1979: The best draft in NHL history

ap-ray-borque-slide.png

1979: The best draft in NHL history

Most NHL draft historians rank the 1979 draft as having the all-time best class in league history.

The ’79 draft, which lasted six rounds, had the benefit of being one which included teams being merged from the WHA into the NHL. Plus, the draft age was lowered from 20 to 18 that year, enriching the selection process by two years. The very first league draft had been in 1963 in Montreal.

The players selected in the first round included three future Hockey Hall of Famers -- Mike Gartner (fourth overall); Ray Bourque (eighth) and Michel Goulet (20th).

Eleven players would go on to play more than 1,000 NHL games. Seven would score 200 or more goals. Four would score 1,000 points. One would register 1,000 assists and 1,500 points: Bourque.

Every player selected in the first round played at least 235 NHL games.

Six of the 21 players selected in that first round would play for the Flyers at some point in their careers: Rob Ramage, who was the No. 1 overall pick by Colorado; Doug Sulliman (13th); Brian Propp (14th), the Flyers’ own pick that round, Brad McCrimmon (15th); Jay Wells (16th); and Ray Allison (18th).

That draft also included future Hall of Famer Mark Messier (third round); Pelle Lindbergh and Dale Hunter (both second round); and Guy Carboneau (third round), who would win three Stanley Cups in Montreal and Dallas; plus Glenn Anderson (fourth round).

Messier, Lowe and Anderson would be part of five Cup-winning teams with the Oilers.

Tim Kerr was draft eligible in 1979 but left untaken. The Flyers signed him as a free agent the following year. Kerr became a four-time 50-goal scorer.

From the standpoint of today’s “modern” NHL draft, most would say that the 2003 draft is the standard of elite measurement.

It’s also considered one of the deepest drafts for defensemen in modern times.

All 30 players selected in the first round played or are still playing in the NHL while 15 have logged more than 600 games.

The first round includes nine players who have won at least one Stanley Cup.

Some of the names that round: Marc-Andre Fleury, taken No. 1 overall, as well as Eric Staal, Nathan Horton, Ryan Suter, Braydon Coburn, Dion Phaneuf, Jeff Carter, Dustin Brown, Brent Seabrook, Zach Parise, Ryan Getzlaf, Ryan Kesler, Mike Richards and Corey Perry.

Taken in later rounds were Patrice Bergeron, Shea Weber, Joe Pavelski and Dustin Byfuglien.

Philadelphia to host 2016 U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame ceremony

Philadelphia to host 2016 U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame ceremony

Philadelphia will host the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Nov. 30.

USA Hockey on Tuesday announced that the Flyers will host the event for the first time.

The 2016 Hall of Fame class includes legendary high school coach Bill Belisle, former NHL forward Craig Janney, and the 1996 World Cup of Hockey team. 

That team featured Brett Hull, Brian Leetch and Abington native Mike Richter. It also has a special connection with Philly. The 1996 World Cup of Hockey was the first sporting event played at the CoreStates Center (now the Wells Fargo Center). The U.S. would go on to win the tournament.

“We’re excited to bring the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Induction Celebration to Philadelphia,” Dave Ogrean, executive director of USA Hockey, said in a statement. “It’s one of our nation’s very top hockey cities, thanks in large part to the decades-long efforts of the late Ed Snider, and fans in the area will enjoy being part of enshrining the Class of 2016. This is always one of the most anticipated events on the calendar each year and we’re grateful for the advance support we’ve received from the Flyers and our Atlantic Affiliate.”

Tuesday also marks 50 days until the Flyers begin their 50th anniversary season. 

Flyers legends Mark Howe, John LeClair to coach All-American Prospects Game in Philadelphia

Flyers legends Mark Howe, John LeClair to coach All-American Prospects Game in Philadelphia

U.S. Hockey Hall of Famers and Flyers legends Mark Howe and John LeClair will go behind the bench next month at the Wells Fargo Center.
 
Both have been selected as head coaches for the 5th annual CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game here on Sept. 22.
 
This is just one of many events planned at the Wells Fargo Center this season to celebrate the Flyers’ 50th Anniversary.
 
The 7 p.m. faceoff features 42 of the top American-born prospects eligible for the 2017 NHL draft.
 
Howe and LeClair have combined to represent the U.S. seven times: one Canada Cup, two IIHF World Championships, one World Cup of Hockey and three Olympics. Howe was elected to the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame in 2003 and LeClair’s induction occurred in 2009.

Howe was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2011.
 
Tickets for the All-American Prospects Game can be obtained online at  ComcastTIX.com, or by calling 1-800-298-4200, or by visiting the Wells Fargo Center Box office.

Rangers win Jimmy Vesey sweepstakes

Rangers win Jimmy Vesey sweepstakes

NEW YORK -- The New York Rangers have won the Jimmy Vesey sweepstakes.

New York announced Friday it agreed to terms on an entry-level deal with the coveted college free agent.

Vesey was the Hobey Baker Award winner as the NCAA's player of the year last season for Harvard. The 23-year-old forward had 24 goals and 22 assists in 33 games.

Originally drafted by the Nashville Predators in the third round of the 2012 draft, Vesey said he wouldn't sign by the Aug. 15 deadline. The Predators traded his rights to the Buffalo Sabres for a third-round pick in the 2016 draft.

Vesey met with several teams this week and ultimately chose to join the Rangers.