Flyers 2004 draft evaluation

By Joe Scanlon

The average number of NHL games played by the 11 Philadelphia Flyers draftees from 2004? Just .82.  The Flyers did not make their first selection until round three, 92nd overall. None of their picks panned out, and they ended up with the lowest yield of any NHL team.

Just two of the players drafted have seen any NHL time (including goaltender Martin Houle‘s two-minute, one save on two shot performance.) For the most part, the group has toiled in the ECHL, with 236 games played there among them all.

The Flyers’ first-round pick was traded to the Edmonton Oilers along with Jeff Woywitka and other draft choices in exchange for center Mike Comrie. The Oilers used the pick to select center Robbie Schremp. The Flyers’ second rounder was packaged along with Jim Vandermeer and Colin Fraser to the Chicago Blackhawks for Alexei Zhamnov and their 2004 fourth round pick.

Rob Bellamy, RW
3rd round, 92nd overall – New England Jr. Coyotes (EJHL)
NHL games played: 0
Status: NHL prospect

Already 24 years old, Bellamy is still trying to make the transition from college to the pro ranks. He opted to stay in school all four years at the University of Maine before signing a professional contract. Bellamy proved to be a good leader in his time at Maine, being named captain of the Black Bears in his senior season.

In his first full year in the AHL, he registered two goals and three assists in 51 games for the Phantoms. He was a -22 on the year, by far the lowest on the team. He’s never going to be a great goal scorer, but there’s still a chance he will be able to contribute something on the lower lines. But his defense must improve to do that.

R.J. Anderson, D

4th round, 101st overall – Centennial H.S. (Minn.)
NHL games played: 0
Status: NHL prospect

Another player who obviously valued his college experience was Anderson. Anderson turned pro after completing his senior season at the University of Minnesota.

He went on to play two games this season for the Springfield Falcons of the AHL and three games for the Johnstown Chiefs of the ECHL. His future still remains very much in question.

David Laliberte, RW
4th round, 124th overall – Prince Edward Island Rocket [QMJHL]
NHL games played: 0
Status: NHL prospect

Laliberte’s offensive production was a pleasant surprise for the Phantoms this year — he emerged as a legitimate scoring threat. Laliberte scored 28 goals which was the third highest total on the team, while playing in just 70 games. He also added 20 assists in his first full season in the AHL. The fact that he can also play a gritty game makes him a commodity. To this point, Laliberte has progressed farther than any of the other 2004 Flyer draftees.

Chris Zarb, D
5th round, 144th overall – Tri-City Storm [USHL]
NHL games played: 0
Status: NHL prospect

Zarb played three years in college at Ferris State University before joining the Flyers organization this season. At 6’4 and 200lbs, Zarb is your typical stay-at-home defenseman. He played four games for the Phantoms before being loaned to the Mississippi Sea Wolves of the ECHL. In 37 games for the Sea Wolves, Zarb scored five goals and 11 assists with a -2 rating.

Gino Pisellini, RW
5th round, 149th overall – Plymouth Whalers [OHL]
NHL games played: 0
Status: NHL bust

Pisellini was an effective enforcer but that is just about the extent of his skills. He played 57 games over two seasons in the ECHL, scoring one goal, eight assists and amassing 188 penalty minutes in just 57 games. He did not return to the Wheeling Nailers to play in the 2008-09 season.

Ladislav Scurko, C
6th round, 170th overall – Spisska Nova Ves (Slovakia)
NHL games played: 0
Status: NHL bust

Scurko returned home to Slovokia and played for Kosice HC in 2007-08. There he scored just two assists with 30 penalty minutes and a -2 rating in 30 games. He did not play in 2008-09. At 22 years of age, there is still time to try and make a name for himself, but the chances of that are slim.

Frederik Cabana, C
6th round, 171st overall – Halifax Mooseheads [QMJHL]
NHL games played: 0
Status: NHL prospect

Cabana bounced around from league to league in the 2008-09 season, playing for the Mississippi Sea Wolves of the ECHL (six games), Philadelphia Phantoms of the AHL (four games), and Sherbrooke St. Francois of the LNAH (three games). The winger who was drafted for his speed and determination will probably never make much of an impact as far as the pro ranks are concerned.

Martin Houle, G
8th round, 232rd overall – Cape Breton Screaming Eagles [QMJHL]
NHL games played: 1
Status: NHL prospect

Since being drafted, Houle has gone on to become an ECHL backup for the most part, with brief AHL stints scattered in. He played for both the Las Vegas Wranglers and Cincinnati Cyclones in 2008-09. In a combined 17 games, he went 8-4-2.

Despite a decent record, his goals against average (3.03) does not exactly sparkle and his play has deteriorated a bit in the last few seasons. Houle would be lucky if he can get back to the AHL level.

Travis Gawryletz, D
8th round, 253rd overall – Trail Smoke Eaters [BCHL]
NHL games played: 0
Status: NHL prospect

Gawryletz was a very reliable defenseman for the Elmira Jackals of the ECHL this season. He skated in 56 contests scoring two goals and 14 assists. His +14 rating was second highest on the team.

Although he possesses some size and sound defensive game, players that go straight to the ECHL usually have a slim chance to secure a job as an NHL player, with the same fate being likely for Gawryletz.

Triston Grant, LW
9th round, 286th overall – Vancouver Giants [WHL]
NHL games played: 8
Status: NHL prospect

To this point, Grant (who went undrafted twice) has the most NHL experience of the Flyers’ 2004 draftees. He played eight games for the Flyers back in the 2006-07 season, registering one assist and 10 penalty minutes. Skating in 55 games this year for the Philadelphia Phantoms, Grant scored three goals and eight assists. The number that jumps out the most is his 153 penalty minutes, which was second on the team only to Kelsey Wilson (160).

His role as an enforcer was able to earn him some recognition. On June 8th, 2009, Grant inked a one-year, two-way contract with the Nashville Predators, where he hopes to continue his journey to the NHL.

John Carter, C
9th round, 291st overall – Brewster Bulldogs [NY]
NHL games played: 0
Status: NHL bust

The tall centerman from Detroit, MI has seemingly fallen off the map, not playing a game at any level since the 2004-05 season.