With every draft pick, a level of uncertainty comes with it. This uncertainty not only surrounds a player’s production at the NHL level but also what their story with a franchise will be. Some prospects develop into solid players and produce for the team that drafted them while others have good careers but were used as a bargaining chip for the franchise that originally selected them.
Today’s draft pick from the Flyers past did not stay with the organization for long. However, he played a role in acquiring one of the best players ever to wear the orange and black.
How Did it Work Out?
After three fantastic years with Peterborough in which he recorded 283 points, scouts considered Ricci a can’t miss prospect. This decision, of course, led to General Manager, Russ Farwell, committing to the Scarborough, Ontario native early on in the draft. With doing so, Farwell passed up on the likes of Jaromir Jagr and Martin Brodeur.
Though Ricci had a productive stint with Philadelphia, scoring 41 goals in 146 games, he only lasted two seasons with the franchise. The young center was a part of the blockbuster trade with the Quebec Nordiques that sent Eric Lindros to the Flyers.
Philadelphia may have landed the star player, but it can be argued that Ricci had the last laugh, winning a Stanley Cup with Nordiques franchise after they moved to Colorado and became the Avalanche. He would go on to have a solid career in the National Hockey League playing for Avs/Nordiques, Sharks, and Coyotes, recording 605 points in 1099 games.
Draft Grade: C
Evaluating the selection of Mike Ricci fourth-overall is not as easy as it seems. He had a good career in the NHL and was useful in his short time with the Flyers. Additionally, he helped Philadelphia score one of the most coveted players of the time in Lindros.
Still, it cannot be ignored who the Flyers passed up on drafting. Jagr would go on to have a lengthy and fantastic career, recording 1155 points. Additionally, imagine if the Flyers selected Brodeur, though less likely because he fell to 20th-overall. All of the struggles the Flyers experienced in net over the years would be non-existent.
At the end of the day, Ricci was not an awful selection but was the wrong choice so early on in the draft. Had the Flyers had a mid to late first round pick, and Jagr was already off the board, taking Ricci would have been fine.