Via @DanTheFlyeraFan on Twitter
Drafting outside of the first fifteen to twenty picks in the NHL is a crapshoot, but there are a times the Flyers would like a do-over. Organizational drafting before the Ron Hextall-era was not a pleasant experience, in the 109 picks from 2000 to 2014, only 47 played for the team. Five of those 47 only played in one game. Hexy has had 19 picks to work with, though only two have played in the NHL so far, but most have huge promise.
Out of the 128 players selected since the turn of the millennium up until Hexy’s tenure, surely there have been a few the Flyers aren’t happy with. I’ll rank the top 5 players the Flyers skipped over in the draft.
*This list excludes 2003, the Flyers drafted Jeff Carter at 11, passing up on Brent Burns, Ryan Getzlaf and Zach Parise, then drafted Mike Richards at 24, passing up Patrice Bergeron, Shea Weber and Corey Perry. The Flyers drafted two good players, so while they could have done better, they didn’t blow it either.*
Number 5- Milan Lucic in 2006
No, I’m not going to say Lucic over Giroux. Milan Lucic was drafted 50th overall by the Bruins while the Flyers spent their 2nd rounder on a guy named Mike Ratchuk who they took 42nd overall. Lucic is the prototypical Flyer, a tough, scoring winger that will just as easily snipe a goal as take a dumb penalty. Ratchuk never made it past the AHL, so the term bust is accurate.
Number 4- Jordan Eberle in 2008
(Interestingly, they also passed on Roman Josi as well) The Flyers picked Luca Sbisa 19th overall in 2008. Three picks later the Oilers took Jordan Eberle. Sbisa was involved in the trade that brought Chris Pronger to Philly, and has been oft-injured and a fringe NHLer ever since. Eberle has posted two 60-point seasons and has broken the 20-goal plateau in five of his seven NHL seasons. With the Flyers starved for a scoring winger, Eberle would have been the cure for an ever lingering problem.
Number 3- Marc-Edouard Vlasic in 2005
This one stings. The Flyers selected Steve Downie 29th overall in 2005, while Vlasic was drafted 35th overall. The pickle man has been a corner stone D-man for the Sharks and has won gold with Team Canada at the 2014 Olympics. He’s never been much of a threat offensively, just 254 points in 812 games, but his skills on the blueline more than make up for it. Downie was traded to San Jose for Matt Carle after just 38 games as a Flyer.
Number 2- John Klingberg in 2010
This is a later round pick, so the diamond in the rough theory comes into play a little. Tye McGinn was drafted late in the 4th round, 119th overall. John Klingberg was taken in the fifth round (131st overall) and is one of the best late round picks in recent memory. Klingberg is only three years into his NHL career but has already established himself as a scoring threat on the blueline. Registering 147 points in 221 NHL games, He is producing at a rate that would make Gostisbehere jealous. Tye McGinn played in 36 Flyers games (and just 89 NHL games in his whole career) before being traded to San Jose for a 3rd round pick.
Number 1- PK Subban in 2007
Ouch. two picks, that’s what separated the Flyers from Subban. Philly took Kevin Marshall with the 41st pick in 2007, while Subban was taken with the 43rd pick by Montreal. Marshall spent three seasons with the Phantoms before being recalled only to play ten games for the Flyers before he was traded to the Capitals for journeyman AHLer Matt Ford. Subban has gone on to be one of the best defensemen in the NHL, winning the Norris trophy in 2013. Ironically, his first NHL point came in his NHL debut against, who else, the Flyers. He posted three consecutive 50+ point seasons from 2013-2016. This is a pick I’m sure the Flyers would like a do-over on for sure.
Oskars Bartulis at 91 over Keith Yandle at 105 in 2005
Frederic Larsson at 111 over Jacob Slavin at 120 in 2012
Michael Parks at 149 over Mark Stone at 178 in 2010
Adam Morrison at 81 over David Savard at 94 in 2009
Matt Clackson at 215 over Patric Hornqvist at 230 in 2005
Photo Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY