1. The 2017 NHL Draft has always been a hot topic among Flyers fans and the team’s No. 2 pick overall. But the second round is worth more wondering.
Reviewers point to that draft and complain that the Philadelphia Flyers took Nolan Patrick second overall. However, most of the top scouts across the league placed him in first or second place.
A lot of people are complaining that the Flyers didn’t pick defenseman Cal McCarr (he went to Colorado fourth overall), who appears to be Bobby Orr’s second coming. Or they passed Miro Heiskanen, the standout defenseman who went to Dallas for third.
But, then again, it’s hard to blame the Flyers because scouts universally loved Patrick, and you can’t anticipate all the head injuries/concussions that plagued him in his NHL career.
But the real offense was in the second round, where General Manager Ron Heckstall and his staff took left winger Isaac Ratcliffe for 35th overall — four picks before Dallas grabbed left winger Jason Robertson. In fact, Hextall traded nine spots with Arizona and gave up the second, third, and fourth rounds to get Ratcliffe.
Ratcliffe only played 10 NHL games in his career, and now he’s struggling in the AHL. This year, he cleared waivers before going to the Phantoms.
A powerful forward, Robertson has 16 goals and 31 points in 20 games this season with Dallas. He had 41 goals last season, which is just the kind of ultimate scorer and elite performance the Flyers lack.
2. It became clear that it would be impossible to evaluate the jobs that the Flyers and their coaching staff have done this season.
The reason, of course, is injuries. Lots of injuries. Most of them are for key players, including their entire top line and their best defender.
How do you rate players and coaches fairly when almost everyone else is playing on a higher line than usual? Third line first line (hello, Morgan Frost), some players on special teams were only promoted because of injuries, players who should be in the AHL are with the senior team.
The good news is that many players are gaining experience they otherwise wouldn’t have, and the Flyers are discovering who they want – or don’t want – as part of their future.
3. Scott Lawton, James Van Riemsdyk, and Travis Konicney are supposed to return in two weeks. Is this good or bad for pilots?
Good: The Flyers, who lost eight straight Friday games against the visiting Pittsburgh, will be more competitive.
Bad: Philly gains ground in their test position due to their slipping, but the return of these three forwards — plus Sean Couturier in January or February — will likely put the Flyers out of Conor Bedard.
But remember, this is a very deep draft, filled with generational players and future all-stars. So even if, say, the Philadelphia Flyers finished fifth in the draft lottery, they’d have a great shot at,
The future will look better if, as in the last draft, they make a smart Top 5 selection — or wherever they choose. GM’s Chuck Fletcher drafted a winner when Cutter Gauthier finished fifth overall in the 2022 draft. Don’t be surprised if Gauthier, who got off to a great start at Boston College, is the Flyers’ third overall next season.
For fliers, the 8 greats make them bad 8