June 2, 1978
In the summer of ’78, the Flyers and Rangers worked out an agreement in which the Flyers “allowed” their legendary coach, Fred Shero, to join the Rangers as their GM and head coach. For that, the Flyers received a first round pick, the seventh overall, in which they drafted Ken Linseman. Sure, trades happen for draft picks all the time, but for your coach? It was slightly out of the norm for its time.
In that 1978 NHL Amateur draft, with that additional pick from the Rangers, that gave the Flyers THREE selections in the first round. They had the 6th pick, in which they chose the rugged defenseman Behn Wilson from the Kingston Canadiens and then the 14th pick, drafting RW Dan Lucas from the Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds.
Those three players, in review….
Ken Linseman went on to play 269 regular-season games (in two stints) with the Flyers, amassing 257 points, and his pesky play earned him the nickname “the Rat." He also added 53 points in 41 playoff games. He led the Flyers in scoring in his first full season (79-80) with 22 goals, and 57 assists for 79 points while playing in all 80 games.
Behn Wilson played 339 regular-season games and 43 more in the playoffs as a Flyer. Behn was a rugged, steady defenseman who was never too shy to drop his gloves. He would take on just about anyone, from Tiger Williams to Nick Fotiu, and even beat the pulp out of Boston’s’ legendary Terry O’Reilly at the Spectrum to a thundering applause.
Dan Lucas was drafted as a 19-year-old and had racked up 50 goals in 61 games in junior playing alongside “The Great One,” Wayne Gretzky. Apparently, Dan lost his way after leaving 99’s line and hitting the pros. In 150 games for the Flyers' AHL affiliate, the Maine Mariners, he tallied just 41 goals and 92 points. Dan briefly played six games with the Flyers in 78-79, tallying just one goal, on Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Denis Heron early in October of that season.
Hey Dan? I hope you got the puck…..
Mike Watson is a contributing writer for Flyerdelphia. Follow him on twitter @Mwats_99