With the Flyers’ season over, it’s time to move forward to another busy NHL draft season, and what shapes up to be the most important offseason of Ron Hextall’s tenure as GM.
The Flyers have nine picks in June’s draft, including two first-rounders — No. 14 (from the Blues) and No. 19. Three of the nine picks have been acquired by Hextall via trades.
Not including the previous two drafts, there have been seven players at No. 19 who never played in the league, but there have been significant hits. Let’s take a look at some hits and misses before we do the same for the 14th selection another day.
1990: Keith Tkachuk, LW, Jets
Tkachuk may not be in the Hockey Hall of Fame, but there indeed is a case for him. Over his 20-year career, he scored 538 goals, 527 assists and 1065 points in 1,201 games. He’s a five-time All-Star and an Olympian. He’s in the USA Hockey Hall of Fame. In 1996-97, he became the first American-born player to lead the league in goals with 52.
2003: Ryan Getzlaf, C, Ducks
Getzlaf is still playing and producing — 61 points in 56 games in 2017-18 — and is a product of the heralded 2003 draft, perhaps one of the deepest ever. He’s a three-time All-Star, a Stanley Cup champion and has 628 assists and 875 points in 917 career games.
1998: Robyn Regehr, D, Avalanche
Regehr enjoyed a steady career over 15 seasons. He went to Calgary as part of the Theo Fleury trade in 1999 and spent 11 of his 15 years with the Flames. Regehr won a Cup with L.A. in 2014.
1989: Olaf Kolzig, G, Capitals
Kolzig had quite the NHL career. He was a two-time All-Star, the 2000 Vezina Trophy winner and holds most of Washington’s goalie records: wins (301), games played (711), shutouts (35).
2012: Andrei Vasilevskiy, G, Lightning
Could argue it’s too early to include Vasilevskiy, but the Russian backstopped the Lightning to the best record in the East during his first full season as the starter.
2000: Krys Kolanos, C, Coyotes
Kolanos' career was hampered by a severe concussion he suffered in 2002, his rookie season. Sill, he bounced around between four NHL teams and spent a season with the Phantoms. The former Boston College standout had just 20 goals and 42 points in 149 games.
2007: Logan MacMillan, C, Ducks
MacMillan, the son of former NHLer Bob MacMillan, lasted 30 games in the Ducks’ system before they traded him away. He never played in the NHL. Wasn’t a huge scorer in junior. The Ducks drafted him over the likes of Max Pacioretty (22), Mikael Backlund (24), David Perron (26) and P.K. Subban (43).
Two years ago, the Flyers held the 18th pick in the draft. They traded back a few spots to draft German Rubtsov and acquire more picks. The 19th pick has produced some high-end players and plenty of useful role players. There have been busts too but that’s true with any spot.
It’s unfair to expect a 19th pick to have a franchise-changing impact. If it happens, great. But ideally, you want to look for a valuable middle-sixer or second-pair defenseman with potential. If the Flyers stay pat with both first-rounders, it wouldn’t be a shock to see a move down.