Analyzing Chuck Fletcher’s Draft History

Apr 2, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Cam York (45) against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 2, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Cam York (45) against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports /
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With the upcoming NHL Draft, it’s probably worth examining Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher and his history of drafting players. He spent nine seasons with the Minnesota Wild, drafting classes in each year. He has also been responsible with drafting the Flyers last three classes.

Now, before we get into each of these, we have to remember a few things.

  • First, GMs can’t take into account players who will get injured in minors or majors. Unless there is a chronic thing in college or juniors that a player has that is overlooked, these things can’t be helped. They happen.
  • Second, some players chosen in drafts are international. Sometimes, they don’t want to leave to come and play in the NHL for a variety of reasons. For the most part, a GM can’t predict this either.

It is because of these two things, we can’t judge GMs too harshly when these come up. We will look at players chosen as well as those that could have been chosen. We will look at each class that Fletcher has drafted and assign a letter grade to them. Likewise, we’ll do an overall tally at the end.


2009: With the number 16 pick, the Wild chose defenseman Nick Leddy. Had he chosen someone else at #16, he could have had Chris Krieder (at 19) or Kyle Palmeri (26). The next top defender out of this class, had he wanted a defender, would’ve been Brian Dumolin who fell into the second round. Leddy has shown to be a steady blueliner, but not an elite one. At best, he’s a good second liner, but nothing more.

Fletcher struck gold later on with two late round picks. Goalie Darcy Kuemper was picked in the sixth round while winger Erik Haula was selected in the seventh round. Kuemper, now on the Avalanche, has become a solid netminder guiding the Avs to the Stanley Cup while Haula has proven himself to be a reliable depth piece on the third and fourth lines. The other five picks either never made the NHL or played only a handful of games.

For late round picks, Haula and Kuemper were outstanding. Leddy fell kind of flat and is not the sort of player you want out of a top level pick.

Overall Score: C+

2010: With the ninth overall pick, Fletcher selected Mikael Granlund. Had he wished, he could’ve selected Vladimir Tarasenko (16th overall) or Evgeny Kuznetsov (26th overall). Instead, he got Granland who’s top year was 26 goals and 43 assists in 2016-17. He’s been a solid player, but not an all star.

The Wild also had three second round picks that season that were spent on wingers: Brett Bulmer, Johan Larsson, and Jason Zucker. None of these guys made a major impact for the Wild, save for Zucker who had one year where he scored 33 goals. Three other picks were made that never made it to the NHL.
Overall Score: C+

2011: Fletcher chose Jonas Brodin with the 10th overall pick. Brodin is still on the Wild and is a solid defender. However, the Wild also selected, at #28, Zach Phillips. Phillips struggled in the minors, was released, and has been bouncing around the European leagues. He never played in the NHL.  Instead of Phillips, he could’ve selected Richard Rackell or Nikita Kucherov who fell into the late second round.

As for other picks, three of the six picks, including second round selection Mario Lucia, never made it to the NHL. One of the players that did make it is current Flyers depth piece Nick Seeler.
Overall Score: C

2012: This one is a mixed draft. Fletcher hit it right with seventh overall pick Matt Dumba. Dumba has become one of the better defenders in the NHL and a great ambassador for the game, winning the King Clancy Trophy.

However, out of seven picks, only Dumba and sixth round pick Christoph Bertschy have played in the NHL, and Bertschy has only played in 9 games. Overall Score: C+

2013: The Wild did not have a first round pick this year as they packed that pick and Jason Pominville for goaltender Matt Hackett and Johan Larsson (yikes!). Their top pick was in the second round, defender Gustav Olofsson, who’s spent much of his career in the minors. The best player chosen was fifth round pick Carson Soucy, who is now on the Seattle Kraken. The four other picks never reached the NHL.
Overall Score: F — this takes into consideration the poor, poor trade in which the first round pick was given up.

2014: At 28th overall, the Wild selected Alex Tuch. Tuch would be traded to the Vegas Golden Knights to prevent them from selecting Haula. Tuch would later be packaged to Buffalo as part of the deal that saw Jack Eichel sent to Vegas. Tuch has been a reliable forward, albeit not an all star.  Five of the seven other picks have never reached the NHL and the two who did include a defender who’s played four games and goaltender Kaapo Kahkonen, who shows some promise.
Overall Score: C

2015: 20th overall pick Joel Eriksson Ek is finally coming into his own, scoring 26 goals this year. Second rounder Jordan Greenway is a decent depth piece. The real gem in this draft was fifth round pick Kirill Kaprizov, who won the 2020-21 Calder Trophy and scored 47 goals with 61 assists this year. While the other picks have yet to break into the NHL, Ek and Kaprizov are sure fire hits.
Overall Score: B+

2016: In this season, the Wild only had four picks. In the first round, Minnesota picked Luke Kunin in the 15th spot. Kunin played two years in Minnesota before being shipped to Nashville. Kunin has put up pedestrian numbers so far, 46 goals in 251 games. Fourth round pick Brandon Duhaime has scored 17 points in 80 games. The two seventh rounders have not made it to the NHL.
Overall Score: D

2017: The Wild did not have a first or second round pick as they were traded away; the first rounder for the rights to Grayson Downing, a prospect who looked great in juniors but that didn’t translate well to AHL. He now plays in Denmark. The only player who has seen any ice time in the NHL out of the six players selected is Mason Shaw, a fourth rounder, and he has played in three total games.
Overall Score: F