After months of mock drafts, ‘expert’ weigh-ins, and everyone losing their mind over the possibility of Andrew MacDonald being protected, the day of the expansion draft is now here. While the Flyers are in a pretty good place in terms of not being worried too much about the players they’ve left unprotected, there still is the slight chance that Vegas signs Jordan Weal. If that’s the worst possible outcome today, that’s pretty good.
With that in mind, I was thinking about who the Flyers have lost in the ten expansion drafts after becoming a franchise, and it’s not a glamorous list.
Kansas City Scouts: Simon Nolet (F, Scouts)
Washington Capitals: Michel Belhumeur (G), Bruce Cowick (F)
San Jose Sharks: Tim Kerr (F)
Nashville Predators: Craig Darby (F)
Atlanta Thrashers: Jody Hull (F)
Columbus Blue Jackets: Martin Streit (F)
Wild - Artem Anisimov (D)
Here are some players that are notable in this list.
This year welcomed the Buffalo Sabres and Vancouver Canucks into the NHL, in the first expansion draft the Flyers ever had to partake in without being the expansion team.
Rosaire Paiement was someone that was playing a lot with the Quebec Aces, the Flyers’ minor league team, and had a lot of potential. The year before he was taken, he scored 68 points in 67 games with the Aces. After being taken by the Canucks, he played fantastically in his first season with the team but dropped off by 33 points in his second season. He fled to the WHA and became one of the top players in the league for a good amount of years.
Gerry Meehan was selected by the Sabres and went on to score 423 points in 670 NHL games. He wasn’t really in the Flyers’ plans at the time, but he had a pretty decent career after the fact.
The Atlanta Flames and New York Islanders had their turn at the Flyers’ players. Look at the in memoriam section at the bottom of this post on how this year turned out. Not good for the Flames and Islanders. Good for the Flyers though!
The Kansas City Scouts (now the New Jersey Devils) and the Washington Capitals now had a chance to select their initial set of players.
Simon Nolet was a key player selected from the Flyers. He was part of the Flyers’ Stanley Cup winning team in 1974, scoring 36 points in 52 games that year. After being selected by the Scouts, he went on to play four more seasons at a reasonably nice pace with the Scouts, Pittsburgh Penguins, and the next team in the Devils’ lifespan, the Colorado Rockies. Nolet, as you may know, is currently an amateur scout for the Flyers.
“Hello, WHA,” says the NHL. “Would you like some Flyers players?” “Do you have some god-awful players from the Flyers we can have,” says the WHA. “Of course,” says the NHL. (The Flyers did not lose anyone of significance here.)
This year was an odd expansion draft. The Minnesota North Stars were attempting to be relocated to the Bay Area, but the NHL blocked their attempt. The owners would, however, be allowed to get an expansion team in the Bay Area (the San Jose Sharks) as long as the sold the North Stars to an NHL-approved purchaser and that the Sharks could draft players from the North Stars. The North Stars were eventually bought and moved to Dallas after the 1992-93 season.
The Flyers did lose someone who was important in their history: Tim Kerr. Perhaps the most underrated goal scorer in Flyers lore, he was selected by the Sharks and then immediately traded to the New York Rangers. He played two more seasons in the NHL with the Rangers and Whalers before retiring from hockey.
1992 welcomed the Tampa Bay Lighting and Ottawa Senators into the NHL.
Darren Rumble was a career AHLer prior to being drafted by the Senators. Before retiring in 2005, he played two full seasons with the Senators and a few short stints with various other teams. Coming back to Philadelphia with the Phantoms, he was one of the most important pieces for the Phantoms when they won the Calder Cup in 1997, scoring 62 points in 72 regular-season games. Currently, he coaches the Moncton Wildcats of the QMJHL.
In the third straight expansion year for the NHL, the Florida Panthers and Mighty Ducks of Anaheim were created. We miss those eggplant jerseys, Anaheim.
Andrei Lomakin, the first Russian to ever play for the Flyers, was selected by the Florida Panthers and did really well in his first season with the Panthers, scoring 47 points in 76 games. He followed up his best season in the NHL with a 7-point, 31-game season, which led him to travel to Europe to finish his playing days. Lomakin unfortunately died in 2006 at the young age of 42.
This was the year that the Nashville Predators came into the NHL, and it was also the year that the Flyers had a small side deal in place with the Preds. The Flyers traded Dominic Roussel and Jeff Staples to to the Preds after they agreed not to select Paul Coffey in the expansion draft.
Craig Darby, who Nashville would then select to select, went on to play two more full NHL seasons with the Montreal Canadiens. Seemingly stuck in between the NHL and AHL, he never quite was able to reach the top level and stay there for good. He ended his career in 2008 after two seasons in European leagues.
Atlanta was the reason for another expansion draft. This time, it was for the Atlanta Thrashers.
They chose Jody Hull from the Flyers. Four months later, he was traded back to the Flyers for cash. Basically, they paid the ransom the Thrashers held on Hull. Hull played a few more NHL seasons, never putting up numbers beyond those of a typical fourth liner.
In the last expansion draft before today’s, the Columbus Blue Jackets and Minnesota Wild were to select players for their teams. They also got nothing special from the Flyers.
Some players, as you can see, amounted to something after being taken from the Flyers. But many others did not! Let’s briefly remember those in that second group.
- Reg Fleming (drafted in 1970) fell off a cliff, metaphorically of course. Already at the twilight of his career, he kept falling down the ladder to the old USHL.
- Dunc Wilson (1970) was a meh goalie. Usually the backup, he only played more than 40 games in a season twice.
- Lew Morrison (1972) never scored more than 15 points in an NHL season after being selected.
- Larry Hale (1972) escaped to the WHA and never returned.
- Jim Mair (1972) played four games with the Flyers. He had zero points. He managed a total of 19 points in his career.
- Bruce Cowick (1974) played on the historically terrible Capitals team in 1974-75 and only scored 11 points. That’s also his career total.
- Michel Belhumeur (1974) played 42 more games in goal in the NHL. He won 0 more games. Zero.
- Bernie Johnston (1979) played two more NHL seasons and totaled 36 points with the Whalers. The AHL and Swiss-A welcomed him for the rest of his career.
- M.F. Schurman (1979) did ... uh ... nothing in the NHL. 7 games and 0 points. He did pretty well in the Northeastern Hockey League, however.
- Dave Hoyda (1979) played 24 more NHL games and totaled three more points.
- Mark Freer (1992) did score 24 points in 63 games with the Senators in 1992-93. He also did play 2 more games with Calgary and score 0 more points in the following season. He also didn’t play in the NHL again after that.
- Gord Hynes (1993) immediately went to the IHL for two seasons then finished out his career with seven straight seasons in the DEL in Germany. Not a bad career, bad also not an NHL career.
- Martin Streit (2000) was selected by Columbus but never actually played in the NHL. He never even played in North America. He only played in the Czech Republic. Why waste your pick on him, Columbus?
- Artem Anisimov (2000, not to be confused with the current NHL player) was selected by the Wild, but he also never played in the NHL. He never played in the NHL. He was always in Russia. Seriously, Minnesota and Columbus? You both literally got nothing from the Flyers. Good, I guess.
All in all, the Flyers have not really lost many (any?) players of huge importance to their current team in the history of their franchise during an expansion draft. That trend will seemingly continue tonight as well.
For real, though ... poor Michel Belhumeur.