The St. Louis Blues announced early in the evening on Aug. 24 that the team had signed former Philadelphia Flyers prospect Isaac Ratcliffe to a professional tryout. Ratcliffe, 24, was drafted by the Flyers 35th overall in the 2017 NHL Draft.
Ratcliffe left the Flyers organization in the middle of the 2022-23 season, when he was traded to the Nashville Predators for the infamous future considerations on Feb. 23. The hulking 6-foot-6 winger made his NHL debut for the Flyers during the 2021-22 season, where he scored one goal and three assists in 10 games. After that, the bottom fell out for Ratcliffe in 2022-23, where he stumbled to just two goals and two assists in 22 AHL games with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
A few months ago, on July 18, the former second-rounder had signed an AHL contract with the independent Chicago Wolves. The Wolves were most recently affiliated with the Carolina Hurricanes, and had previously been affiliated with the Blues – Ratcliffe’s new team. If he stays with or is assigned to the Wolves, Ratcliffe will join other players with NHL experience, like forward Cory Conacher and goalie Keith Kinkaid.
Ratcliffe joins long list of Flyers busts
The 24-year old was once showing some promise, and looked like he had turned a corner in the 2021-22 season. Obviously, last year he did not make the team and was banished to the AHL, where he played so bad he was traded away virtually for free.
The mid-to-late 2010s were not banner years for Flyers draft picks, and Morgan Frost and Noah Cates are the only Flyers draftees from 2017 who are regulars in the NHL. Aside from those two, Olle Lycksell is the only other still in the Flyers organization. To make matters worse, Ratcliffe was drafted a handful of spots ahead of Dallas Stars superstar Jason Robertson, who, like Ratcliffe, played in the OHL last year. Another terrible miss from Chuck Fletcher and his scouts.
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Still, it is a bit surprising that Ratcliffe, who was still promising a year ago, was given away for free. His signing with the Blues shows that there are still believers in his size and talent. That move came before current GM Danny Briere was around, and the Flyers legend will aim to make sure his draft picks will not meet the same fate.