As the Philadelphia Flyers are trimming their rosters before the start of the 2023-24, the team is now hammering out their final phase of cuts. One of the most recent cuts was that of Wade Allison. Allison, who had played in 60 games last year has been injured several times in the course of his young career. Despite having speed and size, he could never put it all together.
With all this in mind, you look at Allison and his career and see that he was second-round pick in 2016. A quick look at the the Flyers’ haul that year shows it could easily be one of the worst drafts in the history of this team. While Chuck Fletcher gets a lot of well deserved flak for some of the moves he’s made, at least his drafts (for now) show promise. This one… geeze. But you can’t blame Fletcher for this one – nope. This mess squarely belongs to his predecessor, Ron Hextall.
The Flyers had four picks in the first two rounds. That’s pretty good. You would hope that you would land someone there. So far, the only player chosen there that has been a success was the Flyers’ third pick – Carter Hart – who was chosen at 48th overall. If Hart is eventually traded away, then this will just be another bit of evidence showing how much of a mess this draft was.
The first round selection that year was the immortal German Rubtsov, selected at 22nd overall. He played in just four NHL games without registering a point. He now plays in the KHL, and he is one of the biggest busts in Flyers’ draft history. Unlike Allison, he can’t point to being injured as the cause for his problems. He just stunk on North American ice.
The two other picks taken in the second round didn’t fair much better. At 36th overall was Pascal Laberge. In 54 games with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms over parts of four years, he scored just 15 goals. The Flyers gave up on him last year. The Pens picked him up and he played one game for their AHL affiliate in Wilkes-Barre Scranton, and now he plies his trade in Austria. Allison was selected just four places behind Hart. Now, he is placed on waivers. If nobody claims him, he’ll be back in Allentown.
But wait, there’s more! The rest of the draft didn’t fair well either. Third round selection Carsen Twarynski was the guy that Seattle plucked from the Flyers in the expansion draft. He never appeared in a competitive game for the Kraken and also plays in Austria. Fourth rounder Connor Bunnaman was sent to Florida with Claude Giroux. He scored one goal in 54 games at the NHL level – all with Philly. Florida stashed him in the AHL in Charlotte, and he now plays in Finland.
The Flyers gave up on fifth rounder Linus Hogberg last year. He’s back playing in his native Sweden. Sixth rounder Tanner Laczynski is still within the organization and seems to be a depth piece; pretty much what you’re hoping for from a sixth round pick. Philly’s last two picks in 2016 – Anthony Salinitri and David Bernhardt – never became a part of the Flyers or Phantoms and now play in Austria and Sweden respectively.
Allison’s injuries have hindered him. There is always the chance he could rise above and finally develop into the player the team feels he could be. Even if he doesn’t do that, he could find a way to be a valuable depth piece, role player, or fourth liner. However, with other younger players who are playing better, time is running out on the once highly-regarded prospect.
With the exception of Hart, this draft has been an unmitigated disaster, and we are just seven years removed from it. There should have been several players who have been making an impact at the NHL level and/or be key members of this team and its future. When Laczynski and Allison are the two best forwards drafted by the Flyers that year, that’s a big problem. And while Allison has put up better numbers than Laczynski, at least Laczynski had etched out a role as a fourth-line specialist; he too has been demoted to the AHL this week.
With Allison being a second rounder, more was expected from him. It hasn’t happened yet, and maybe it never will. Either way, he is a great representation of this draft: so much potential that was never realized. If you want to figure out why the Flyers are struggling now, it is because of poor drafting like this. Thanks Hexy!