2020 NHL Draft Preview: History of the 23rd Overall Pick
The Flyers have the 23th overall pick in the NHL Draft on Tuesday night, and it marks the latest the Flyers have picked in the first round of the draft in over a decade.
Despite that, the 23rd pick can still produce some high-end talent.
The 23rd overall pick was not a fixture of the NHL Draft until 1968 following the first expansion. A pair of fourth-round picks and a third-round pick were selected with the 23rd overall pick during the Original Six years.
The Flyers have had the 23rd overall pick twice in franchise history, but never as a first-round selection. In 1972, the Flyers pick at 23rd overall came in the second round and was used to select defenseman Tom Bladon. In 1986, the selection also came in the second round and was used to select center Jukka Seppo.
There are a handful of other Flyers connections that were selected 23rd overall. Former Flyers forward Ben Eager was selected 23rd overall in 2002 and former Flyers defenseman Andrej Meszaros was the 23rd overall pick in 2004.
It’s too soon to tell how successful some of the recent picks at 23rd overall will be. In recent years, the 23rd overall pick has been used to select right win Simon Holmstrom (2019), center Isac Lundestrom (2018), defenseman Pierre-Olivier Joseph (2017) and center Henrik Borgstrom (2016).
It wasn’t until 1992 that the 23rd overall selection was part of the first round. Prior to that, the 23rd pick remained in the second round, and in the final three years being a second-round pick, the 23rd selection produced some good talent with center Travis Green being taken in 1989, defenseman Jiri Slegr in 1990 and winger Ray Whitney in 1991.
In 1992, the pick was used to select winger Grant Marshall. The following year in 1993, winger Todd Bertuzzi was selected 23rd overall. Defenseman Scott Hannah was the 23rd overall pick in 1997 and defenseman Tim Gleason was taken in 2001.
Some future All-Stars have been taken at 23rd overall as well. Center Ryan Kesler was the pick in 2003, goalie Semyon Varlamov was selected 23rd overall in 2006 and winger Brock Boeser was taken at 23 in 2015.
Other NHL mainstays taken in recent drafts at the 23rd overall pick include defenseman Mark Pysyk in 2010, defenseman Mike Matheson in 2012 and winger Andre Burakovsky in 2013.
Could another name be joining that list on Tuesday? Only time will tell, but the Flyers find themselves in a unique position at 23rd overall, in position to still get solid talent with their pick or to watch a potential high pick slip down to them in that spot.