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. Out of the 128 players selected since the turn of the millennium up until now, 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.
Number 5- Alex DeBrincat in 2016
The most recent entry on this list, the Flyers whiffed on one of the better young goal scorers in the league in 2016. Taken 39th overall, Alex DeBrincat had much hype surrounding him as a player to watch after the first round. Just three picks before DeBrincat was drafted, the Flyers selected forward Pascal Laberge. To be fair, Laberge had his career derailed by concussion issuses since his junior career, but he has failed to even lock down a roster spot with the Phantoms, often finding himself with ECHL Reading. DeBrincat has racked up 173 points in 234 games in his fledgling career, meanwhile it looks like Laberge is likely going to be a bust. Also doesn’t help they took German Rubtsov late in the first round that year too.
Number 4- Marc-Edouard Vlasic in 2005
The Flyers selected Steve Downie 29th overall in 2005, while Vlasic was drafted 35th. 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. Vlasic made his debut in 2006-07, and was a mainstay in San Jose since. Just imagine someone like Vlasic on the Flyers blueline during the 2010 Cup run.
Number 3- Roman Josi in 2008
Most fans remember the 2008 draft as the year the Flyers traded away the pick the Capitals used to draft John Carlson late in the first round, but there was another top defenseman the Flyers missed out on as well. Josi was taken early in the second round, 38th overall, by the Nashville Predators, 19 picks previously, the Flyers took defenseman Luca Sbisa. Even though Sbisa showed some promise early in his career, and was later traded for Chris Pronger, maybe if the Flyers drafted a home-run defenseman like Josi, they would’ve shipped someone else off to Anaheim.
Number 2- Mark Stone in 2010
One of the better late-round picks in recent memory, Mark Stone was taken 178th overall in 2010. As a sixth round pick, the diamond in the rough theory applies here, but when the Flyers drafted Michael Parks at the end of the fifth round, little did they know that they failed to select Mark Stone, who was taken few picks later. Currently one of the best two-way players in the game, Stone has registered 385 points in 449 games. Ironically enough, the team to select 179th was also the Flyers, who took Nick Luukko, son of then team president of the Flyers Peter Luukko.
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. Even though his play has slipped in his 11th NHL season, this is a pick I’m sure the Flyers would like a do-over on.
Keith Yandle– If you’re a long-time Flyers fan, you know Keith Yandle’s name was on the forefront of the trade rumor mill for years. What if I tell you that they could’ve just drafted him? Taken 105th overall in 2005, the Flyers drafted Oskars Bartulis at 91. Bartulis was another prime example of a guy that was thrown onto the main stage long before he was ready and it hindered his development. Meanwhile, in Phoenix, Yandle was given time to develop in the AHL, making the All-Star team in 2007. He made his full time NHL debut in 2008 and was a top guy for the Coyotes, and later the Rangers and Panthers.
Jaccob Slavin- Maybe one of the most underrated defenseman in the NHL today, Jaccob Slavin was a product of the bare 2012 draft. Taken late in the fourth round at pick 120, Slavin was drafted just three picks after the Flyers selected forward Taylor Leier at 117. Leier was a long-time Phantom and even got his feet wet in the NHL, playing 55 games over three different seasons. Slavin made his debut in 2015, and has low-key grown into one of the bright stars on the blueline in the NHL, meanwhile Leier was dealt away in early 2019.
by: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)
photo credit: nhltraderumors.me