1979: The best draft in NHL history


1979: The best draft in NHL history

Most NHL draft historians rank the 1979 draft as having the all-time best class in league history.

The ’79 draft, which lasted six rounds, had the benefit of being one which included teams being merged from the WHA into the NHL. Plus, the draft age was lowered from 20 to 18 that year, enriching the selection process by two years. The very first league draft had been in 1963 in Montreal.

The players selected in the first round included three future Hockey Hall of Famers -- Mike Gartner (fourth overall); Ray Bourque (eighth) and Michel Goulet (20th).

Eleven players would go on to play more than 1,000 NHL games. Seven would score 200 or more goals. Four would score 1,000 points. One would register 1,000 assists and 1,500 points: Bourque.

Every player selected in the first round played at least 235 NHL games.

Six of the 21 players selected in that first round would play for the Flyers at some point in their careers: Rob Ramage, who was the No. 1 overall pick by Colorado; Doug Sulliman (13th); Brian Propp (14th), the Flyers’ own pick that round, Brad McCrimmon (15th); Jay Wells (16th); and Ray Allison (18th).

That draft also included future Hall of Famer Mark Messier (third round); Pelle Lindbergh and Dale Hunter (both second round); and Guy Carboneau (third round), who would win three Stanley Cups in Montreal and Dallas; plus Glenn Anderson (fourth round).

Messier, Lowe and Anderson would be part of five Cup-winning teams with the Oilers.

Tim Kerr was draft eligible in 1979 but left untaken. The Flyers signed him as a free agent the following year. Kerr became a four-time 50-goal scorer.

From the standpoint of today’s “modern” NHL draft, most would say that the 2003 draft is the standard of elite measurement.

It’s also considered one of the deepest drafts for defensemen in modern times.

All 30 players selected in the first round played or are still playing in the NHL while 15 have logged more than 600 games.

The first round includes nine players who have won at least one Stanley Cup.

Some of the names that round: Marc-Andre Fleury, taken No. 1 overall, as well as Eric Staal, Nathan Horton, Ryan Suter, Braydon Coburn, Dion Phaneuf, Jeff Carter, Dustin Brown, Brent Seabrook, Zach Parise, Ryan Getzlaf, Ryan Kesler, Mike Richards and Corey Perry.

Taken in later rounds were Patrice Bergeron, Shea Weber, Joe Pavelski and Dustin Byfuglien.

Flyers at Senators: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

Flyers at Senators: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

After taking five out of a possible six points from three teams with a combined record of 34-12-12, Alain Vigneault's team has a matchup it can't overlook.

The Flyers (10-5-3) visit the Senators (7-10-1) Friday night to open their fifth back-to-back set of 17 this season.

Let's get into the essentials:

When: 7:30 p.m. ET with Flyers Pregame Live at 7 p.m. ET
Where: Canadian Tire Centre
Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Live stream: and the NBC Sports MyTeams app

• The Flyers are playing good hockey, riding a seven-game point streak (5-0-2) and an 8-2-2 stretch since Oct. 21. The Islanders will await them in Philadelphia for a big game Saturday night at the Wells Fargo Center. New York is on a 13-game point streak (12-0-1) and allowing the NHL's fewest goals per game at 2.29.

The showdown Saturday makes Friday a possible trap game for the Flyers against an Ottawa team that is tied for the second-fewest points in the NHL at 15.

With good leadership, I don't think that's going to be an issue. I look at all of our games lately, I look at the league, I look at the parity in the league, I look at the different teams that we've played and some that we haven't played — this is a tough league, every game is a tough battle. Six of our last seven have gone to overtime, quite a few have gone to shootouts.

Ottawa had just won a big game [Wednesday] against the Devils, they've been playing a lot better lately, so we're going to have to be ready, we're going to have to execute, we're going to have to defend. It's going to be another challenging game for us, there's no doubt in my mind.

I'm confident that our leaders are going to make sure that everybody is focused, everybody is ready come puck drop.

- Vigneault on Thursday

• The Senators are 4 for 62 (6.5 percent) on the power play. Eight NHL players have more man advantage goals on the season.

The Flyers' penalty kill is 29 for its last 31 (93.5 percent) and fifth in the league at 86.3 percent.

• In November, Carter Hart is 4-0-1 with a 1.72 goals-against average and .939 save percentage.

• James van Riemsdyk has 28 points (14 goals, 14 assists) in 35 lifetime matchups with Ottawa, matching his most points against any NHL opponent.

Projected lineup


Joel Farabee-Claude Giroux-Jakub Voracek
Oskar Lindblom-Sean Couturier-Travis Konecny
James van Riemsdyk-Kevin Hayes-Carsen Twarynski
Andy Andreoff-Michael Raffl-Tyler Pitlick


Ivan Provorov-Matt Niskanen
Shayne Gostisbehere-Justin Braun
Travis Sanheim-Philippe Myers


Carter Hart
Brian Elliott

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Joel Farabee: 'If I was the coach, I wouldn't have put me out there'

Joel Farabee: 'If I was the coach, I wouldn't have put me out there'

VOORHEES, N.J. — Flyers assistant coach Ian Laperriere had a joke for Joel Farabee to lighten the 19-year-old’s spirits following the rookie’s 12th NHL game.

“I think Lappy said I had more turnovers last night than I did in all the games before,” Farabee said with a slight smile Thursday.

By no means was Farabee OK with his performance during Wednesday night’s 2-1 shootout loss to the Capitals. He was quick to give the puck away three times instead of looking confident and comfortable with it on his stick, like the skilled winger typically does. 

Farabee expects much more of himself and so do the Flyers. It’s why the youngster fully understood losing his spot on the first line Wednesday and playing only 52 seconds from the third period to the final horn. Farabee finished with his lowest ice time of the season at 11:51. The game marked his first true setback as an NHL player.

"Obviously my play wasn't good enough,” Farabee said. “If I was the coach, I wouldn't have put me out there. I’ve got to be better, too many turnovers. I’ve got to eliminate those, play smarter. You can’t turn over the puck against the Caps, they’re a really good team.

“Just trying to do too much, trying to make the pretty play instead of just taking your medicine, maybe getting the puck deep. I think a lot of my turnovers were right in the neutral zone, so just trying to make too many plays there. I think I just have to simplify now, go back to the basics and go from there.”

With how Farabee works, no one seems too worried about his ability to respond. The Flyers plan to show confidence in him this weekend over a road-home back-to-back set against the Senators Friday (7:30 ET/NBCSP+) and Islanders Saturday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

“Lappy has already got five or six clips that he wants to show him,” Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault said Thursday. “Joel last night, for one of the few times, when he had the puck and he touched it, after he touched it, the other team had it. That’s not what we’ve seen from the young man. Sometimes guys are going to want to do well but have an off night. He had an off night last night but he’ll be right back at it [Friday] and I’m sure he’ll be real good for us.”

Farabee may have felt some pressure Wednesday night and it would be hard to fault the teenager if he did. He’s playing a game on national television against Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals. When Ovechkin scored 65 goals and 112 points in 2007-08, Farabee was 7 years old.

Farabee’s accountability is a positive and so too is the Flyers’ belief in him.

“You can’t have turnovers, it hurts the team when you turn over the puck,” Farabee said. “Honestly, I don’t think it’s the biggest deal for me. Just have to forget about it, refocus and focus on Ottawa now.

“Have to demand better for myself, have to help the team as much as I can. Refocus and get back at it.”

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