Philadelphia Flyers: Scottie Upshall...AND A SECOND ROUND DRAFT PICK?!

RonnybrookCorrespondent IMarch 26, 2009

PHILADELPHIA - JANUARY 13:  Scottie Upshall #9 of the Philadelphia Flyers skates against the Pittsburgh Penguins on January 13, 2009 at Wachovia Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Penguins defeated the Flyers 4-2.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

How odd is it that, for many Flyers fans, the thin line separating despair and insanity is a second round pick?

I am of course referring to the trade deadline deal that packaged Scottie Upshall along with the Flyers second round pick in the 2011 NHL entry draft, in return for Phoenix Coyotes super pest Daniel Carcillo.

A fan favorite, Upshall's exile to the desert was met with a collective WTF across all channels when news of the deal reached Flyers fans on March 4.

Three weeks after the fact, fans are still lamenting Upshall's departure, unimpressed with the fiery Daniel Carcillo as they evaluate his game with a hairy eyeball.

While I wasn't particularly fond of Upshall as a player (I expect a little more offense from the sixth overall selection in the 2002 NHL entry draft, one slot ahead of Joffrey Lupul), I find the fan outrage over the second round pick intriguing.

Whenever I see fans lashing out about the trade in blogs, message boards, or in conversation, the thing that often strikes me is the use of the draft pick to put an exclamation point on their frustration.

As in "they traded Scottie Upshall AND A SECOND ROUND PICK for Daniel Carcillo?!?!"

The fixation on the second round pick got me thinking; what exactly did the Flyers potentially give away when they stuffed the second rounder into Upshall's pocket and put him on a plane to Phoenix?

A quick visit to the Hockey Database revealed two things:

First thing: the Flyers don't place a whole lot of importance on second round selections.

The club has made exactly four second round selections in the last ten years, with all four of them occurring in the 2006 and 2007 NHL entry drafts (Andreas Nodl, Michael Ratchuk, and Denis Bodrov in 2006, and Kevin Marshall in 2007).

In other words, the Flyers regularly use second round picks as trade currency to complete deals.

Secondly, the Flyers are TERRIBLE at uncovering talent in the second round of the draft.

To find a Flyers second round draft product that has spent any meaningful time in an orange and black sweater, you'd need to hop into the Way Back Machine and travel back to 1993, when the Flyers selected Janne Niinimaa with the 36th overall pick.

If you want to go back another ten years, you'd have to sift through the debris that is Denis Metlyuk, Patrick Juhlin, Pat Murray, Jeff Harding, Jukka Seppo, Kent Hawley, Bruce Rendall, and Jeff Chychrun as you search for Mikael Renberg, Chris Simon, and Scott Mellanby.

Analysis: the second round of the NHL draft has historically been an organ-i-zational blind spot. The Flyers must know this, because they toss second round picks around like candy.

It's time for the Flyers fans to accept it as well:

Scottie is gone.


End note: Just to tie up a loose end, for any smart ass out there that wants to point out that Bobby Clarke was a second round draft selection of the Flyers in 1969, please keep in mind that being selected 17th overall (as Clarke was) in today's NHL would put him in the first round of a (now) 30 team draft.


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