Taking an early peak at Chuck Fletcher’s 2020 Draft
Chuck Fletcher isn’t a very popular name in Philadelphia at the moment. His Flyers currently sit in 6th place in the MassMutual East division with a record of 21-19-7. His one defensive off-season move was traded to Montreal for a 7th-round pick in 2022 and 50% salary retained. Things haven’t been good this season, that’s not a secret. I find myself looking at the brighter side of things when times seem dark, and man, are they dark right now. It’s still very, very early, but I found this sliver of happiness while digging into how well Chuck Fletcher’s 2020 draft is looking right now, so.
Let’s take a look!
#23rd overall: Tyson Foerster (9G-5A-14P in 16 games in AHL)
I mean, what’s not to like about this kid? A 6’2, 194lb scoring winger out of the OHL, Tyson Foerster is currently playing in very unfamiliar territory for a kid his age. Normally, Foerster would be playing in the OHL for the Barrie Colts. Thanks to covid, the OHL isn’t able to return to play this season, resulting in Foerster playing in the AHL for the rest of the year.
Before covid hit the Phantoms a couple weeks ago, resulting in a few games getting cancelled, Foerster was on fire. He had 10 points (6G-3A) in his previous 8 games. Not only was he scoring goals but he was contributing on the assist sheet, playing a sound two-way game and controlling the pace of play. For a kid who wasn’t even supposed to be playing in a pro league, that’s impressive. The Phantoms returned from the covid pause on 4/21 vs HER, resulting in Foerster finally getting back on the ice. You were a little worried the long pause was going to throw a wrench in Foerster’s momentum, a long pause for any athlete can be tough. His first game back wasn’t the best (the entire team looked off), not to any surprise, they just came back from a long lay-off and played a team that was playing the entire time they were quarantining.
His second game? He left every bit of the doubt about the lay-off in the dust. Two goals with 5 shots on goal, Tyson was flying all over the ice. His first goal came off a beautiful rush by Yegor Zamula (recently called up to taxi squad) who swiftly entered the zone and found a man who found Foerster with the cross-ice pass.
Tyson didn’t miss. Ew.
His second goal came off another cross-ice pass, this time from the team leader in points, Cal O’Reilly. Tyson is patient and lets the goalie make his move first, then makes no mistake.
There were skating concerns with Foerster coming out of the draft, causing his draft stock to fall a little bit, but I haven’t seem them. He’s not the smoothest or fastest skater in the world but he’s certainly quicker then I thought he’d be playing against men. He doesn’t seem to have any issue keeping up with the pace of play, in fact, one of the main things I’ve been so impressed with Foerster with is his ability to dictate play when the puck is on his stick. Whether that in his own zone, settling things down on the power play to get it sit up, he makes the subtle little play to live to see another day.
Last night, Foerster continued his goal scoring. This time it wasn’t a cross-ice pass or a slap shot from the wing. This time Tyson chips the puck up to open ice through the neutral zone, giving Cal O’Reilly a chance to make a play. Foerster drives to the net and picks up his 9th of the year.
It’s still super early to make any judgement on this draft class, but it’s really nice to see a Flyers get a prospect that can shoot the puck like this. Haven’t seen a player in Philadelphia with that shot since Jeff Carter.
#54th overall: Emil Andrae (0G-7A-7P in 31 games in SHL)
Emil Andrae is a smooth-skating, two-way defenseman who really enjoys jumping up into the play. He played for Team Sweden in the WJC-20, but played behind older guys like Brogberg, Bjornfot & Soderstrom, so Emil didn’t see a ton of time with Sweden in that tournament. There was one game where Brogberg couldn’t go so Andrae replaced him and played well. I’ve noticed Andrae loves to take risks and jump up into the play, he does it well, but sometimes it gets him in trouble. For the most part, Andrae is pretty sound defensively and is a lot more physical than I thought a 5’9, 174lb defenseman would be.
Andrae was loaned to the Vasterviks IK in the HockeyAllsvenskan league, putting up 3G-3A in 15 games. Andrae is currently playing for HV71 of the SHL, he currently has 0G-7A in 31 games, holding his own playing against men. Andrae’s last game came on April 12th vs Brynas. He didn’t register a point but had 3 shots on goal and logged 15:29. Excited to watch the development of Andrae.
#94th overall: Zayde Wisdom (7G-4A-11P in 19 games in AHL)
Fletcher traded a a 2020 4th-round pick and a 2020 5th-round pick to go up and get Zayde Wisdom at #94. What Wisdom is currently doing in the AHL isn’t a surprise to some, Zayde put up 29-30-59 in 62 games before the draft for the Kingston Frontenacs of the OHL. Just like Tyson Foerster, Wisdom is also playing in very unfamiliar territory for a kid his age. Currently 5th on the Phantoms in points (7G-4A-11P), Wisdom has also shown the ability to not only play on the same level as grown men, but excel. At one point in the season, Wisdom was at the top of the league in goals. He’s since then cooled off a bit, thanks to the covid pause in Leigh High, missing the last 3 games since the Phantoms have returned from the break. Not sure if it’s injury or covid related, just hope all is well with Zayde. I’ve talked about how these circumstances for both Wisdom & Foerster are different. They’re both 18-19 year olds playing in the AHL, but hasn’t stopped either of them for leaving their mark.
Check this out. Wisdom is getting pushed around all game, cross-checked, tripped, you name it. Finally, he snaps, he gets cross-checked in the head then makes the dude pay for it.
Think you can push me around because I’m a kid? Think again. Love this from Zayde, don’t take any shit. I keep finding myself saying this but for a 5’10, 179lb player, this kid plays with more intensity and physicality than a lot of players. He loves contact, he will throw his shoulder into you even if the puck was a gone a little sooner than he would’ve liked. On-top of all of that, the kid’s very soft hands around the net and can makes passes without looking, seriously.
Another great find by Chuck Fletcher at #94 overall. I’ll leave you on the topic of Wisdom with this goal.
#135th overall: Elliot Desnoyers (21G-28A-49P in 38 games)
Elliot Desnoyers has a chance to be the biggest steal in Chuck’s 2020 draft.
Yes, Tyson Foerster is 3rd on the Phantoms in points. Yes, I know he could be a huge pick at #23. Getting a player this late in the draft who is currently 7th in the QMJHL in points (21G-28A-49P in 38 games), is just house money. Desnoyers had a knock on his offensive side of the game coming out of the draft more known for his two-way game, he knew he had to start producing offensively if he wanted to be a legit NHL prospect. A trade from the Moncton Wildcats to the Halifax Mooseheads was a pretty good start. Getting a fresh start on a brand new team was exactly what Desnoyers needed.
Desnoyers had a 5 point game (all assists) on March 11th, follow this thread on twitter to see 3 of the 5 assists.
Desnoyers hasn’t signed his ELC with the Flyers yet but he was in Voorhees, NJ, at the Flyers practice facility today getting some practice in on the ice. First on the Halifax Mooseheads in points (49), Desnoyers had a stellar D+1 year and will only look continue to develop.
178th overall: Connor McClennon (14G-19A-33P in 22 games in WHL)
Another player who saw his draft stock fall was Connor McClennon. McClennon suffered a broken collarbone back in January of 2020. The then 17-year old McClennon was leading his team in points with 21G-28A in 42 games. But, Chuck Fletcher doesn’t care. He went ahead a selected the shifty 5’8 winger from Wainwright, AB, Canada. So far, so good, McClennon currently sits 3rd in the WHL in points with 14G-19A-33P in 22 games.
His 14th of the season came on Friday night.
An extremely skilled player, McClennon is a natural goal scorer with soft hands and very high hockey IQ. I love how the kid can pick his spot on the rush. Again, any kind of production from this late of a pick is house money. Whether you see Desnoyers in a Flyers uniform (I think you will), Desnoyers being used as prospect piece in a trade, whatever it is, you getting any sort of value is more ammo for whatever you decide to do. There’s always room for good hockey players.
- Issac Ratcliffe scored his first goal of the season last night. Absolute dot
- Cam York finished his third professional game. First game was a little rough (for entire team) but his second game he almost scored in and he looked a lot more comfortable. His third game was the best of the three. Showed off his gap control, stick and patience with the puck
- Jackson Cates made his NHL debut vs Rangers. Played well, had a couple of chances.
- Egor Zamula had a hell of a weekend. 2 assists Friday and followed that up with his best game as a pro Saturday. He was a monster. (Called up to Flyers taxi squad today)
- Felix Sandstrom called up to Flyers taxi squad.
Mandatory Credit: YONG KIM / Staff Photographer