August 31-in-31: Philadelphia Flyers

by Edric on August 22, 2019

Thanks for joining us for our August 31-in-31 series! Every day this month we will be taking a look at each team and diving into their prospect depth charts, risers and fallers, graduating prospects, and top ten prospects in the system.

***

As our series 31 in 31 series progresses, we examine the Philadelphia Flyers. The Flyers continue to ebb and flow between being in and out of the postseason with the 2018-2019 campaign being a down year. Overall, the prospect crop for the team has to be among the more promising in the league. While it may not be a murderer’s row of NHL stars in the making, there is certainly a lot of good available in their cupboard with the number of smart, theoretically sound draft picks made in recent years.

 

Graduating Players

 

I would be remiss to not mention Carter Hart. He was off to a flying start, no pun intended, and even after some regression he continued to prove that be belonged. Flyers have reason to be excited that they have not had in quite some time as the team has struggled to find steady goaltending for several years. He won’t be surprising any teams this year as they will know what to expect, even so Carter Hart has a legitimate chance to take a step forward this year. With Neuvirth being left to pursue other options and Elliot only being re-signed to a one-year pact, it is safe to assume the Flyers like what they saw in him and expect him to build on his revelation in Flyers goaltending in 2019-2020. 

 

Travis Sanheim turned in a terrific rookie showing as well. He truly made the most of a trying situation with the Flyers’ defense leaving much to be desired elsewhere. As such, it would be surprising if he doesn’t move on to full-time NHL work with the marked improvement he has made from two seasons ago. On a lesser note, Oskar Lindblom will also be moving on to full-time NHL duty having completed his rookie season as well. He looked gun shy if not lost at times on offense. He has skills in the way of jump starting the team offense, how well they stand out consistently at the NHL level remains to be seen.

 

Also leading the way for graduating Flyers prospects are Joel Farabee and Morgan Frost. Both stand to be legitimate contenders for spots on the opening night roster. While Frost is further along and more promising, Farabee has a slight edge in making the team right out of training camp given he is a more natural winger and that is where there are vacancies in the rotation. Farabee’s signing his entry-level contract was sooner than expected in that he is still undersized for conventional professional hockey. More on both of them, later. 

 

Speaking of proving they are athletically ready, Issac Ratcliffe will be looking to do much the same thing as he is also moving on from the OHL to professional hockey. He is not far from making it to the big leagues. If he wants to stay in the NHL full-time, his skating could use work as his ability to create for himself and his teammates can only take Ratcliffe so far with limited mobility.

 

Through all the fan fare for the Flyers prospect cupboard, Cam York comes in to the fold somewhat underrated. Coming from such a strong US National Development Program Roster it is easy to assume he was a beneficiary of circumstance. Breaking down his game, the Flyers were not wrong to want to select him at the end of the lottery as they did. It’s too soon to call him the next Brian Leetch per se, although you do see a lot of similarities with how they run teams offensively. Many players want the privilege of having the puck on their stick in the critical moments of a game, Cam York is one of the rare players that also want the responsibility. He is not quite Quinn Hughes, even so the Michigan Wolverines will be very happy to have York at the wheel on their powerplay.

 

Flyers General Manager Chuck Fletcher couldn’t have been much happier than he was when he landed Bobby Brink at the end of the second round. Truth be told, Brink was in the top 20 on their final draft board. He has skills for days and is only limited by his skating. If he can explode like a pack of dynamite in his take off then he has the makings of a real offensive force at the NHL level after some seasoning with Denver University, which is where he is reporting in the fall.

 

Felix Sandstrom didn’t have a banner 2018-2019 season, although he did do noticeably better than what you would expect for someone that missed the bulk of the 2017-2018 campaign due to illness. He is expected to compete for playing time in the Lehigh Valley crease, and depending on how the season goes for Hart and Elliott he may even make some NHL cameos this coming season. His athleticism and overall pedigree are coming in somewhat under the radar given how Hart’s NHL career has taken off. He and Hart could make for a timeshare down the road if he can transition to the North American game as people expect him to. Until then he has Alex Lyon and possibly Kirill Ustimenko competing with him for playing time with the Phantoms. 

 

It is unclear at this time where he will find playing time, however Kirill Ustimenko also signed his entry level contract after a tale of two seasons that was his 2018-2019 season. He bounced back from trying times in the VHL and World Junior Camps and had a strong finish to the season including setting a new league record 12 shutouts. There is a better chance than not he will be given the reigns in the ECHL until something opens up for him in Lehigh Valley.

 

Someone circle the calendar, Samuel Morin may finally be ready for full-time NHL duty. It’s been six years since he was taken as a lottery pick in the 2013 draft and the years have not been kind to Morin medically. With just 34 pro hockey games played over the past two seasons, it would be understandable if his development were to be considerably stunted in that time on the Injury Reserve. Despite missing that time, he has managed to look like he belonged in the little time with the Flyers he has cobbled together. He will be checking into Flyers training camp with the cleanest bill of health he has had in years. He could adequately fill the shoes of Radko Gudas if he can stay healthy and plays up to his ability in training camp to get such an opportunity. 

 

After four tours of OHL duty and six AHL games, Matthew Strome will be embarking on his first season as a full-time pro hockey player. It would be surprising if he makes the main roster in short order as his on-ice mobility remains a big question mark. Otherwise he should be a top 10 prospect in the Flyers pipeline. To his credit, he has been working with specialists to rectify the matter and in the interim, Lehigh Valley is likely the best place for him until he can get better get around. His shot power and accuracy giver him second-line scoring threat upside.

 

Risers

 

Joel Farabee

His talent demanded that he called it a collegiate hockey career and sign his entry-level contract. His hockey sense is beyond his years and he had little to gain by staying at Boston University on that basis. I have full confidence that his primary area of focus this off-season is his size as he weighed in at 175 at development camp after reportedly putting on 13 pounds since last season. He was the clear-cut rookie of the year in collegiate hockey and should get a long look for a bottom-six opportunity on opening night.

 

Morgan Frost

He is everything that the Flyers were hoping for on draft day, and more. His path to being a main roster fixture is not as clear as Farabee’s however his long-term upside remains very high. It is not unreasonable to see him being a first-line forward down the road given his dynamic offense. If he can get adequate playing time, he can make some noise in the Calder Trophy conversation after dominating the Major Junior hockey scene for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. Between his skating and his hockey sense, he is seldom out of place and as such, he makes the correct plays easily.

 

Fallers

 

Jay O’Brien

 

It is hard to see things going much worse than they did for Jay O’Brien. He has relegated to Junior A hockey to keep his collegiate hockey eligibility with the intention of revisiting the NCAA when he is ready. His hopes of making the NHL got further rather than closer last season, and he has a good amount on his plate when it comes to proving he is healthy. The upside is that given his promising showing at the Flyers Development Camp, things can only get better from here.

 

Wade Allison

 

He is an acceptable if not the right guy, at the wrong time. While he did not fall off the map, he didn’t take off either when given the chance and while he struggled last season he was passed by other promising players in the Flyers system. While returning for his senior season would often be a concern to an NHL franchise, it seems that Allison is more concerned with making sure he is fully recovered from his torn ACL and wants to sign with the Flyers when fully healthy.

 

Mikhail Vorobyev

 

Perhaps the most conspicuous faller of the group. He had a strong preseason in which he evidently punched himself out before getting lost in the fold with the main roster. If he can work on making a good impression with regularity, Vorobyev can make for a sneaky play when it comes to how strong his playmaking can be as his passing is among the best in the Flyers organization.

 

PROSPECT DEPTH CHART

 

Left Wing                     Center                     Right Wing

Joel Farabee

          Morgan Frost

   Bobby Brink

Issac Ratcliffe

          German Rubtsov

   Wade Allison

Matthew Strome

          Jay O’Brien

   Nicholas Aube-Kubel

Noah Cates

         Mikhail Vorobyev

   Tanner Laczynski

David Kase

   

Olle Lycksell

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Left Defense       Right Defense

Cam York

Phillipe Myers

Yegor Zamula

Mark Friedman

Samuel Morin

Linus Hogberg

Wyatte Wylie

Ronnie Attard 

Wyatt Kalnyuk

 

David Bernhardt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Goaltenders

Felix Sandstrom

Samuel Ersson

Kirill Ustimenko


Top Twenty Fantasy Prospects

  1. Morgan Frost
  2. Joel Farabee
  3. Cam York
  4. Bobby Brink
  5. German Rubtsov
  6. Phllippe Myers
  7. Wade Allison
  8. Jay O’Brien
  9. Felix Sandstrom
  10. Samuel Ersson
  11. Mikhail Vorobyev
  12. Nicholas Aube-Kubel
  13. Mark Friedman
  14. Linus Hogberg
  15. Tanner Laczynski
  16. Samuel Morin
  17. Yegor Zamula
  18. David Kase
  19. Noah Cates
  20. Matthew Strome

***

Thanks for joining me for the Philadelphia Flyers entry in the Dobber Prospects August 31-in-31 series. Be sure to check out the rest of the 31-in-31 articles on the rest of the prospect pools, including tomorrow where Mark Allan takes a deep dive on the up and coming Pittsburgh Penguins.

**

Be sure to check out the Dobber’s Fantasy Hockey Prospect Report for 2019! It’s the best guide for fantasy prospects around and makes sure that while you’re there you check out the rest of the fantasy hockey guides.