For many years under the leadership of Bobby Clarke and Paul Holmgren, the organization often traded draft picks to get what they wanted for the main roster for the here and now. Even though many picks were traded, some were kept and used by the Flyers with varying degrees of success. Obviously not every draft pick will be a success, but there have been plenty of notable misses in the history of the franchise.
Number 5- Kevin Marshall (41st overall in 2007)
The 2007 draft wasn’t exactly great for the Flyers. After missing out on Patrick Kane, they would further strike out in the second round taking defenseman Kevin Marshall 41st overall. Marshall saw a vast majority of his three seasons within the organization with the Phantoms, though he did suit up for 10 games for the Flyers in 2011. After three seasons of lackluster disappointment he was dealt to the Washington Capitals in February 2012 for career AHLer Matt Ford. Doesn’t help that PK Subban was drafted just two picks after Marshall.
Number 4- Samuel Morin 11th overall in 2013)
Yes, this physically pained me to write. With his stock rising as the 2013 draft approached, comparisons to Chris Pronger began to arise, and that was really where thing started to go wrong. A victim of Ron Hextall’s overly-patient approach to prospects, Morin found himself in the AHL for the first two-and-a-half seasons of his professional career, with only one NHL game mixed in. After a hip injury derailed his 2017-18 season, a torn ACL in the playoffs saw him miss almost the entire 2018-19 season. Making a triumphant return under new coach Alain Vigneault, he, once again, found himself as the odd man out on the blueline, eventually getting sent to the Phantoms on a conditioning stint where he would tear his ACL for a second time. Now seven years on from his draft, the light on Morin’s once promising potential is flickering out.
Number 3- Andreas Nodl (39th overall in 2006)
Expectations for Nodl were high after he lead his college 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, highlighted by a 22-point campaign in 2010-11, he was waived and picked up by the Carolina Hurricanes. Nodl 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 for to be a high-scoring winger for the Flyers, but it just wasn’t meant to be.
Number 2- Ryan Sittler (7th overall in 1992)
The son of Hockey Hall of Famer Darryl Sittler, Ryan had hefty expectations and was drafted seventh overall in 1992 by the Flyers, hoping to cash in on the bloodline. Leaving Michigan State after his sophomore year to turn pro, he was assigned to AHL Hersey, where he struggled to acclimate. A series of brutal knee injuries held him back from ever reaching his potential. Sittler split time between multiple AHL and ECHL teams before retiring in 1999, never suiting up for an NHL game, making him only the second Flyers first round pick in history to that point to never make the NHL.
Number 1- Luke Schenn (acquired via trade)
Originally taken fifth overall by Toronto in 2008, he came to Philly in a blockbuster trade that sent James Van Riemsdyk to the Leafs in June of 2012. After a mixed bag of an early career with the Leafs, the Flyers were hoping he would catch fire in a new town with his brother, Brayden, in tow. Schenn was expected to alleviate the pressure of losing Chris Pronger and be the top right-handed defenseman. The team was starting their downward spiral in 2012-13 and, even though he had some bright spots, Luke Schenn was overall ineffective. He was dealt to the LA Kings in early 2016 after three-and-a-half seasons of mediocrity.
Steve Downie (29th overall in 2005)
Steve 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 PIM, he certainly did nothing to move the Flyers forward. The fact that he was in the NHL for a decade is mind boggling. He was a prototypical Flyer, especially in 2005, but he was most certainly a bust.
Pascal Laberge (36th overall in 2016)
It may be too early to break out the “bust” term for Laberge, but his lack of major improvement is starting to be concerning. A typical “Hextall pick” Laberge has been touted for his two-way play. He has struggled to get his game back on track after a series of concussions wrecked his junior career after he was drafted. Failing to stick with the Phantoms during the 2019-20 season, he has seen more time with the Royals of the ECHL. There are still flashes of potential there, but for an early second round pick, it just isn’t good enough.
Maxime Ouellet (22nd overall in 1999)
Taking a goaltender in the first round is always a risky move. After a solid junior career with the Quebec Remparts, and later the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, as well as two bronze medals at the World Juniors, many were of the opinion he could make a jump to the NHL. Well, that didn’t really happen. Spending 43 games in the AHL, and two with the Flyers in 2001-02, Oullet was traded to the Capitals as part of the disastrous Adam Oates deal. Oullet spend the majority of the rest of his career in the AHL, only seeing 10 NHL games for the Capitals and Canucks.
By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)
photo credit: nbcsports.com