Trading draft picks is a fairly common practice throughout Flyers history. Whatever became of those picks they traded away? well the good news is very few actually developed into impact players at the NHL level, but there were a few star players that slipped through the Flyers fingers.
Number 5- Jason Zucker
Zucker had a breakout season in 2017-18, finishing with 33 goals and 64 points. Drafted by the Minnesota Wild 52nd overall in 2010, he could have been a Flyers pick. The Flyers originally traded the pick as part of a mind-boggling trade that sent Denis Gauthier and a 2010 2nd round pick (Zucker) for prospects Patrik Harsley and Ned Lukacevic. Harsley played 35 games with ECHL Reading and five with the Phantoms but never made the NHL. Lukacevic was traded three months later for Andrew Alberts and a 2009 fourth round pick (Lane MacDermid). Zucker is widely considered one of the fastest skaters in the game today, something the Flyers desperately lack. His career is on the rise and we probably haven’t seen the best Zucker has to offer.
Number 4- Ondrej Pavelec
Taken 41st overall by the Atlanta Thrashers in 2005, Pavelec became a staple in net for the Thrashers/Jets organiation for most of the past decade. In one of the more unknown flops in the Flyers trade history, the Flyers traded Rick Kozak and a 2005 2nd round pick (Pavelec) to the Rangers for defenseman Vladimir Malakhov at the 2004 trade deadline. Malakhov only played 23 games as a Flyer before singing as a free agent in New Jersey.
Number 3- Scott Hannan
One of the best shutdown defenseman during the 2000’s and known for his grit, Hannan would have fit in perfectly with the Flyers. Philly originally traded this pick to Hartford to acquire aging star defenseman Paul Coffey, who was 35 at the time. Hartford relocated to Carolina during the summer of 1997 and one of the first moves they made was trading down in the draft, as they trade the 23rd pick (Scott Hannan) to San Jose for the 28th pick (Brad DeFauw) and a 1998 third round pick (Erik Cole).
Number 2- John Carlson
Ah yes, the best thing that never was for Philadelphia. We all knew this was coming. Carlson was selected 27th overall by the Washington Capitals in 2008. The trade that sent that pick to the Caps has to be one of the worst trades in recent memory. The Flyers traded the 27th pick for journeyman Steve Eminger and a 3rd round pick (Jacob Deserres). Eminger played all of twelve games for the Flyers, recording two assists and eight penalty minutes. Deserres never played an NHL game, heck he never made it out of juniors. Easily one of the low points of the past decade, it’s better this trade just stay buried in the history books.
Number 1- Daniel Briere
That’s right, the eventual beloved Flyer was drafted with a Flyers pick by Arizona. Not only did the Flyers trade this pick, it was eventually dealt to Buffalo where Briere would spend four years of his career. The Flyers originally traded the pick to San Jose as part of the deal that brought Pat Falloon to Philly. San Jose later dealt the pick to the Sabres for Doug Bodger. The Sabres would trade the pick one final time to Winnipeg as part of a deal for Michal Grosek and Darryl Shannon. The Jets relocated to Arizona and picked Briere with the franchise’s first draft pick 24th overall.
Kyle Calder– Another player that eventually ended up in orange and black, Calder was drafted by the Blackhawks 130th overall in 1997. The Flyers traded the pick to Chicago along with Bob Wilkie in the deal that brought Karl Dykhuis to Philadelphia. The Flyers would later acquire Calder in a trade with the Blackhawks in 2006 after a contract dispute fractured his relationship with his long-time team. While Calder never quite broke out at the NHL level, he finished his career with a respectable 294 points in 590 career games.
Brandon Dubinsky– The Alaska native very well could have been a Flyer. Dubinsky is a player that can do a little of everything, score, work the PP/PK, hit, and is a master in the faceoff circle. He would have filled the elusive 3rd line center role nicely. Dubinsky was drafted in 2004, 60th overall by the New York Rangers. The Flyers traded the pick to the, at the time, Phoenix Coyotes in exchange for Tony Amonte. The Coyotes traded the pick to the Rangers to move up ten spots to pick 50th. Dubinsky had a solid career in NY before being a part of the Rick Nash trade that sent him to Columbus.
Tim Gleason– The 23rd pick of the Ottawa Senators in the 2001 NHL draft, Tim Gleason is a veteran of 727 NHL games in his twelve year career. The Flyers originally gave up the pick as compensation to Tampa Bay for group 2 free agent Chris Gratton. The Flyers then reacquired those picks in a trade that sent Mikael Renberg and Karl Dykhuis to the Lightning. The Flyers later traded the 23rd pick (Gleason) to move back in the draft to Ottawa for a 2001 27th overall (Jeff Woywitka), a 2001 7th (David Printz) and a 2002 2nd (Tobias Stephan) . Gleason debuted in 2003-04 season and he would have brought stability to a Flyers defense that was aging and injury prone during the season. Gleason never emerged as a superstar, but he was a solid player for most of his career.
By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)
photo credit: NHL.com