The long grueling grind of the Stanley Cup playoffs has come to end. The Chicago Blackhawks are once again champions of the hockey world. Now it is time to crown our champion. Here are the final results of the Flyerdelphia Bracket Challenge.
When the Flyers pulled the trigger on a trade that sent Kimmo Timonen to the Chicago Blackhawks, there were two things that stood out. For one, Timonen never got to play for the Flyers this season but what was more important was the favor the Flyers were doing for Timonen. He had a chance to go to a Stanley Cup contender.
Ron Hextall delivered on Timonen's request. He wanted to play. He wanted his chance.
The veteran defenseman, essentially making his farewell tour in the NHL, did not get the playing time he once did as a top defenseman in the NHL, but he did get the dream ending to his career.
Timonen, 40 years old and ready to give up playing the game he loved so much, hoisted the Stanley Cup on Monday night after Chicago’s 2-0 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 6, concluding the most trying time in his career with the ultimate prize.
While every fan (and general manager) hopes that the club lands a future star in the NHL Draft, the main goal is to establish – or replenish – depth in the organization. Perennial Stanley Cup contenders are built on deep rosters, not just on one or two stars. On the flip side, a series of empty Drafts and too-frequent trading of draft picks for quick fixes and rental players at the NHL level eventually depletes the depth of the system.
When judging a team's Draft class, it is more important to look at the work the scouts did in identifying talent than which NHL team(s) the players played for during their careers.
For instance, the fact that the Flyers traded Peter Forsberg's rights to Quebec in the Eric Lindros trade should not overshadow the tremendous work that scout Inge Hammarström did in identifying Forsberg as a player worthy of an "off-the-board" pick as the sixth overall selection of the 1991 Draft. That year, Central Scouting, the Hockey News and many NHL teams had Forsberg pegged as a late first-round or even early second-round pick.
Here are the chronologically listed the top 10 and bottom five drafts in Philadelphia Flyers history. The best Draft classes produced the greatest depth of future talent that had an impact on the team, and often included future stars at the head of the class. All players who played at least one NHL game are listed.