Where Are They Now: 2000 Flyers Draft Picks

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With no news on the season starting back up, let us do the research to help keep you entertained and quench your thirst for hockey. With this new series, we’re going to break down each draft pick, starting from 2000, and give you a little update on how their career went and where they are now. We start things off with the first draft of the millennium, the 2000 NHL draft.

The Flyers sat in the 28th spot, picking just after the Boston Bruins. In retrospect, the 2000 draft wasn’t a very deep one. Nine players from the nine-round draft would go on to become All-Stars in the NHL, and Rick DiPietro was taken number one overall. That should tell you all you need to know about the 2000 NHL Draft.

The Flyers owned eight picks total in the draft (1, 3, two 6’s, two 7’s, 8, & 9.) Philadelphia made their picks count, taking arguably one of the most talented wingers and goalies in the entire draft in the first and sixth round, respectively.

First Round – Justin Williams

At 28th overall, the Flyers selected Justin Williams, formerly of the Plymouth Whalers in the Ontario Hockey League. Williams came to the Flyers at a time where the team was top heavy with talent, but lacked some punch on the bottom lines. In his first year with the club, he posted 25 points in 63 games as the youngest forward on the team.

Williams would spend about three and a half seasons with the Flyers from 2000-2004. During the 03/04 campaign, the Flyers traded Williams to the Carolina Hurricanes for Danny Markov. Williams would remain a Cane until the 2009 trade deadline, where he was dealt to the Los Angeles Kings. Seven seasons and 266 points later, Williams would sign with the Washington Capitals.Williams would spend the 2015/16 & 2016/17 seasons with Washington, before returning to Carolina where he’s currently playing.

Williams is one of the longest tenured NHLers in the league right now, and his career is storied to say the least. Three Stanley Cups, one Conn Smythe, and none of them came with the Flyers. Danny Markov, the player acquired for Justin Williams, played one season with the Flyers and moved on to the Nashville Predators the very next season. Smooth move, huh?

Third Round – Alexander Drozdetsky

Drozdetsky was another right winger that the Flyers took, this time out of Russia. His stats weren’t all that impressive before being drafted. Hell, they were almost non-existent if you look at the years with SKA St. Petersburg-2.

Over his career, he’s played 543 games, amassed 136 goals, and added 126 assists for 262 career points. None of those points came in the NHL. Drozdetsky played for three Russian leagues while posting those points. He also ended up being traded three times in two and a half years.

He retired after the 2011/12 season after one last hurrah with the Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg of the KHL. There have been many bigger busts, but it’s a shame to see the Flyers waste a third round pick on someone who never saw NHL ice in his career.

Sixth Round – Roman Cechmanek & Colin Shields

The sixth round was a mixed bag. The Flyers took Roman Cechmanek with the fourth pick (171 overall) in the sixth round, and then took Colin Shields with the 28th pick (195 overall) in the round. One saw NHL ice in his first season as a Flyer, and the other never donned the orange and black.

Colin Shields went to the University of Maine after being drafted, and played all four years. During the 2003/04 season, he was the Black Bears’ leading scorer. After leaving the NCAA, he jumped to the ECHL, where he played from 2004-2007, three years. After some decent success, he moved back across the pond to play in the EIHL. From 2007-2011 and 2012 to 2019, he played in Europe. The 2011/12 season was spent in France.

Shields tore up the EIHL. Arguably better suited for NHL competition, he posted 603 career points in 559 games. His one year in France was forgettable, but his time in the ECHL led many to believe he could make somewhat of an impact at a higher level. He had 78 points in 119 games. Shields is now retired, having never played in the NHL.

Roman Cechmanek was lightning in a bottle. He pried the starting job away from Brian Boucher in his first year as a Flyer, but proceeded to lay an egg in the playoffs. The very next year, he had a decent outing during the regular season, but his playoffs were much better. Roman played 163 games for the Flyers during his three years in Philadelphia. He holds a 92-43-22 record with a .923 save percentage and 1.96 goals against average. His sample size is smaller than most Flyers goalies, but the stats speak for themselves.

Cechmanek had arguably his best season with the Flyers in 2002/03. His numbers were the best of his career, but he floundered in the playoffs. The Flyers ended up sending him to the Los Angeles Kings for a second round selection in the coming draft. Cechmanek played one season with LA and was back playing overseas the very next year.

Seventh Round – John Eichelberger & Guillaume Lefebvre

The seventh round saw another pair of picks for the Flyers. The first was John Eichelberger. Eichelberger was drafted and immediately attended the University of Wisconsin to play college hockey before making the jump to the pros. After four years, Eichelberger played 10 games for the South Carolina Stingrays of the ECHL, and his hockey days were over.

Guillaume Lefebvre is an interesting case. Lefebvre spent a majority of his time in Philadelphia with the Phantoms. He was named Rookie of the Year with the Phantoms in 2002. He played a total of 17 games for the Flyers until 2003, where he was traded to Phoenix with draft picks for Tony Amonte. Before taking the ice for the Coyotes, he was immediately traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins. A majority of his time with the Pens was spent in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, until he departed for the LNAH in Quebec for two years.

After two years in the LNAH, he returned to North American hockey, spending three years floating mainly between the AHL and ECHL, while playing one game for the Boston Bruins. After departing North America once again, he signed on with the EBEL, an Austrian hockey league. He played three years there, then finished his career off with one year in France.

Eighth Round – Regan Kelly

In the now-extinct eighth round of the 2000 NHL draft, the Flyers chose Regan Kelly. Kelly immediately joined Providence College, where he played two years. Kelly then started the 2002/03 season with the St. Johns Maple Leafs, and played there for three years. In 2005, Kelly jumped the pond to the EIHL. However, he didn’t play a game in the league, and joined the Danbury Thrashers of the UHL. One year later, Kelly split time between leagues in Norway and Italy, then finished his career out in Italy in 2007/08 and Norway from 2009 to 2011.

Ninth Round – Milan Kopecky

Milan Kopecky was the final draft pick for the Flyers during the 2000 NHL draft. Kopecky was another instance of a pick wasted, never making the jump to the NHL from the Czech Republic. He remained in the Czech Republic, splitting time between there and Germany, until 2012. Ever since then, he has been playing in Germany, and continues to play there to this day.

Mandatory Credit – © Lou Capozzola-USA TODAY Sports

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