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Best Draft Years in Flyers History

Flyers columnist Jay Greenberg looks at the most successful Flyers draft classes

Friday, 06.27.2014 / 8:26 AM ET / News
By Jay Greenberg  - philadelphiaflyers.com
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Best Draft Years in Flyers History

Bobby Clarke at pick No. 17 in 1969, in the NHL’s first universal amateur draft, was the Flyers’ all-time jackpot.

Twice they have plucked their best player for a generation at No. 22 in taking Simon Gagne in 1998 and Claude Giroux in 2006.

Brian Propp at No. 14 in 1979 worked out for 369 Flyers goals and three trips to the finals. Mike Richards at No. 24 keyed the Flyers to a final. And then there were the longshots – Paul Holmgren at 108, Ron Hextall at 119, Rick Tocchet at 125, Pete Peeters at 135 and Gordie Murphy at 189 -- that paid big.

The Flyers have made their share of smart and fortunate picks in the draft. And every once in a while, they have made many in the same year.

These are the best Flyer drafts in their history:

Since Montreal had picks numbers four, six and eight, Bill Barber hoped to go fifth to Buffalo or seventh to Philadelphia, building franchises that needed more immediate help.

He got his wish at No. 7, and the Flyers received the best left wing of his time, fortunate picking considering that of the first six choices in what was considered to be a loaded draft, only Steve Shutt joined Barber in the Hall of Fame.

In the second round, at No. 23, the Flyers picked Tom Bladon, a regular defenseman on both Cup teams; at No. 39 they chose Jimmy Watson, who was a five-time All Star; and at No. 55 they took Alan MacAdam, who scored 240 NHL goals after being traded for Reggie Leach.

“No idea why I lasted that long,” says Watson, who had a Western Canada League defenseman of the year trophy to recommend him, along with a big brother already playing for the Flyers. Bladon was another Westerner, in the territory of Jerry Melnyk, the scout who had been so insistent the Flyers not be intimidated by Bobby Clarke’s diabetes. MacAdam was one of the first players taken out of the Maritimes, reflective of some thinking ahead of its time.

There may never have been another team that went four-for-the-first four like this.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 52 39 9 4 171 117 82
2 FLA 54 32 16 6 150 122 70
3 NYR 54 31 18 5 153 135 67
4 DET 54 28 18 8 136 132 64
5 NYI 52 28 18 6 145 129 62
6 TBL 53 29 20 4 140 127 62
7 BOS 53 28 19 6 153 146 62
8 PIT 53 27 19 7 138 135 61
9 NJD 55 27 21 7 122 123 61
10 MTL 55 27 24 4 147 145 58
11 CAR 54 24 21 9 130 142 57
12 OTT 55 25 24 6 154 169 56
13 PHI 52 23 20 9 122 137 55
14 BUF 54 21 27 6 124 146 48
15 CBJ 55 21 28 6 137 170 48
16 TOR 52 19 24 9 120 144 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
C. Giroux 52 16 29 -8 45
J. Voracek 52 8 34 -3 42
W. Simmonds 52 19 16 -7 35
B. Schenn 50 14 15 -2 29
S. Gostisbehere 34 9 19 3 28
S. Couturier 40 9 15 9 24
M. Read 51 9 9 -5 18
S. Laughton 52 4 10 -7 14
M. Del Zotto 50 4 9 -10 13
M. Raffl 52 6 6 2 12
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
S. Mason 12 14 7 .915 2.70
M. Neuvirth 11 6 2 .933 2.14
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