A long time ago - but sometime this season - I put together a spreadsheet of every player the Flyers drafted between 2004 and 2008. I took their career NHL numbers, unless they never played in the NHL. In which case, I compiled all their AHL numbers.
This arose out of some sort of AHL-depth player conversation. Not sure exactly. And to be honest, I'm not even sure what the data says. So I'll (half-heartedly) try to analyze it, while leaving you to decide for yourselves what it means.
Like I said, the data is not 100% accurate, but it was as of roughly Halloween. Deal with it.
As you can see, the Flyers are pretty good at drafting in the first round. They got 514 games played (out of a possible 1,148, assuming every player played 82 games a season immediately after they were drafted) out of their first round picks.
I really don't know if 188 games out of 35 non-first round picks is good or not. It certainly doesn't seem that way, but we don't really have anything to compare it to.
Here's the full spreadsheet:
|2007||1||2||James van Riemsdyk||109||22||28||50||8||42|
A few things: Players in italics show only their AHL numbers. Because of this, it isn't a complete study, since I didn't look at Bartulis or Giroux's AHL stats. I tried to keep it to "Were these guys NHL players or AHL players?" But to give the team more credit (or less, depending if you do per game stats), I included players who at least made it to the NHL, even if briefly.
Goalies only count for games played. Since Houle and Duchesne are pretty bad, I don't care.
Anyway, we'll break it down a bit by position:
In case you can't tell, the Flyers have some trouble in their farm team. Maybe it's because they didn't draft many good players. Again, they seem to be quite well drafting in the first round. Hell, they even got 100-point AHL players in Pat Maroon, Jon Matsumoto, and David Laliberte. Except they were all traded.
But if you look at this, you'll clearly see that the Flyers have gotten better at drafting. The 2004 draft was miserable. The '05 was pretty bad. 2007 brought us the Garrett Klotz argument. But 2008 saw the team grab two puck-moving defensemen and two goalies. Yes, there's Rinaldo too, but at least he's not Garrett Klotz.
Long story: The Flyers had a good 2006 draft, but other than that, they just haven't gotten production out of their non-first round draft picks at the professional level. Maybe it's because they don't have many picks, thus lowering their chances of success. Or maybe it's been the need to draft goalies and defensemen (which is a good thing afterall) that depletes the forward talent.
Either way, these 5 drafts should show why the Phantoms are as bad as they are. There just isn't a pipeline of talent going from the draft to the AHL. The talented players either skip the AHL or speed through while the rest of the players stay and rot. Even the talented players who stay get traded (Maroon, Laliberte, Matsumoto).