Here’s some compelling Flyers news.
Bobby Clarke recently went on the Cam and Strick podcast, which is hosted by NHL Veteran Cam Janssen and NHL insider Andy Strickland, and said straight-up that Flyers scouts didn’t want Nolan Patrick in the 2017 draft. Here’s confirmation that Ron Hextall decided to make the selection himself:
— Andy Strickland (@andystrickland) January 11, 2022
“Hexy made some huge mistakes.”
Anthony and Russ have been talking about this Patrick topic on Snow the Goalie for some time now. Ant reported straight-up that Hextall and scouts weren’t on the same page with the selection when it happened, and some people decided to shit on it and say it wasn’t true. You know who you are.
Here’s the CliffsNotes version:
Going into that draft, Flyers scouts told Hextall they liked defensemen Miro Heiskanen and Cale Makar. They liked both of them better than Patrick and highly recommended that Hextall take one of those two. Hextall’s thought process was that they had already drafted defensemen in Travis Sanheim, Provy, Hagg, etc, and so they were deep enough that they needed the best center available. A lot of folks thought Patrick was either going to be pick #1 or pick #2 in the draft, so Hextall indeed went rogue and took Patrick. Obviously it was a disaster. Patrick didn’t work out and no longer plays here.
Alas, they needed a second line center and so they spent on Kevin Hayes, the best available guy in free agency at the time. As a result, that put them into a bit of a financial situation, compounded by the fact that drafting Heiskanen or Makar meant you wouldn’t have had to trade for Ryan Ellis this year. You would have had your top defensive pair already. The trickle down effect of Hextall blowing off the scouts had far-reaching ramifications that ultimately hurt this team. They’re paying Hayes and Ellis a lot of money and there are many moving parts behind those two guys as well.
But again, confirmation here from Bobby Clarke on what went down. Very telling stuff, and damning, too. And for what it’s worth, Patrick is the only guy drafted in the top-five that year to not become a NHL All Star. Nico Hischier, Heiskanen, Makar, and Elias Pettersson have all been selected.