30 in 30 Philadelphia Flyers

Cam Robinson

2016-07-23

A Russian named German got Philadelphia's 2016 NHL entry draft off to a solid start.

 

The first thing that comes to mind when considering the Philadelphia Flyers' pipeline is defense. This is a team that is building from the back end out and they have some serious horses on the way.

However, in an effort to spread the wealth, Ron Hextall and the Flyers’ brass went to the forward well with ferocity at the 2016 entry draft. With four of their first five picks, the Flyers selected an array of talented and gritty forwards. Of their 10 total picks, seven were forwards, two were defensemen and the top-ranked North American goaltender, Cart Hart, wrapped things up.

From a scouting perspective, the Flyers did extremely well in Buffalo, leaving with many players that were ranked higher than selected.

Here’s a quick peak at each selection:

1st Round, 22nd overall – German Rubtsov – C (MHL – Russia U-18 Team)

  • The doping scandal that banished the entirety of Russia’s Under-18 team at the World U18 Championship this spring didn’t help the cause for many young Russian prospects. It obviously wasn’t a concern for the Flyers, however, as they left some nice talent on the board to select the MHL two-way center with their first pick. Rubtsov doesn’t have any one trait that stands out as excellent, but he’s a strong and dependable player who has good hands and great awareness. He projects to be more of a middle-six centre, but with the right talent around him, he could become a high-end 2C.

Here’s what I had to say about him before the draft – Bracketed number represents personal rankings, not a prediction of where he’d be selected.

{source}<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">#19: German Rubtsov-Fantastic 2way C offers complete package. Quick acceleration, strong edges and leadership skills. Needs to shoot more</p>&mdash; Cam Robinson (@CrazyJoeDavola3) <a href="https://twitter.com/CrazyJoeDavola3/status/745710884148805633">June 22, 2016</a></blockquote><script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>{/source}

 2nd Round, 36th overall – Pascal Laberge – C (QMJHL-Victoriaville Tigres)

  •  The former second overall pick in the QMJHL draft made a real run at being a first-round selection this year. A nagging wrist injury early on kept his totals down a bit, but a strong Top Prospect’s Game and second half saw him display his heavy shot, quick acceleration and gritty mentality. He scores goals in a lot of ways and with some more muscle, projects to be a top-six contributor. A standout performance at development camp earned Laberge his first professional deal. He signed his entry-level contract July 14.

Laberge fought through some personal trials last season and discusses them in his piece with The Player’s Tribune. This could turn out to be a very nice selection for the Flyers.

{source}<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">The story of perseverance from top <a href="https://twitter.com/NHL">@NHL</a> draft prospect <a href="https://twitter.com/pascallaberge">@pascallaberge</a>. <a href="https://t.co/UjvIcvdgrU">https://t.co/UjvIcvdgrU</a> <a href="https://t.co/6B1ixKF9fu">pic.twitter.com/6B1ixKF9fu</a></p>&mdash; The Players' Tribune (@PlayersTribune) <a href="https://twitter.com/PlayersTribune/status/746005026422820869">June 23, 2016</a></blockquote><script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>{/source}

 2nd Round, 48th overall – Carter Hart – G (WHL-Everett Silvertips)

  • With their second selection in round No. 2, the Flyers selected, for my money, the best goaltender in the draft. Hart being named WHL and CHL Goaltender of the Year as a draft eligible player is spectacular; as was his 2.14/.918 splits in 63 games last season. Hart isn’t the biggest goaltender (6-1) but excels through small movements, fantastic reflexes and an impressive mental fortitude. He works with the same eye-training program as Brayden Holtby and actually wears No. 70 as a tribute to his idol. If the Flyers can squeeze even part of Holtby’s success out of the Edmonton native, they’ll be laughing. He has the ability to become a No. 1 goaltender at the NHL level one day.

2nd Round, 52nd overall – Wade Allison RW (USHL-Tri-City Storm)

  • Some people were surprised when the Flyers chose a relatively safe centerman with their first pick. The system is lacking a high-end finisher and there were a couple of players would could have fit the bill nicely. Well, with pick No. 3 from the second round, Philadelphia grabbed themselves a sniper. Allison is a goal-scorer, plain and simple; he’ll beat you off the rush, battle in front of the net or finish a deadly one-timer. The Manitoba native was named USHL Playoff MVP as he led the playoffs in scoring with nine goals in 11 games en route to a Clark Cup championship. Blessed with quick hands and a heavy, accurate shot, the Western Michigan commit will look to continue to build muscle and improve his quickness against the much-tougher NCAA competition. 

{source}<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/WhosNext?src=hash">#WhosNext</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/NHLFlyers">@NHLFlyers</a> fans are going to ❤️ Wade Allison <a href="https://t.co/2ZURRSWqT8">pic.twitter.com/2ZURRSWqT8</a></p>&mdash; USHL (@USHL) <a href="https://twitter.com/USHL/status/747790101510393857">June 28, 2016</a></blockquote><script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>{/source}

82nd overall – Carsen Twarynski – LW (WHL-Calgary Hitmen)

  •  With the pick accrued in the Luke Schenn and Vincent Lecavalier deal, the Flyers took a real character winger in Twarynski. The Flyers’ scouts surely got plenty of looks at the Calgary native, a teammate of Travis Sanheim and Radel Fazleev. He skates well, forechecks quickly and has good skills around the net. Here’s a player who uses his speed and smarts to cut off lanes and create offensive opportunities. After a strong showing at development camp, the former defenseman will look to carry that momentum over into a big third season in the Dub, where his role will be expanded.

 109th overall – Connor Bunnaman – C (OHL-Kitchener Rangers)

  • The Flyers grabbed another hard-working forward in the fourth round, selecting the responsible, two-way pivot. Bunnaman is a heavy player who forechecks well and is a very accomplished penalty killer. While his offensive game may be limited at the next level, the pro ranks are always interested in strong, smart centermen with plus-speed.

139th overall – Linus Hogberg  D (SHL-Växjö Lakers HC)

  • The first defenseman taken in by the Flyers was also one of the youngest available, making the draft cutoff age by 11 days. Hogberg suited up for the Växjö Lakers HC U20 club for most of the season while getting a cup of coffee with the top SHL squad. A very mobile left-shooting defender who, while not small, isn’t overly physical. He uses strong positioning and an active stick to break up plays and loves to use his plus skating to jump into the rush and offer an offensive punch. Being so young, there will be plenty of developmental time ahead but he has shown enough raw skills to convince the Flyers that he’ll make the transition one day.

169th overall – Tanner Laczynski – D (USHL-Lincoln Stars)

  • After being passed over during last season's entry draft, Laczynski added some much-needed meat to his bones and came back for his final season in the USHL, which proved to be a productive one. The two-way center put up a league-high 1.21 points per game with his 63 points in 52 contests – the fourth-most points overall. On top of very solid defensive awareness, the Ohio State commit possess good all-around offensive skills, highlighted by his soft hands and quick, accurate release.

172nd overall – Anthony Salinitri – C (OHL-Sarnia Sting)

  • With their second choice in the sixth round, Philly grabbed another forward in the Sarnia Sting pivot. Fair to assume the amateur scouts got plenty of looks at the team's middle-six center, as they were checking out their top forward prospect, Travis Konecny. Salinitri produced a career-high 30 points in 62 games last season but has been stuck behind some serious talent thus far in his junior career. However, it is expected that his blazing speed and good offensive instincts are going to shine next season in a more prominent role. A former first-round selection in the OHL draft, the pedigree is there for him to be a steal at this point of the draft.

199th overall – David Bernhardt – D (SuperElit-Djurgardens IF

  • With their final selection, The Flyers grabbed a big-bodied and smart Swedish defender. Bernhardt had been ranked as high as the third round in some mock drafts due to his very efficient and smooth presence on the ice. Capable of running a power play and offering up a booming shot, the 6-3 left-hander ranked second for defenders in assists (28) and points (38) in the SuperElit league. He'll look to transition to Djurgardens' top team in the SHL for 2016-17 and push for a role on Sweden's world junior team. This is a very solid final selection.

 

{source}<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Flyers 7th round pick (pick 191) David Bernhardt.  Was a top 100 prospect of The Hockey News. <a href="https://t.co/z7LHcHQ9lR">https://t.co/z7LHcHQ9lR</a></p>&mdash; EaglesFlyersPocono (@Milford236Eagle) <a href="https://twitter.com/Milford236Eagle/status/747121239882334208">June 26, 2016</a></blockquote><script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>{/source}

***

Prospects’ outlook heading into training camp

Spots will be very limited for youngsters this year as the Flyers’ have a full stable of NHL and AHL-level talent, which includes the recent re-signings of restricted free-agent forwards Petr Straka, Nick Cousins, and Jordan Weal as well as KHL free-agent signing Roman Lyubimov and Dale Weise grabbing a four-year contract.

It is very likely Konency and the other top forward prospects will all be back in junior next season.

On the defensive end, where most of the high-end talent lies, Philadelphia has eight defenders on one-way deals and have re-signed Mark Alt and added T.J. Brennan as depth for their AHL affiliate. This is not to say that a talented young player can't crack the opening night roster.

Hextall was not shy in offering up his mantra for seasoning young talent. During a state of the union, the former Flyers’ goaltender turned GM said that he feels it of the utmost importance that young players earn their spot. If they are a part of the best group available, then spots will be made for them. However, heading into camp, he has assembled a full roster of veteran players.

Here are a few quotes from that eye-opening discussion:

"What’s the sense of having a young kid come in that’s not as good as a guy we already have and putting him on your team, and then your team is not quite as good as it should be, but you’re going to develop a player and hurt your team by keeping a player? No. We’re not a team like that. We have enough bodies, we have enough good players, we made the playoffs last year, so they have to come in and beat someone out."

"Now if one of the kids, or two of the kids, or three of the kids come in and they’re better than the guys that we have? That’s competition. And assuming we think it’s the right move at the time, then we’ll make a roster spot for them."

"If a young kid comes in and makes us a better team and we don’t think we’re going to hurt him long-term, we’re going to keep him. If not, we’ll go with what we have."

 

It sure sounds like he's speaking specifically of Ivan Provorov who, under normal circumstances, would appear to be an absolute lock to begin his NHL career after taking home the WHL and CHL Defenseman of the Year Awards after a wildly impressive campaign that saw him score 88 points and a plus-82(!) in 86 combined regular season, playoff and Memorial Cup contests.

That darn CHL-NHL agreement stands in the way of sending the Russian defender to the American League to marinate and so it’s either Philadelphia or back to the Brandon Wheat Kings.

Some felt the seventh-overall selection from 2015 was ready to step in to the NHL right out of the draft last year, but his training camp said otherwise. Since then, he has taken noticeable strides offensively and defensively. According to eyes at the development camp, he was a man amongst boys; consistently displaying his strength, edgework and overall dominant game. He could not be beaten in one-on-one drills and his shot is already at an NHL-level.

Hextall on whether Provorov may be stunted by being returned to junior for 2016-17:

 "I can tell you this: there’s very few [GMs] that will ever tell you once they send a kid back that they regret it. I don’t regret sending anybody back that we did last year. Everyone made a lot of progress and I don’t regret any of them. Will I at some point? Maybe. But last year, no. Every decision our staff made, I felt like was the right one for the kid, which means it’s the right one for the organization."

Provorov deciding the three-on-three tournament with a deadly wrist shot from the slot:


{source}<blockquote class="twitter-video" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Ivan Provorov seals the championship for Team Orange with a top shelf snipe! <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/flyers?src=hash">#flyers</a> 3 on 3 development camp <a href="https://t.co/BaXsU7TDpg">pic.twitter.com/BaXsU7TDpg</a></p>&mdash; Dan Silver (@dsilver88) <a href="https://twitter.com/dsilver88/status/752596988902989824">July 11, 2016</a></blockquote><script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>{/source}

 

* * *

News and Notes

  • With a wealth of top-end talent and full complement of C- and B-level prospects, the Flyers invited just four players to development camp who had no affiliation with the franchise: Mike Vecchione (F), Ondrej Vala (D), Brennan Menell (D), and Garrett McFadden (D). 

 

  • Travis Sanheim is up 25 pounds since being drafted 17th overall in 2014. He now stands 6-4 and 206 pounds.
  • An under-the-radar player to watch at camp will be Cole Bardreau. Signed as a free agent out of Cornel, the feisty forward can play centre or wing and brings a buzzsaw-like approach to the game. He produced 30 points and 54 PIMs in 54 games for Lehigh Valley last season.
  • Rookie camp begins on Sept. 17 while main camp begins on the 22nd.

 

That's all for now. Check back for updates throughout the next few weeks and look for the second-part of the Flyers' 30 in 30 series Aug. 22.

* * *

Thanks for reading and feel free to follow me on twitter @CrazyJoeDavola3 where I mostly retweet other people's witty thoughts and occasionally add my own.

Cam Robinson

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