NHL Draft Preview: Recent Results at 14th and 19th Overall
In one week, the Flyers will make their selections in the first round of the NHL Draft. For now, the Flyers have the 14th and 19th overall picks in the first round, but everything is subject to change with the potential for draft day trades and movement.
Assuming the Flyers hold onto both picks, the team has a great chance to build their prospect pool even more. It is reportedly a deep draft, and recent history suggests that good prospects and potential future NHL stars can be had in the middle of the first round.
Let’s start with the 14th overall pick, a selection the Flyers have had previously three times. Most notably, the Flyers used the 14th overall pick in 1979 to select one of their best scoring wingers in franchise history, Brian Propp, who finished his NHL career with 425 goals and 1,004 points.
In recent years, budding young stars have emerged from the 14th overall selection.
The Boston Bruins have two such players. They selected 14th overall in 2015 and picked forward Jake DeBrusk, who scored 16 goals and had 43 points in his rookie season in 2017-18, as well as six goals and eight points in the playoffs. Charlie McAvoy was the Bruins selection at 14th overall in 2016. McAvoy only played in 63 games in his rookie season in 2017-18, but scored seven goals and had 32 points while holding the responsibility of playing a significant defensive role and doing it well.
Other notable picks from 14th overall that are still active in the league are Columbus forward Alexander Wennberg, who was selected in 2013, St. Louis forward Jaden Schwartz in 2010, New York Rangers defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk in 2007, soon to be free-agent forward Michael Grabner in 2006, Minnesota goalie Devan Dubnyk in 2004 and Chicago defenseman Brent Seabrook in 2003.
The 14th overall pick can be a fine line between a depth player and a potential star depending on the overall view of the draft and the potential it carries. In DeBrusk’s draft year in 2015, the Flyers had two first-round picks and selected Ivan Provorov at seventh overall and Travis Konecny at 24th overall. That was also regarded as a draft deep with talent and potential.
Now let’s move to the Flyers second slot in the first round at 19th overall. This is typically a spot where teams are hoping to find a motivated player or to grab somebody who may have slipped from a potential Top 10 or Top 15 spot.
The Flyers held the 19th selection once prior, selecting defenseman Luca Sbisa in 2008. Sbisa’s time with the Flyers was short-lived -- he played just 39 games with the Orange and Black -- and the defenseman became known for his many travels around the league. The Flyers traded him to Anaheim in the deal that brought Chris Pronger to Philadelphia. He played five seasons in Anaheim before spending the next three seasons with the Vancouver Canucks. He played the 2017-18 season with the Vegas Golden Knights after being selected in the Expansion Draft.
From recent years, the biggest standout selected with the 19th overall pick is more of a rarity. The Tampa Bay Lightning selected Andrei Vasilevskiy at 19th overall in 2012, landing an elite-caliber goalie.
Other recent selections at the 19th overall pick include Anthony DeAngelo in 2014, Evgeny Svechnikov in 2015, Kieffer Bellows in 2016 and Josh Norris in 2017. For each, it is too soon to truly analyze the picks as their development progresses.
Prior to that, the Edmonton Oilers selected Oscar Klefbom with the 19th pick in 2011. Nick Bjugstad was selected by the Florida Panthers in 2010. Chris Kreider was the Rangers selection at 19th overall in 2009.
Perhaps the two biggest names in history taken at 19th overall are Ryan Getzlaf and Keith Tkachuk. Getzlaf was selected by the Ducks in 2003. Tkachuk was taken in 1990 and went on to a Hall-of-Fame career.
With such a talented draft class waiting, the Flyers could make a big splash again on draft night and add two more promising prospects to the pipeline. It has been a speciality for Ron Hextall in recent years and with a solid class available, this year’s draft shouldn’t be any different, especially with the Flyers holding two first-round selections.
Next week, we'll go into some potential targets and top prospects at each position ahead of the NHL Draft next weekend.
Kevin Durso is Flyers editor for SportsTalkPhilly.com. Follow him on Twitter @Kevin_Durso.