Taking a look at some Flyers prospects heading into training camp
The Flyers have been in the dead time of the off-season for a bit now and with nothing happening, I thought now would be a good time to check in on some of the top prospects in organization. A couple of these players could be key contributors to the Flyers this season.
Morgan Frost, 5’11, 180 lbs, C
Frost only has 22 NHL games under his belt so he’ll still be considered a rookie next season. Only 22 years old, Frost made the team out of camp last season as the 13th forward and got a shot in the line-up when Sean Couturier went down with an injury in the 2nd game of the season vs Pittsburgh. Unfortunately, Frost was injured in his his 2nd game of his season vs Buffalo, suffering a dislocated shoulder, which ended his season.
This is a huge camp for Frost, he’s looking to take that 3C spot which seems to be pretty open right now with Nolan Patrick playing in Vegas. A highly skilled prospect that, with a camp just like his last, might finally get his extended look in the NHL.
Cam York, 5’11 175 lbs, D
We all know how stellar of an sophomore season Cam had with Team USA and Michigan. Being captain and leader of that gold medal winning team is something I think more people need to talk about. York was handpicked by fellow teammates to lead them, awesome to see he has those leadership intangibles at such a young age. York had his fun with the gold medal win then headed back to Michigan and didn’t miss a single beat. York ended his college career by getting nominated for Big Ten Defenseman of the Year and Big Ten Player of the Year, York took home the Defenseman of the Year award. Michigan’s season did unfortunately come to an end inside the NCAA Tournaments bubble, due to a positive covid test on the team. York finished his college career with 9G-27A-36P in 54 games and headed to the Phantoms after he signed his ELC with the Flyers on March 31st.
York put up 2G-3A-5P in 8 games for the Phantoms and earned himself a call-up during the Flyers last 3 games of the season. I took a deep dive into Cam’s three games of the season in a video. The three games seem like a measuring stick that both Cam and Chuck were interested to see. Those three games to end the season gave him exactly what he now knows he needs to work on in the off-season to be able to sustain playing at that level for 82+ games. If he doesn’t blow the doors off at camp and take a spot, he’ll be playing top pair 5 v 5 & PP minutes in the AHL.
Wade Allison, 6’2 205 lbs
In what was just a brutal season for the Flyers, Wade did bring a little bit of spark when he made his season debut April 15th vs PIT. Allison helped bring a energy to the team that they lacked. Adding in that extra hit, getting in the dirty areas, it was nice to see someone play with some kind of spark during that time. Allison finished his first 14 games in the NHL with 4G-3A-7P and quickly reminded Flyers fans why he’s an exciting prospect. I talked about his willingness to get in the dirty areas, and while the Flyers definitely needed someone who does that, his explosive wrist shot impressed me more. I know he hasn’t scored more than 15 goals in college or pro league (injuries can help with that), but this kid can flat-out put the puck in the back of the net.
While I can definitely get behind the idea that with more experience and a improved defense, he could score 20+ goals, but I’d like to reel back the expectations a bit. I loved the energy he brought, I think his shot is something we desperately need on the team. But to put it simply, Allison has never put up those kind of goals, besides when he was with the Tri-City Storm and scored 25 goals in 56 games. Not saying he can’t put those numbers up, I just don’t want people thinking he sucks next year because he’t not scoring at the pace you thought he was going to. Now, I say all of this but in 10 games with the Phantoms this year, Allison scored 4G-5A-9P in 10 games. Maybe the pro game better suits Allison’s kind of grinding style, if he turns into a sniper they’ll be no complaints here.
I mean, look at this shot.
Tanner Laczynski, 6’1, 190 lbs, C/W
Tanner is an Ohio State product that plays a really solid two-way game and has the soft hands and goal scoring ability to back it up. Laczynski played 5 games for the Flyers last year scoring zero points but displayed that extremely solid two-way play and soft hands in his limited playing time. Before Laczynski received the call-up, he was playing some really good hockey down with the Phantoms, registering 6G-4A-10P.
Tanner suffered a torn labrum in his right hip which forced him to miss the rest of the season. He’s another young player, along with Morgan Frost who will have eyes on him heading into camp.
Tyson Foerster, 6’2, 194 lbs
The 23rd overall pick in the 2020 NHL draft had a really, really impressive draft +2 year. With the OHL not playing, Foerster was able to play with the Phantoms in the AHL. Foerster was playing with grown men as a teenager and didn’t care whats-so-ever. Foerster scored 10G-7A-17P in 24 games, not only was he scoring goals night in and night out as a teenager in a pro league, but the way he could slow the play down around him with the puck on his stick is not something I was expecting to see. Foerster’s ability to skate with the puck on his stick and keep his head and eyes up, all while protecting the puck with his 6’2 frame, was extremely impressive to watch.
Watch Tyson on Cam York’s first professional goal. Enters the zone with the puck on his stick, uses his frame in the corner to hold puck away from defender then finds open soft spot in zone to get the cycle going.
Get well soon, Tyson! Excited to watch you play in 2021!
Egor Zamula, 6’3, 180 lbs, D
Zamula didn’t start out hot in his first professional season, but he figured things out and finished the season on a good note. Zamula had 6 assists in 25 games for the Phantoms and appeared in 2 games with the Flyers in April. He still needs to add some muscle but his long frame and skating ability, at his size, is so appealing. York and Zamula are the Flyers Top 2 defensive prospects, who’re both look to have a strong camp come September.
Zayde Wisdom, 5’11, 195 lbs, C/W
Just like Tyson Foerster, Wisdom’s season in the OHL didn’t happen last year, forcing him to play in the AHL as an 18 year old. Did this stop Wisdom from scoring 7G-11A-18P in 28 games, and beating the shit out of guys? Nope!
94th overall, Zayde Wisdom was an absolute treat to watch play hockey this season. He unfortunately just had shoulder surgery in Philadelphia today and is out indefinitely. Looking forward to see how Zayde further develops, he’s a really exciting player.
Get well soon, Zayde!
Ronnie Attard, 6’3, 210 lbs
The Flyers don’t have a ton of right-handed shooting defenseman in their pool, but Ronnie is one of them. Attard put up 8G-14A-22P in 25 games, while logging big minutes and playing in all situations for Western Michigan last year. A big, physical defenseman who plays both sides of the ice well, Attard has slowly crept up my prospect rankings with his development in the last two years. He scored 30 goals in the USHL as a defenseman and has steadily improved his all-around game in these two seasons in the NCAA.
Attard was also named NCHC Offensive Defenseman of the Year.
Bobby Brink, 5’9, 164lbs, RW
Brink didn’t have as good as a sophomore campaign as he did freshman, only scoring 2G-9A-11P, but I will give him more credit in those world juniors than most people are. Brink scored 2G-4A-6P in 7 games, playing on a third line, grinding kind of role. He had two HUGE blocks in the gold medal game in the 3rd period to help seal the win. Brink obviously wasn’t the big offense guy in the tournament with guys like Zegras, Caufield and Kaliyev taking the reigns, but Brink’s ability to adapt and play in a role that I’m sure he’s not used to playing, was very impressive.
Here, Brink catches CAN being lazy and gets in behind them while his teammates are changing. Waits for the change to be made and finds man in the slot for a glorious chance. I’m not worried about Brink too much, the drop-off in production is a little worrisome but Denver’s team isn’t very good and he did start to come around in March.
Eliot Desnoyers, 5’11, 172 lbs, LW
Desnoyers was a hell of a find by Chuck Fletcher and his scouts at 135th overall in the 2020 NHL draft. Desnoyers came into the draft being described as a smaller sized player with soft hands and good hockey IQ, that possesses a really solid two-way game. His “knock” was his inability to incorporate his offensive into his game at a consistent level. This was when Desnoyers was playing for the Moncton Wildcats and only had 11G-24A-35P in 61 games in the QMJHL, a very offensive heavy league.
Desnoyers was then traded by the Wildcats to the Halifax Mooseheads and continued to completely burst onto the scene. Desnoyers finished 1st on the Halifax Mooseheads and 7th in the whole QMJHL with 21G-28A-49P in 37 games. Desnoyers quickly showed scouts that he indeed does have the high-end offensive skill to go along with his already extremely solid two-way play.
Look at these hands in-tight for the hatty!
Desnoyers signed his ELC with the Flyers in May, that’s set to kick in this season. If Desnoyers has another season like he did last year, he’ll officially put himself in the talk of being a Top 5 prospect in this pool. He does play in an offensive-heavy league, so you have to take that into account when determining how high you want to place him, but man is he making a case. Excited to see his draft+2 year.
Emil Andrae, 5’9, 181 lbs, D
Andrae just finished playing in the Summer Showcase tournament that just recently ended, putting up 4 assists in 6 games. Andrae is still only 19 years old and he plays in Sweden with grown men so getting those games under his belt with that kind of competition, has to be good for his development. Andrae is a smooth skating defense who, despite his size, enjoys getting physical in the corner. You wish he put up a little more offense, only scoring 3G-10A in 46 games.
Here’s a little update on Andrae, as he played recently in pre-season games.
Noah Cates, 6’2, 190 lbs, C
Noah played on Minnesota-Duluth who had a pretty good run in the NCAA tournament. Noah decided not to sign his ELC with the Flyers and head back to school for his final year. Cates is a smart, two-way forward who put up 5G-14A-19P in 28 games this year. Noah’s brother, Jackson Cates, signed a deal with the Flyers last year and played in 4 games, scoring 1 assist.
Looking forward to watching Noah in his last season with Minnesota-Duluth as the captain.
Samuel Ersson, 6’2, 176 lbs, G
The top goalie prospect in the system, Samuel put up a .926 GAA and a .0911 sv% in the SHL for Brynas IF. As everyone knows, goalies have most unpredictable developments paths compared to any other position in hockey, maybe sports. You just don’t really know what you have in a goalie until pretty late in their careers. With Ersson, the Flyers have a technically sound, 6’2 goalie who has only trended upwards since being selected by Ron Hextall 143rd overall in 2018.
Looking forward to watching more of Ersson.
Samu Tuomaala, 5’10, 176lbs, RW
Drafted by the Flyers 46th overall in the 2021 NHL draft, Tuomaala possesses one of the best pure shots in the draft class. A player that despite his size, plays with a high-motor and isn’t afraid to hit you. I like this play by Samu, he passes through the neutral zone with speed and gets the puck behind the defense, delivering a nice hit. A good way to get yourself comfortable in the beginning of the game. Follow that thread if you want to see some overview of Samu’s game in that medal game vs Sweden.
Chuck seems to be going with the mentality of draft pure shooters. Last year with Tyson Foerster and now this year with Samu. Flyers fans won’t have to worry about yelling “shoot” once these guys hit the ice in O&B.
Isaac Ratcliffe, 6’5, 194 lbs, LW
Ratcliffe hasn’t had the best start to his pro career. A big player, 6’5, there’s already a learning curve going from the OHL to a pro league like the AHL. Add in the fact that bigger players like Ratcliffe take a little longer to find their games. Ratcliffe scored 6G-9A-15P in 53 games in his first season as a pro. He followed that up with an injury riddled season which saw him put up 2G-6A-8P in 22 games. Ratcliffe didn’t have any help from the injury gods to begin with, having to miss the beginning of training camp with a fractured rib.
Really hope Isaac can stay healthy and find his game. We know he’s a skilled player, you don’t score 50 goals in the OHL by accident. Don’t care what league it is, that’s impressive.
There are still other prospects that I’m going to be keeping an eye on in camp. Linus Sandin is someone who really camp on strong towards the end of the season with the Phantoms. Mason Millman and Linus Hogberg both had solid 1st years as professionals, I’m looking forward to seeing them on the Phantoms next year. Matthew Strome is another prospect that has had trouble finding his footing. He was loaned the ECHL last year where he put up 3G-4A-7P in 26 games. Max Willman earned himself a 2-year, two-way deal after showing some scoring touch and putting up 9G-7A-16P in 30 games.
Olle Lycksell is playing on the second-line on his team in Sweden right now, going scoreless in his preseason game a day ago. Lycksell scored 9G-12A-21P in 46 games in the SHL. He’s a smaller sized winger with good hands and decent scoring touch. We saw Maksim Sushko play in 2 games for the Flyers last year, one being that awful Lake Tahoe game. Sushko played in 2 games with the Flyers, 9 games with the Phantoms and 30 games for the Dinamo Minsk of the KHL (2G-3A-5P in 30 games).
Goalie prospects Felix Sandstrom played in 11 games posting a 3.19 GAA & a .903 sv%. Ustimenko played in Belarus last season posting a 2.50 GAA & a .910 sv% for HK Gomel.
2021 NHL Draft Picks
46th overall: Already spoke about Samu Tuomaala
78th overall: Alexei Kolosov is a 19 year old goalie from Belrus who put up a 3-5-1 record, .911 SV% and a 2.69 GAA last season in the KHL. Kolosov will head back to the KHL for his 2020-2021 season.
110th overall: Brian Zanetii is a 6’2, 172 lb defensemen who is 9G-20A-29P in 41 games for Lugano U20 because the OHL didn’t have a season. Brian is ready to go play in the OHL for the Peterborough Petes next year.
158th overall: Tye Murchison is a 6’2, 192 lb, left-shooting defenseman who is committed to Arizona State University next season. Murchison scored 7G-8A-15P in 48 games on the USNDTP last year.
174th overall: Ethan Samson is a 6’3 and 183 lbs defenseman that scored 1G-11A-12P in 22 games in the WHL last season.
206th overall: Owen McLaughlin is a 6’0 165 lbs center that’s committed to Penn State starting in the 2022-2023 season, McLaughlin scored 16G-38A-54P in 33 games with Mount St. Charles Academy 18U AAA.
Mandatory Credit: David Chan/Halifax Mooseheads, Capfriendly.com, eliteprosepcts.com