By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)
A big reason for the current state of struggle the Philadelphia Flyers are in is because they traded away most of their first and second round picks for almost a decade and the ones they kept didn’t turn into superstars. Trades didn’t solve the problem either, often failing in developing a young player with big potential. General manager Ron Hextall has changed the scene and turned around the Flyers prospect pool to be one of the best in the league. But what about those players the Flyers drafted or acquired via trade that didn’t turn out to be the star they were expected to be.
This week I’ll rank the top 5 prospects that didn’t pan out
*drafted or acquired 23 years old or younger*
Number 5- Steve Downie (29th overall in 2005)
Alright, an oxymoron right off the bat. Downie, in a sense, did everything he was projected to do, but none of his accomplishments were worthy of a being taken in the first round. Downie played 38 games for the Flyers in his first stint, and another 51 during 2013-14. With a total of 29 points and 154 penalty minutes, he certainly did nothing to move the Flyers forward. The fact that he’s been in the NHL for a decade is mind boggling. He was a prototypical Flyer, especially in 2005, but he was most certainly a bust.
Number 4- Scott Laughton (20th overall in 2012)
Yeah, okay, it’s too early to call Laughton a complete bust, but he certainly doesn’t look like he will hit the second line center roll he was projected to fill. Laughton was one of the few first round picks the Flyers actually had in the previous two decades. The Ontario native is one of only five players drafted in the first round of 2012 to not see regular NHL minutes. He has played in 109 NHL games, which I was surprised about, but recorded a measly 27 points. To be fair to Laughton, he has become a leader for the Phantoms, a role that he wasn’t given a opportunity to do for the Flyers. So while it may be too soon to write him off, time is running out for Laughton to redeem himself.
Number 3- Andreas Nodl (39th overall in 2006)
Expectations for Nodl were high after he led his junior team in points the year after he was drafted. He just never fully transitioned his talent to the NHL level. After five-and-a-half disappointing seasons split between the Flyers and Phantoms, he was waived and picked up by the Carolina Hurricanes. He played 56 games for the Hurricanes, recording eight points, before leaving for his native Austria where he currently plays for the Vienna Capitals of the EBEL. He had the potential to be a high-scoring winger for the Flyers, but it never worked out.
Number 2- Ryan Parent (acquired via trade)
I was a big fan of Parent, so when he floundered in the NHL, I was disappointed. Taken 18th overall in 2005 by the Nashville Predators, he impressed in juniors and won gold with Team Canada at both the 2006 and 2007 World Juniors. Parent was traded to Philly as part of the return that sent Peter Forsberg to Nashville. Early in his career he was compared to top defensive d-men like Scott Hannan, but struggled at the NHL level after multiple injuries. He was eventually traded to Vancouver, where he only played four NHL games before spending the rest of his career in the AHL. Hard to tell what went wrong, but it’s too bad it did. He could have been a game changer on the blueline in Philadelphia.
Number 1- Luke Schenn (acquired via trade)
Luke technically wasn’t a prospect when he arrived in Philadelphia, as he played four NHL seasons in Toronto. He was 22 at the time of the trade, so he qualifies for the list. Did anybody expect Schenn to be anywhere else but number one? Originally taken fifth overall by Toronto, he came to Philly in a blockbuster trade that sent James Van Riemsdyk to the Leafs. Schenn did show some potential during his tenure with Toronto, but it was a huge lopsided trade non the less. Schenn had his moments in Philly, but never became that top-pair defenseman that was expected of him, especially since JVR has gone on to be a phenomenal forward. The Flyers traded him to the Kings in 2015-16 and he has since also played for the Arizona Coyotes. Near the top of the league in hits every season, he did manage to keep his penalty minutes down. That didn’t save his career though. It was still one of the worst trades in Flyers history, so lets just stop talking about it.
Image Credit: Steve Jacot/Flickr