Flyers

A historical look at what Flyers could get with 14th overall draft pick

ap_nhldraft.jpg
AP Images

A historical look at what Flyers could get with 14th overall draft pick

On Wednesday, we looked at the history of the 19th overall pick, one of two first-rounders the Flyers own in June’s NHL draft. The 19th pick is their own. They also have the Blues’ pick at 14.

The 14th pick teeters at the end of the lottery. Let’s take a look at some previous hits and misses at 14 before we move onto specifics of this year’s draft.

Hits

1979: Brian Propp, LW, Flyers
Flyers fans know Propp all too well. He was inducted into the Flyers Hall of Fame in 1999 and holds several Flyers franchise records that still stand. The five-time All-Star finished his 15-year career with 1,004 points. He had 849 points in 790 games over 11 years with the Flyers.

1992: Sergei Gonchar, D, Capitals
Gonchar had a long career before finally being awarded a Stanley Cup as a player in 2009 with the Penguins. He later won two more as a development coach with Pittsburgh. A five-time All-Star, Gonchar collected 220 goals and 811 points in 1,301 career games with six teams.

1973: Rick Middleton, RW, Rangers
Drafted by the Rangers, Middleton made his noise with the Bruins. Middleton had 448 goals and 988 points in 1,005 career games and had seven straight seasons with 30 or more goals. He holds the NHL record for the most points in a single playoff series (19).

2016: Charlie McAvoy, D, Bruins
McAvoy was the 14th overall pick just two years ago but already has established himself with Boston. McAvoy is a smooth-skating, puck-moving, right-handed defenseman. McAvoy missed out on being a Calder Trophy finalist this year. He had seven goals and 32 points in 63 games.

Misses

2008: Zach Boychuk, C, Hurricanes
Boychuk probably follows you on Twitter because his NHL career never panned out. He had just 30 points in 127 NHL games, bouncing around quite often. He last played in the KHL in 2016-17.

2009: Dmitry Kulikov, D, Panthers
Kulikov is currently with the Jets, who are four wins away from reaching the Stanley Cup Final, but the defenseman never reached his potential with the Panthers. Florida traded Kulikov to the Sabres in June 2016 and after one season in Buffalo, he opted for free agency. He had 11 points in 62 games this season with Winnipeg and has yet to play in the postseason.

2012: Zemgus Girgensons, C, Sabres
The Sabres traded a first- and second-round pick to move up seven spots to draft Girgensons in 2012. In five seasons, Girgensons hasn’t panned out. He’s had seven goals in each of the past three seasons. Last year, he finished with 15 points in 71 games. Not exactly the production you want from a player you move up seven selections to take.

Analysis
The history of the 14th pick has a solid return rate and has produced some impactful players. If the Flyers keep this pick, they should come away with a strong prospect here.

But with two first-rounders, Flyers general manager Ron Hextall might want to use his ammo to move up into the top-10 (see story). Two picks in the teens would add to an already stacked system. That's a decision Hextall is going to have to weigh.

Blackhawks expect Joel Quenneville to coach next season

Blackhawks expect Joel Quenneville to coach next season

It won’t be long before Joel Quenneville is trending on Twitter, and not just in Philadelphia.

Hockey Hall of Famer Chris Chelios was in Chicago for Thursday night’s Flyers-Blackhawks game, but it was his appearance earlier in the week on WGN Morning News where he opened up about the 60-year-old head coach.

Chelios is hoping the Maple Leafs get bounced in the first round of the playoffs, and with that, the organization elects to part ways with Mike Babcock, currently the league’s highest-paid coach after signing an eight-year, $50 million contract in the summer of 2015. 

Chelios and others in Chicago see growing tension between Babcock and the Leafs organization, and the former Blackhawks defenseman prefers to see Quenneville land in Toronto or with the future expansion team in Seattle that doesn’t start play until the 2021-22 season.

Unquestionably, Babcock’s style can wear on players, and with the probability of facing the Boston Bruins again in the first round, Babcock and the Leafs are looking at the possibility of another first-round exit. 

As for Quenneville, even his former players believe the three-time Stanley Cup-winning coach is ready to jump at another chance, whether that’s in Philadelphia or somewhere else.

“It would be pretty weird if he’s coaching somewhere else next season and not with the Blackhawks,” Patrick Kane said. “I think we all know that Joel has a big passion for hockey and a fire and a desire to win. I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s coaching somewhere else next season.”

“I would be surprised if he’s not coaching,” Duncan Keith. “He never really changed [this season]. I think it’s just that competitive nature inside him. That’s what made him a great coach. The competition of winning games. There’s never anybody who loves winning more than him.”

Even Quenneville recently admitted during his first television interview since his firing, “There’s an appetite to get back into the game.” Quenneville spoke to Chicago’s WGN-TV on St. Patrick’s Day and said that he’s in “no hurry right now” to accept a head coaching position while also adding, “We’ll see how things transpire in the offseason. We’ll have to think about it, and we’ll see.”

Several Blackhawks insiders believe Quenneville’s relationship with the general manager and input regarding personnel decisions will go a long way toward determining where he eventually coaches again, pointing to the trades of defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson and forward Artemi Panarin, which created organizational strife the past few years in Chicago, and eventually led to Quenneville’s firing in early November.

There could be as many as nine teams looking for a permanent head coach heading into the 2019-20 season.

Quenneville admitted he still watches a lot of NHL games, but not as many Blackhawks games.

Perhaps he’s evaluating what he sees on the ice and which organization might be a good fit.

When it comes to the Flyers, there’s a lot to like.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Flyers

NHL playoff picture: Flyers still knocking on the door

NHL playoff picture: Flyers still knocking on the door

The Flyers aren’t riding on the rims just yet. They pumped a little air in their tires Thursday night after completing a season sweep of the Chicago Blackhawks.

Despite earning two points, the Flyers actually gained a point on the second wild-card team as the Canadiens leapfrogged the Columbus Blue Jackets, who have lost three straight games.

Wild-card standings

Carolina: 40-26-7, 87 pts, 9 GR
Montreal: 39-28-7, 85 pts, 8 GR
———
Columbus: 40-30-4, 84 pts, 8 GR
Philadelphia: 35-29-8, 80 pts, 8 GR

Thursday’s games

PHI: W 3-1 at Chicago
CAR: L 6-3 vs. Tampa Bay
MTL: W 4-0 vs. NY Islanders
CBJ: L 4-1 at Edmonton

• James van Riemsdyk continued his red-hot play with the go-ahead goal midway through the third period to lift the Flyers over the Blackhawks. Van Riemsdyk is tied with Edmonton’s Leon Draisaitl with the most goals (20) in the NHL since Jan. 7. It was also his fourth game-winner over that span.

• The storm surge in Carolina was the Lightning’s high-powered offense as Tampa Bay scored four unanswered third-period goals. Forward Nikita Kucherov became the first player since Pittsburgh’s Sidney Crosby in 2006-07 to top 120 points in a single season.

• Goaltender Carey Price stopped all 28 Islanders shots for his 44th career shutout while former Flyer Jordan Weal added a goal and an assist as the Canadiens blanked the Islanders. Montreal now sits in the playoff driver’s seat.

• The Oilers broke open a 1-1 game in the third period with three unanswered goals as the NHL’s hottest player, Draisaitl, continued his torrid pace with his 300th career point, adding three assists.

What are the odds?

According to Sports Club Stats, the Flyers saw a slight climb in their playoff percentage up to 1.6 percent. The closer they inch to Montreal, the greater that number will jump as the Canadiens moved up 20 percentage points after overtaking Columbus in the standings.

The website Money Puck has the Flyers' odds at 1.7 percent.

What lies ahead?

The Flyers have the first of two weekend back-to-backs as they host the New York Islanders Saturday afternoon, looking to beat the Isles for the third time this month, with another meeting against the Washington Capitals Sunday afternoon in D.C.

The Canadiens have a back-to-back as well, hosting the Sabres Saturday with a game at Carolina on Sunday.

On the verge of being swept, the Blue Jackets can’t wait to wrap up their Western Canadian road swing with two full days off between games.

Strength of schedule

According to PlayoffStatus.com, with eight games remaining, the Flyers' schedule isn’t nearly as grinding. The Flyers now have the 13th-toughest schedule but will play five games over the final nine days in March.

Blue Jackets: 9th
Canadiens: 10th
Hurricanes: 21st

Interestingly, the Flyers can pull within a tie of the Blue Jackets with a weekend sweep of the Islanders and Capitals before the Jackets' next game in Vancouver Sunday night.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.