The last time there was a major offer sheet signing, I'm pretty sure Brian Burke wasn't expecting to finish near last in the league for back to back years. Given the Flyers recent track record of being at least a playoff team, and one of the yearly Cup contenders, they shouldn't lose out on a player of Tyler Seguin's quality. Without considering the moves available to a team with 8 first round picks over 4 years, let's take a look at recent draft history for defenseman picked in the bottom half (16-30) of the first round.
16th Overall Sharks - Ty Wishart
Wishart is widely considered a bust. He was dealt by the Sharks in 08, then by the Lightning in 11. Most of his 26 career NHL games have come due to injuries to the Islanders defense, and even then he isn't the first callup.
19th Overall Ducks - Mark Mitera
Mitera was just traded to Montreal last July. His luck hasn't gotten any better though as he still hasn't cracked the NHL yet. He spent 4 years in College, 2 full years in the AHL and 30 games in the ECHL.
20th Overall Canadians - David Fischer
Fischer just graduated College following the 09-10 season. He's spent the last two seasons toiling in the ECHL, with a 2 game AHL stint. Is currently a UFA
21st Overall Rangers - Bob Sanguinetti
Sanguinetti has played 3 full AHL seasons, although he was dealt from the Rangers to the Hurricanes. A lot of offensive talent (50 points in 60 AHL games this year) but is held back due to his defensive liabilities.
24th Overall Sabres - Dennis Persson
A Swedish prospect, he came over full time to America for the 09-10 season. He's largely disappeared due to the depth of the Sabres system and an inability to live up to expectations of a 1st round pick.
29th Overall Coyotes - Chris Summers
Summers graduated from Michigan following the 09-10 season. He spent most of last year playing in the AHL, and split this season between the AHL and NHL. Looks to be a solid 2nd - 3rd pairing guy.
30th Overall Devils - Matt Corrente
Corrente looked to be turning into a 3rd pairing tough guy defenseman last season. Unfortunately an injury suffered in a fight shut him down after 22 games, and he spent this whole season in the AHL.
Everyday NHL'ers: 0 Total NHL games played: 96
23rd Overall Predators - Jonathon Blum
Following his Jr career, he spent a full season in the AHL, and the last two seasons he's split time between the NHL and AHL. Last season he appeared in 12 playoff games for the Preds.
28th Overall Sharks - Nick Petrecki
Left Boston College following the 08-09 season. Has spent the last 3 seasons full time in the AHL. Petrecki is considered the average American NHL defenseman.
30th Overall Coyotes - Nick Ross
Following his Jr career he has mostly bounced back and forth between the AHL and ECHL. Ross did have his best AHL season to date, posting 18 points in 35 games this season.
Everyday NHL'ers; 0 NHL Games Played: 122
Although not falling into the bottom half of the draft, Erik Karlsson was taken with the 15th overall pick.
17th Overall Ducks - Jake Gardiner
Was traded to the Leafs before he left Wisconsin, he had 30 points in 75 games for the Leafs this year. He also played for the Marlies in the playoffs and posted 11 points in 17 games.
20th Overall Rangers - Michael Del Zotto
Has been a full time NHL'er basically since leaving JRs.
Everyday NHL'ers 4 NHL Games Played: 461
16th Overall Wild - Nick Leddy
After playing a season for Minnesota, Leddy spent 20 games before being called up to the Blackhawks. Played half a season last year with the Hawks and this year played the whole season.
21st Overall Bluejackets - John Moore
After a full season in the AHL, Moore was called up as an injury replacement with the Bluejackets and played 67 games. His -23 was worst on a team that was really bad last year.
28th Overall Blackhawks - Dylan Olsen
Olsen left Minnesota-Duluth during the 10-11 season and played 42 AHL games. This year he split time between the AHL and NHL, playing 44 AHL games and 24 NHL games.
Everyday NHL'ers: too early to tell NHL Games Played: 261
As long as the Flyers continue to be a playoff bound team, this looks like a good gamble. Other then the 2008 draft, late 1st round defenseman who live up to their potential seem few and far between. The 2008 draft actually has more NHL games combined then the 2006,2007 and 2009 drafts combine. 2008 would be the only year you would have wanted to save a late 1st round pick for a defenseman.
The problem of course is that your gambling that nothing will go wrong in the following 4 seasons. All it takes is one bad year to make a deal like this swing in favor of the team getting the draft picks. It's a gamble that is one worth taking given the Flyers recent track record.