What If the Flyers Had Drafted Kane?

Matthew Rutledge-TaylorContributor IMay 30, 2010

COLUMBUS, OH - JUNE 22:  (L-R) Third overall pick Kyle Turris of the Phoenix Coyotes, first overall pick Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks and second overall pick James vanRiemsdyk of the Philadelphia FLyers pose together during the first round of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft at Nationwide Arena on June 22, 2007 in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Marc Serota/Getty Images)
Marc Serota/Getty Images

For the last three years, the worst team in the NHL has won the draft lottery and retained their privilege of drafting first overall.  In 2008, the Tampa Bay Lightning took Steven Stamkos; in 2009, the NY Islanders took John Tavares; and in 2010, the Edmonton Oilers will probably take either Tyler Hall or Tyler Seguin.

However, in 2007, the Philadelphia Flyers finished last in the NHL standings, but lost the first overall pick to the Chicago Blackhawks, who won the lottery that year.  The ‘Hawks selected Patrick Kane first, and the Flyers took James Van Riemsdyk second.  Now, Van Riemsdyk had a decent rookie season in 2009-10, and may turn out to be a great player for the Flyers, but he’s no Patrick Kane.

So, looking back now, you have to wonder if the ‘Hawks would be such heavy favourites to defeat the Flyers in the 2010 Stanley Cup finals if Kane (who has scored 7 goals and 13 assists this post-season) was in a Flyers uniform and Van Riemsdyk (2 goals and 2 assists) was playing for Chicago?  Maybe it would be a more even contest.  You can bet that the pundits would be hyping a Kane versus Jonathan Toews showdown, rather than the odd-ball backup goalie versus backup goalie contest we’ve been witnessing.

If the Flyers lose this series, fans and management alike might we wondering what might have been if they hadn't lost their first overall pick in 2007.