One essential quality a general manager of any professional sport must possess is the ability to accept that he or she is not going to get everything right all of the time. This applies to every aspect of their job, especially the draft. No matter what your thoughts and beliefs are on a particular prospect, there is no guarantee that he is going to meet your expectation or even come close for that matter.
Former Philadelphia Flyers GM, Russ Farwell, faced one of those situations after he used the seventh-overall in the 1992 NHL Entry Draft to select Ryan Sittler.
How Did It Work Out?
If the last name Sittler rings any bells, it is most likely not because of Ryan. His father, Darryl Sittler, is the member of the family that would have made a mark on your brain. He is a Hall of Famer and even played 191 games for the Flyers towards the end of his career. Ryan, on the other hand, was a far from Hall of Fame status as you can get.
After being drafted, Ryan Sittler played two seasons of college hockey for the University of Michigan. He recorded 33 points in his first year of attendance while only posting 18 the following year. After his sophomore season, Sittler decided to turn pro.
Unfortunately for Sittler, a string of series injuries prevented him from ever taking the ice in the National Hockey League. He spent a few seasons bouncing back and forth between the AHL and ECHL before being forced into early retirement at the age of 25.
The first round of the 1992 draft is not filled with a ton of noteworthy names. Though the Flyers certainly missed the mark with picking Sittler, it would have looked a lot worse if it was a different draft year. Still, Philadelphia did miss out on the opportunity to select the likes of Sergei Gonchar and Martin Straka.
It is worth noting that 47.3% of the players selected in this draft played at least one game in the NHL. Of that percentage, the average amount of games played was 304, while the average amount of career points was 112.
Draft Grade: D-
Taking Ryan Sittler with the seventh-overall pick was undoubtedly a massive swing-and-miss for the Philadelphia Flyers. The grade for this draft pick could easily be “F,” and very few people would put forth an argument. However, I struggle with the idea of giving a player an “F” who struggled with serious injuries the entirety of his career. There is no telling what would have happened if Sittler had a clean bill of health.
Regardless, Russ Farwell cannot help but look back at the 1992 draft and view his first pick as anything else but a complete and utter failure.