By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)
The NHL draft is right around the corner and the Flyers hold the 14th and 19th picks. Throughout history there have been plenty of stars taken with those picks, so lets rank them!
Number 5- Kevin Shattenkirk 2007 Avalanche
Drafted by the Avalanche, and later traded to St. Louis, Shattenkirk emerged as an offensive dynamo as he broke out in the NHL. Posting four straight 40-point seasons, and helping the Blues make the playoffs all five years he was there. He has since played for Washington and the Rangers and continues to put up top offensive numbers for a defenseman.
Number 4- Brent Seabrook 2003 Blackhawks
A key piece of the Blackhawks three Cup wins, Seabrook started as a draft pick during the rebuilding years. Posting both solid offensive numbers, as well as being very good in his own zone, Seabrook is the epitome of a two-way defenseman. Playing 78 or more games in 11 of his 13 NHL seasons, Seabrook is highly counted on by his team.
Number 3- Devan Dubnyk 2004 Oilers
Originally seeming like nothing special during his tenure in Edmonton and Arizona, It was a trade to Minnesota that turned his career around. After finding a new style working with Arizona goalie coach Sean Burke, he was traded to the Wild and immediately made an impact, eventually becoming a finalist for the Vezina trophy in 2015.
Number 2- Sergei Gonchar 1992 Capitals
It’s hard to be at the top as long as Gonchar was. Making his NHL debut in 1994, his career lasted 20 years as he retired in 2014. The five-time all-star was the first Russian-born defenseman to score 20 goals in a season in the NHL, as well has holding multiple other records for Russian players. His strong play culminated with a Stanley Cup win with the Penguins in 2008. Gonchar finished his career with 1,301 games played, 220 goals, and 811 points.
Number 1- Brian Propp 1979 Flyers
As the Flyers gear up to select 14th overall, maybe it’s no coincidence one of the best Flyers of all time was taken at 14. The five-time all-star holds numerous Flyers records, as well as ranking second in both goals and assists and third in points in Flyers history with 849. Racking up six straight 30-goal seasons from 1981-1987, four of which he broke the 40-goal plateau, he was no stranger to being near the top of the leaderboard for the Flyers, even leading the team in points during the 1985-86 season.
Number 5- Andrei Vasilevskiy 2012 Tampa
In a couple of years, he may be much higher on this lest, but given he has only seen 155 games of NHL action, by default he is ranked fifth. That doesn’t mean that he isn’t good, however, as he has either tied or passed Nikolai Khabibulin in multiple franchise records. Through parts of four seasons and 155 total games, Vasilevskiy has the second most wins, third most shutouts, the most wins in one season, and the most shutouts in a single season.
Number 4- Ryan Getzlaf 2003 Anaheim
Taken 19th overall in the stacked 2003 NHL draft, he almost immediately became a force to be reckoned with. Through 13 NHL seasons, he has played in 917 games accumulating 875 points and helped lead Anaheim to a Stanley Cup in 2007. The three-time all-star and current captain of the Ducks is still a passing machine, racking up three consecutive 50+ assist seasons, and four in the last five years.
Number 3- Martin Straka 1992 Pittsburgh
A long-standing NHL journeyman is best known for his stint in Pittsburgh from 1997 through 2004. At his peak, Straka was known as a top two-way player thanks to his speed and vision on the ice. Unfortunately a broken leg would ultimately slow his career, but he still managed to play in 954 NHL games (and another 299 games in Czech Extraliga) finishing his career with 717 points, though the Stanley cup alluded him through his career.
Number 2- Keith Tkachuk 1990 Jets
Widely regarded as one of the best american-born players of all-time, Tkachuk’s career started as the 19th overall pick in the 1990 NHL draft. In 19 seasons split between four teams, he scored 538 goals and 1,065 points in 1,201 games. He is one of five American-born players to score 500 goals, and one of six to break the 1,000 point plateau. His style of play was his main attraction as he racked up more than 100 PIM in ten seasons, even hitting the 200 PIM mark three times. Tkachuk was inducted into the US Hockey Hall of Fame in 2012.
Number 1- Olaf Kolzig 1989 Capitals
A Washington Capitals legend, and one of the best goalies in NHL history, Kolzig is no stranger to the record books. He holds essentially all the Caps goalie records including most games played, wins, and shutouts. Kolzig sits top 30 in NHL history among goaltenders wins (303), saves (18,233), and games played (719). His strong efforts on the ice led him to a Vezina Trophy in 2000, a King Clancy Trophy in 2006, and he is a two-time all-star.
photo credit: joeyritter.com