Flyers mining for gold with 18th pick in NHL draft

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By the time the Flyers are on clock with the 18th pick on Friday at the NHL entry draft in Buffalo, New York, all of the projected stars will be long gone. Unlike last year when at No. 7 they took defenseman Ivan Provorov, who is their top-rated prospect and has a shot at making the team this fall, the lot of talent remaining will not have as high of a ceiling.

However, it doesn’t disqualify the team from grabbing a future All-Star. As their own history has proven, a handful of gems are still available in the latter half of the first round. The Flyers have struck gold with players drafted at either the No. 18 slot or lower.

Check out some of the team’s best finds below:

Claude Giroux

The Flyers went with the small but gifted center with the 22nd pick in 2006. They were rewarded with a four-time All-Star, future captain and the current face of the franchise.

Simon Gagne

Outside of top pick Vinny Lecavalier in 1998, no one else picked in the first round enjoyed a more successful career than Gagne, who went at No. 22 and had seven seasons of at least 20 goals, including a pair of 40-goal seasons.

Mike Richards

Many fans probably don’t remember that Jeff Carter was drafted higher than Richards in 2003. Stocked with two picks in the first round, the Flyers tabbed Carter at No. 11 and Richards, who was named captain and also helped lead the Flyers to the Stanley Cup finals in 2010, at No. 24.

Justin Williams

The Flyers had to wait until the 28th pick in 2000 but made the most of it by going with Williams. Although he only spent four years with the team, Williams has gone on to carve out a sterling career that includes two Cups with the Kings and one with the Hurricanes.

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