Flyers' best picks ever, round by round

Pete Peeters , a 1977 pick.
Pete Peeters , a 1977 pick.
Posted: June 27, 2014

Since 2000, the Flyers have made some shrewd draft choices, but most of those great picks are now playing elsewhere, including Justin Williams, Patrick Sharp, Dennis Seidenberg, Jeff Carter, Mike Richards, and James van Riemsdyk.

Some of those ex-Flyers drew highly productive players in trades. Some didn't.

New general manager Ron Hextall is preaching that the Flyers must be patient with their young players. That means recent draft picks - and those selected Friday and Saturday, when the draft is held at the Wells Fargo Center - will probably be given more time to blossom with the Orange and Black.

Here is a list of the Flyers' best selections since they started in 1967:

First Round

The Flyers' best first round was in 2003, when they had two picks and took Carter 11th overall and Richards 24th.

Some other notable first-round picks included Peter Forsberg (sixth overall in 1991), who was quickly traded to Quebec in the Eric Lindros deal, Bill Barber (1972), Brian Propp (1979), Ron Sutter (1982), Simon Gagne (1998), Claude Giroux (2006), and van Riemsdyk (2007).

Barber scored 420 goals in a Hall of Fame career. Giroux, selected 22d overall, could end up being the best pick.

Best pick: Barber, seventh overall in 1972.

Second Round

The Flyers drafted some productive players in this round, including Bob Kelly (1970), Tom Bladon (1979), Pelle Lindbergh (1979), Peter Zezel (1983), and Mikael Renberg (1990).

In 1969, they took a chance on a diabetic from Flin Flon, Manitoba: Bobby Clarke. The NHL had just 12 teams then, so Clarke was taken in the second round with the 17th overall selection - which would be a midlevel first-round pick in today's 30-team NHL.

Clarke collected 358 goals and 1,210 points in his Hall of Fame career, won three MVP awards, and carried the Flyers to prominence with his hustling, fearless play.

Best pick: Clarke, 17th overall in 1969.

Third Round

Defenseman Jimmy Watson had an outstanding 10-year career with the Flyers after he was chosen in the third round (39th overall) in the 1972 draft.

Vinny Prospal (1993) was also a terrific pick in this round, as was Sharp in 2001.

Sharp played parts of just three seasons with the Flyers, and coach Ken Hitchcock had little patience to allow him to blossom. In 2005, Sharp and a minor-leaguer were traded to Chicago for Matt Ellison and a third-round draft pick in 2006, and it will go down as one of the worst trades in franchise history.

Sharp has developed into one of the league's most dependable scorers - he finished ninth in the NHL with 34 goals this season - and has helped the Blackhawks win two Cups.

Best pick: Sharp, 95th overall, in 2001.

Fourth Round

This has not been one of the better rounds in Flyers history, and they are hopeful that recent draft picks Tye McGinn (2010), and/or Taylor Leier (2012) will give them a fourth-rounder who contributes something.

They did get a few less- than-spectacular seasons from goalie Rick St. Croix, chosen in the fourth round in 1975.

Al MacAdam, selected in the fourth round in 1972, played just five games with the Flyers before having some excellent seasons with the California Golden Seals (32 goals in 1975-76) and Minnesota North Stars. He had four seasons of 20-plus goals with the North Stars, including 42 goals in 1979-80.

Best pick: MacAdam, 55th overall in 1972.

Fifth Round

Defenseman Tomas Eriksson, drafted in the fifth round of 1979, had two eye-opening seasons in the 1980s - combining for 21 goals and a plus-52 rating - before returning to Sweden.

The fifth-rounder who made the most impact, however, was enforcer Dave Schultz, whose brawling style gave the Flyers their Broad Street Bullies identity in the 1970s. As a fourth-line left winger, Schultz also contributed 51 goals over a four-year span.

Best pick: Schultz, 52d overall in 1969.

Sixth Round

The Flyers have had lots of success in this round, drafting such players as Paul Holmgren in 1975, Hextall in 1982, Rick Tocchet in 1983, Roman Cechmanek in 2000, Seidenberg in 2001, and Patrick Maroon in 2007.

Tocchet finished with 440 career goals in 18 seasons with six teams. During a torrid four-year stretch with the Flyers, he produced 153 goals

Best pick: Tocchet, 121st overall in 1983.

Seventh Round

Dave Brown, who was drafted in 1982 and played across 14 seasons in the NHL, and Todd Fedoruk were enforcers drafted by the Flyers in the seventh round. Fedoruk, selected in 1997, played nine years in the NHL, including four with the Flyers.

Known as one of the NHL's best fighters, Brown, had 186 bouts in his career. He played in 11 seasons with the Flyers, and he won a Stanley Cup with Edmonton in 1990.

Brown was the best seventh-rounder the Flyers drafted who played for them, but goalie Reggie Lemelin was probably their top pick in that round. Lemelin never played for the Flyers, but had a solid 15-year career with Atlanta, Calgary and Boston.

Best pick: Lemelin, 125th overall in 1974.

Eighth Round

It's not a common occurrence to select a goalie in the eighth round and have him make four all-star appearances and win the Vezina as the league's best goaltender.

That's what happened with the Flyers and Pete Peeters. Two of the all-star appearances were with the Flyers, the other two - and the Vezina - were with Boston.

Peeters played 13 seasons with the Flyers, Bruins and Washington.

Center Pelle Eklund, who had nine mostly productive years with the Flyers after being drafted in 1983, was also a steal as an eighth-round selection.

Best pick: Peeters, 135th overall in 1977.

Epilogue

Six of the eight best picks, by round, were from 1969 to 1977, and only one was after 1983.


scarchidi@phillynews.com

@BroadStBull

comments powered by Disqus
|
|
|
|
|