As outsiders – not the ones who are responsible for making each selection – it’s easy for any of us to look back on a draft and go, “what were they thinking?!”
It’s unfair, but hindsight makes for good commentary years down the road, and when it comes to professional sports teams, that hindsight can really lend itself to some OMG moments.
The NHL Draft is fast approaching – June 23rd is right around the corner – and the Philadelphia Flyers are proudly holding the No. 2 pick in the draft. It’s going to be near impossible for them to make the wrong choice – it’s either Nolan Patrick or Nico Hischlier – and really, their selection will ultimately be made by the New Jersey Devils, who pick No. 1.
That being said, maybe five or 10 years down the road, we’ll go: “really, they didn’t pick that guy at No. 2!” Because if history has shown anything, it’s that mistakes happen, and they often lie in the player that wasn’t chosen than the one that was.
Here’s a look at some of the biggest misses over the past 20 years by the Flyers:
(Note: Only focusing on first three rounds and to classify a “miss,” the player had to be taken within the next five picks)
2012: Flyers select Scott Laughton (Round 1, 20) / Penguins select Olli Maata (Round 1, 22)
The book is still open on Laughton, but the thought of him being a top six forward has gone by the wayside. He’s posted 27 points over 109 games, having spent last season in Lehigh Valley.
Now is Maata a world-class defenseman, no, but he’s also a much more proven player in the 220 career games (64 points) he’s played. He’s currently working on the second pairing for the potentially soon-to-be back-to-back Stanley Cup champion, Pittsburgh Penguins.
2013: Flyers select Tyrell Goulbourne (Round 3, 72) / Penguins select Jake Guentzel (Round 3, 77)
Those darn Penguins, again. Goulbourne fell victim to a numbers game in Lehigh Valley, having to spend this past year mostly at the ECHL level in Reading. That’s less than desirable for someone taken the third round.
Making matters worse is seeing Guentzel breaking records this postseason, sitting with the second most goals (12) by a rookie in a single postseason all while becoming the first American rookie to record 19 points in a single playoff. That sure would look nice in the orange and black next to Claude Giroux and Jake Voracek.
2007: Flyers select Kevin Marshall (Round 2, 41) / Canadians select P.K. Subban (Round 2, 43)
Fun fact: Marshall played in 10 career games. Subban, meanwhile, is over 500 games and one of the best at his position.
The sad part about this, too, is that the Flyers knew they needed a defenseman… they just picked the wrong one. Subban was the next defenseman to go off the board after the Flyers pick.
Imagine Subban leading a blue line of Ivan Provorov, Shayne Gostisbehere, Travis Sanheim, Sam Morin, Phil Myers and Robert Hagg. Oh, boy.
1999: Flyers select Maxime Ouellet (Round 1, 22) / Senators select Martin Havlat (Round 1, 26)
Ouellet went 2-6 in his career. That’s it.
Havlat tallied 790 games and 594 points over that span.
The Flyers did go on to pick a right winger in that draft – Vaclav Pletka at No. 208. Three picks later, the Red Wings came in and scooped up some winger named Henrik Zetterberg (904 points in 1000 games).
1998: Flyers select Jason Beckett (Round 2, 42) / Senators select Mike Fisher (Round 2, 44) / Canadians select Mike Ribeiro (Round 2, 45)
Beckett played ZERO games in the NHL. Fisher and Ribeiro both have logged 1,000-plus games and over 1,300 combined points.