal)
Selected Claude Boivin (14th), Pat Murray (35th), Craig Fisher (56th), Dominic Roussel (63rd)
Missed the boat on Mark Recchi (67th, Pittsburgh), Tony Amonte (68th, New York Rangers) and Rob Blake (70th, Los Angeles)
Selected Greg Johnson (33rd), Patrik Juhlin (34th)
WHOOPS...Niklas Lidstrom (53rd, Detroit)
Selected Mike Ricci (4th)
In a stellar draft, they could have selected Jaromir Jagr (5th, Pittsburgh), Derian Hatcher (8th, Minnesota), Keith Tkachuk (19th, Winnipeg) or Martin Brodeur (20th, New Jersey)
1992--This one is especially fugly
Selected Ryan Sittler (7th), Jason Bowen (15th), Denis Metlyuk (31st)
Hindsight is 20/20, because they missed Sergei Gonchar (14th, Washington), Martin Straka (19th, Pittsburgh), Darren McCarty (46th, Detroit)
Selected Artem Anisimov (62nd)
Maybe should have gone with Sheldon Souray (71st, New Jersey) or Chris Drury (72nd, Quebec)
Selected Dainius Zubrus (15th)
Ended up signing as a free agent for a ton of cash: Danny Briere (24th, Phoenix--another pick that originally belonged to Philly)
Selected Jason Becket (42nd)
Should have taken a longer look at Mike Fisher (44th, Ottawa) or Mike Ribeiro (45th, Montreal)
Selected Maxime Ouellet (22nd)
Really dropped the ball on Steve McCarthy (23rd, Chicago) and Martin Havlat (26th, Ottawa)
Selected Jeff Woywitka (27th)
Ignored the small-statured Derek Roy (32nd, Buffalo), Mike Cammalleri (49th, Los Angeles) and Jason Pominville (55th, Buffalo)
Selected Steve Downie (29th)
Might have wanted to reconsider (along with 29 other teams) Paul Stastny (44th, Colorado)
As we all know the draft is a crapshoot, especially when choosing 18-year-old kids. There are other teams that certainly missed the boat on a lot of these picks. Look at 1991--would teams (knowing what they know now) have really picked Pat Falloon, Scott Lachance and Aaron Ward over Peter Forsberg, Brian Rolston, Alexei Kovalev or Ziggy Palffy?
Of course not. Just like Patrick Roy never would have lasted to the third round. Or Dave Taylor to the 15th round. Or Scott Niedermayer to the third pick, behind Eric Lindros and Falloon.