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Carchidi: Flyers’ Draft History Says Impact Player Will Be There at 12



Brian Propp
Brian Propp, who finished with 425 career goals, wasn't drafted until 14th overall in 1979. He is considered a borderline Hall of Famer. Photo: AP.

History says an impact player will be available when the Philadelphia Flyers make the 12th overall selection in the first round next month.

But will they make the right pick?

This is a critical draft in the rebuild. The Flyers don’t have a lot of can’t-miss players in their farm system. Uncovering a gem would speed up the process.

The Flyers have never had the 12th overall pick in the franchise’s history. That will change on June 28 in Las Vegas.

This week’s (boring) 2024 NHL Draft Lottery assured the Flyers will pick No. 12; they also will have Florida’s first-round selection, which won’t be decided until the Panthers’ playoff run ends or they win the Stanley Cup. The pick figures to be in the high 20s or later.

No. 12 picks who became stars

So who are some of the players who were selected at No. 12 and turned into stars?

Hall of Fame winger Marian Hossa, three-time All-Star winger Gary Roberts (438 career goals), and defenseman Ryan McDonagh, a two-time Stanley Cup champion, are probably the best players who were chosen at No. 12.

More recently, Minnesota top-line winger Matthew Boldy and second-line Florida center Anton Lundell,  have turned into productive players after being picked No. 12 overall. Boldy was chosen in 2019, Lundell was picked in 2020.

Boldy has scored 31 and 29 goals, respectively, in the last two seasons. Lundell has averaged about 15 goals in his first three seasons,

We should also note that Steve Eminger, who had a cup of (bad) coffee in Philly, and A.J. Thelen, a defenseman who never made it past the AHL,  were among the flops at No. 12.

If you are looking for optimism, consider that some of the top players drafted by the Flyers came later than No. 12. The list includes Travis Konecny (drafted 24th in 2015), Claude Giroux (22nd in in 2006), Mike Richards (24th in 2003), Patrick Sharp (95th in 2001), Justin Williams (28th in 2000), Simon Gagne (22nd in 1998), Dainius Zubrus (15th in 1996), and Peter Zezel (41st in 1983).

Oh, and Brian Propp (14th in 1979) and Bobby Clarke (17th in 1969).

Propp finished with 425 goals and is a borderline Hall of Famer. Clarke (358 goals, 1,210 points), who slipped in the draft because teams were scared by his diabetes,  is a Hall of Famer and Philadelphia Flyers royalty. He is regarded as one of the most relentless players in NHL history.

Sniper needed

The Flyers don’t have to find another superstar like Clarke at No. 12, but it would be great if they could uncover a goal-scoring machine like Jeff Carter, a lanky center they drafted 11th overall in 2003. Carter, who recently retired, finished with 442 career goals, including 46 with the Flyers in 2008-09.

Assuming they don’t make a trade to move up in the draft, the intriguing players who could be available at No. 12 include center Tij Iginla  (Western Hockey League), left winger Cole Eiserman (USHL), center Konsta Helenius (Finland, Liiga), center Berkly Catton (WHL), defenseman Carter Yakemchuk (WHL), right winger Beckett Sennecke (OHL), and center Michael Hage (USHL).

Out of that group, I like Iginla, but it would be surprising if he isn’t nabbed by Calgary at No. 9. Iginla’s dad, Jarome (625 goals), had a Hall of Fame career with the Flames, so it would be fitting if Calgary selected him.

There is also a possibility that the Flyers package their two first-round picks and move up in the draft.

That would be tempting, but the Flyers would be better off keeping both first-round selections. They need much more quality depth in their farm system, so keeping both picks seems like the smart thing to do.

Sam Carchidi writes a weekly column for Philly Hockey Now. He and Jeff Hare are working on a TV series on the Flyers’ glory days, tentatively called “Bullies.” Carchidi can be reached at

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