Then and Now: John Slaney

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John Slaney was picked ninth overall in the 1990 NHL Draft by the Washington Capitals. The blue liner was taken after Owen Nolan, Petr Nedved, Mike Ricci, Jaromir Jagr, Scott Scissons, Darryl Sydor, and Derian Hatcher. After spending time with the Caps, Colorado Avalanche, Los Angeles Kings, Nashville Predators, Phoenix Coyotes, and Pittsburgh Penguins, Slaney joined the Philadelphia Flyers’ organization.

The Flyers gave Pittsburgh Kevin Stevens in exchange for Slaney, who took part in 25 games for the Phantoms in 2000-2001. The defenseman had six goals and 11 helpers to help the Phantoms reach the 2001 AHL postseason, where Philadelphia beat the Rochester Americans 3-1 in a best-of-five series before falling to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in six games in the following round. He had two goals and six assists in the postseason. Slaney also won the Eddie Shore Trophy for the AHL’s most outstanding defenseman.

In the 2001-2002 season, Slaney took part in his first game for the Flyers in both the regular season and the postseason. He spent most of the campaign with the Phantoms, where he had 20 goals and 39 assists in 64 regular season games, as well as two goals and one assist in the Phantoms’ two-game Qualifier over the Americans and their best-of-five series where they were swept by the Syracuse Crunch. Slaney also won the Eddie Shore Award for a second straight year.

Slaney’s first game with the Flyers was the Orange and Black’s 4-4 tie against the Florida Panthers on April 8th, 2002. He was plus-2 with a shot on net in 23:33 TOI. His first playoff game as a Flyer was in Philly’s Game 4 3-0 loss to the Ottawa Senators in the 2002 ECQF. He was minus-1 with a shot on net in 11:20 TOI.

The defenseman spent the entire 2002-2003 season with the Phantoms, where he had nine tallies and 33 assists in 55 games. Unfortunately for Slaney, the Phantoms finished 11th in the 14-team Western Conference with a record of 33-33-6-8.

Slaney saw a little more time with the Flyers during 2003-2004, as he suited up in four games for the Orange and Black. He took part in the Flyers’ four games from March 3rd to March 9th, as the Flyers went 3-1-0 in the four-game span.

He was minus-1 in Philly’s 5-2 win over the Nashville Predators on March 3rd, had two assists and a plus-1 rating in a 5-3 win over the Senators on March 5th, and saw 17:39 TOI in a 2-1 loss to the Caps the following day. Slaney’s final game in the NHL was the Flyers’ 3-1 win to the New Jersey Devils on March 9th, 2004, where he saw 5:17 TOI.

The d-man also played in 59 contests for the Phantoms in 2003-2004, as he posted 19 goals and 29 assists to help the squad reach the postseason. Slaney had three goals and four helpers in 12 games during the playoffs, as Philly beat the Norfolk Admirals 4-2 in the opening round before they lost to the WBS Pens in the following round.

Slaney’s final taste of the postseason for either the NHL or AHL came in 2005 with the Phantoms. After he had 44 points in 78 regular season games, Slaney took part in all 21 games the Phantoms needed to win the 2005 Calder Cup, as he produced three goals and seven helpers in the playoff run.

The blue liner finished up his time with the Flyers’ organization by spending the 2005-2006 and 2006-2007 seasons with the Phantoms, as the squad failed to reach the postseason in either season. Slaney had eight goals and 42 assists in 79 tilts during 2005-2006 before he had 33 points in 55 games as the team’s captain in 2006-2007.

After his time with the Flyers’ organization, Slaney moved on to the DEL where he joined Kolner Haie. Former NHLer Bryan Adams and former Flyer Todd Warriner also suited up for Kolner Haie during the 2007-2008 campaign.

The blue liner had six goals and 27 assists in 53 contests during the regular season to help the club finish third in the 15-team DEL with a record of 28-6-3-4-3-12 (W-OTW-SOW-OTL-SOL-L).

Kolner Haie beat Adler Mannheim in five games during the first round and beat Frankfurt Lions in six games during the Semifinals before losing to Eisbaren Berlin in the Finals. Slaney took part in nine games during the playoffs, where he had one goal and five assists.

Slaney left Kolner Haie after just one season, but he stayed in the DEL, as he played for the Frankfurt Lions during the 2008-2009 and the 2009-2010 seasons.

For the 2008-2009 season, Slaney played alongside Bryan Muir, Pat Kavanagh, Chris Taylor, Jamie Wright, and Josh Langfeld with the Lions. Slaney had 11 goals and 16 assists in 52 games during the regular season, as Frankfurt finished ninth in the 16-team DEL with a record of 21-3-3-1-4-20. The team reached the playoff qualification round, but lost to the Hamburg Freezers 3-2 in the best-of-five series. Slaney had two assists in the playoff round.

Slaney saw many of the same faces on the team the following season, as forward Joey Tenute joined the club. The defenseman had four goals and 20 assists in 44 tilts to help the team finish second in the 15-team DEL with a record of 28-2-4-1-1-20. He also had an assist in four postseason games.

The blue liner’s final season as a player came with HC Plzen in the Czech Extraliga, where he was teammates with Martin Straka and Petr Sykora. Slaney had three tallies and eight helpers in 29 games to help HC Plzen finish ninth in the 14-team Czech Extraliga.

For the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 seasons, Slaney served as an assistant coach for the Portland Pirates of the AHL. The club missed the 2012 AHL playoffs with a record of 36-31-4-5. The club also finished as the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference this year, but were swept in a best-of-five series by the Syracuse Crunch in the opening round.

Portland has agreed to terms with Slaney to return as an assistant coach for next season as well.