The 5 Best Draft Picks in GM Paul Holmgren's Tenure with Philadelphia Flyers
Paul Holmgren has made a ton of moves since taking over for Bobby Clarke as the Philadelphia Flyers GM in 2006. One thing he has not gotten enough credit for is finding great prospects in the middle and later rounds of the draft.
His best picks have actually mostly been later than the first or second round, and more than a few of them have already contributed to the team as young role players.
A couple of others are still waiting in the wings and have a lot of potential, especially compared to where they were drafted, which is my focus here. I'm not looking necessarily at the best players he drafted, but the actual best picks.
With the draft just a week away, it's time to take a quick look back at Holmgren's past and pick out his best draft selections as the Flyers' GM.
Zac Rinaldo, 178th Overall (2008)
Zac Rinaldo may have been taken in the sixth round, but he has played the most minutes on the Flyers out of everyone on this list.
He saw his role increase this past season, and he really showed a lot of maturity and development as he was smarter and more effective as an agitator.
He has become one of the most feared fighters in the league but has also shown a more well-rounded game as he's gotten more time on the ice.
Eric Wellwood, 172nd Overall (2009)
Eric Wellwood is a speedster who was taken in the sixth round of the 2009 draft and was a major part of the Flyers' 2011-12 season.
He is still a young prospect who is refining his game, but he has already made contributions beyond what would be expected of a guy taken after 171 other prospects.
He could push for some more playing time in 2013-14 and remains a viable option as a depth forward.
Oliver Lauridsen, 196th Overall (2009)
The lone seventh-round pick on the list, Oliver Lauridsen was a phenomenal find by Holmgren out of Denmark.
A tall, rangy kid who can skate well, Lauridsen played his first minutes in this past season when the Flyers' blue line was ravaged by injuries.
He may not develop into a legitimate top-four defenseman, but he could become a valuable asset as a depth guy moving forward.
Tye McGinn, 119th Overall (2010)
Tye McGinn was a pleasant surprise when the power forward got called up during the beginning of this past season.
A fourth-round pick three years ago, McGinn showed a lot of heart and a surprising amount of offensive ability in his time with the big club.
He got in a number of heated fights and even played a little bit on a line with Claude Giroux. He should push to be a third-liner next season.
Nick Cousins, 68th Overall (2011)
Nick Cousins may not have been picked as late as the other guys on this list, but as a third-rounder, he may end up being a huge steal in his own right.
The talented center brings a gritty two-way game but also proved this past year that he could be a major offensive contributor as well.
Playing for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in the OHL, Cousins scored 88 points in 65 games before joining the Phantoms in April. He will push to make the Flyers roster in 2013-14.