Clarke: Flyers’ scouts wanted Makar over Patrick, Hextall wouldn’t listen
Bob Clarke verbally blasted former Flyers general manager Ron Hextall on Tuesday for selecting Nolan Patrick with the No. 2 overall selection in the 2017 draft and bypassing defenseman Cale Makar.
Patrick, 23, is now with Vegas, and his disappointing career has been filled with injuries. Makar, chosen by Colorado two picks after Patrick, has become one of the NHL’s best defensemen.
Makar, 23, has 31 points (15 goals, 16 assists) in 28 games this season for the Avs.
“You get the second pick in the draft and we end up drafting Nolan Patrick,” Clarke, a Flyers senior adviser, said Tuesday on the Cam and Stick podcast, which is done by former NHL enforcer Cam Janssen and reporter Andy Strickland. “None of our scouts wanted Nolan Patrick. I don’t know where Patrick should have gone. After his
performance in Brandon (of the Western Hockey League), he was a pretty good player. They wanted Makar. Of course he went next (actually, two picks later) and now he’s a superstar, and Patrick hasn’t played (much). But Hextall made that choice himself, and there were other choices that were made in our drafts that we’re paying for.
“We’ve got two or three first-round picks that are never going to play,” he added, perhaps referring to German Rubtsov and Jay O’Brien, though the latter has been productive this season at Boston University. “That’s why we’re struggling. Hexy made some huge mistakes.”
Hextall’s first round picks while he was with the Flyers: Travis Sanheim, Ivan Provorov, Travis Konecny, Rubtsov, Patrick, Frost, Farabee, and O’Brien. Many of those selections still have a chance to be high-quality players.
Hexy ambushed by Clarkie. https://t.co/6LurOLdKfN
— Sam Carchidi (@BroadStBull) January 11, 2022
Hextall, now the Pittsburgh general manager, texted Philly Hockey Now on Tuesday night and said he was “aware” of Clarke’s critical comments, “but (I) don’t want to respond at this time.”
Also in the podcast, Clarke was reminded that Hextall traded Brayden Schenn to the St. Louis Blues.
“That was just as bad,” Clarke said. “Nobody knew it. Hexy made that on his own. Our scouts were so mad at Hexy for doing that,.”
The Flyers may eventually win that trade because they received draft picks that turned into Farabee, who led the team with 20 goals last season and the promising Frost.
Clarke said Hextall also had a chance to get Ryan O’Reilly when he played for Buffalo but didn’t, “and that’s another one the scouts weren’t consulted on.”
After Hextall became the Flyers’ seventh general manager in franchise history in 2014, he “alienated everybody right away,” Clarke said. “He shut his door, he locked the door. He was the boss and nobody else was part of it. … He made himself bigger than the team.”
The full Cam & Strick Podcast: