Over the past 5 years, ever since Ron Hextall was named General Manager, his voice and motto has been “Build through the draft”. Now, 5 years later, the Flyers have probably one of the deepest prospect pools in the whole entire NHL. With that in mind, we decided to rank the top 10 most exciting prospects ahead of the upcoming season. However, to make this fair to the real prospects, anybody that has played more than 5 games in the NHL, is exempt from this list. So, the following players are not allowed on this list : Ivan Provorov, Travis Konecny, Shayne Gostisbehere, Anthony Stolarz, Jordan Weal, Mike Vecchione, and Scott Laughton.
#10 – Isaac Ratcliffe – 2017 NHL Draft Round 2 Pick 35
Isaac Ratcliffe is a special young prospect due strongly to his size. You don’t find many 6’6” wingers in the draft that have a shot like Isaac. If he develops correctly and learns how to use his size and speed to his advantage, he could become a force in the NHL one day. He will return to the Guelph Storm for the 2017-2018 season.
#9 – Morgan Frost – 2017 NHL Draft Round 1 Pick 27
Morgan Frost to many NHL scouts is going to be the steal of the draft one day for the Flyers. A kid that really flew under the radar last year. However, his hockey IQ and his grit will get him far in the NHL one day. Picture him as what the Flyers did when they drafted Giroux, a kid that needed time and developed at his own speed. If the Flyers take the same approach with Frost, he can become a player very similar-to Giroux one day. He will return to the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds for the 2017-2018 season.
#8 – Felix Sandstrom – 2015 NHL Draft Round 3 Pick 70
Felix Sandstrom is the unknown goalie prospect to most Flyer fans. With Sandstrom playing in Europe, and being overshadowed by his teammate Oskar Lindblom, he has flown under Flyers fans radar. However, the kid can flat out play. A normal and regular starter now in net for the past 2 years, Sandstrom has played in the Swedish Elite League since the age of 17. He and Carter Hart will form a powerful tandem for the Flyers for years to come. Many believe he is the readiest goalie in the Flyers system and could see him backstopping the Flyers as early as next year. However, he will be the starting goalie for Brynas for the 2017-2018 season.
#7 – Sam Morin – 2013 NHL Draft Round 1 Pick 11
Sam Morin is a monster defenseman who has really taken his time developing at his own speed. All that developing has finally paid off as he made his NHL debut in late 2017. His 6’7” 220-pound frame really makes him a true defensive defenseman in the NHL today. If all goes well look for him and Shayne Gostisbehere to be paired together this year for the Flyers and for many seasons to come.
#6 – German Rubstov – 2016 NHL Draft Round 1 Pick 22
German Rubstov is another unknown prospect who really fell down the draft board due to the fact of the doping scandal of the Russian U18 team. However, if Rubstov develops correctly, he has the ability to be the next great Russian in the NHL. It is unknown where he will play in 2017-2018, but if he chooses he can turn pro and join the Phantoms due to the fact that he came from Europe during the middle of the season last year.
#5 – Philippe Myers – Undrafted Rookie Free Agent
Philippe Myers could become the best undrafted free agent to ever make it in the NHL. A player the flew under everybody’s radar for 2 whole years until Ron Hextall signed him after his first rookie camp with the Flyers. Myers has dealt with injuries over the past couple of years, however, his size and his offensive ability has him in a great spot to be a great NHL player. And did I mention he is a right-handed shot. A very rare thing in the NHL. He will start the year with the Phantoms, but a strong camp could lead to Ron Hextall making a move to clear a spot for him on the opening night roster. If not, look for him to be a call up candidate when an injury presents itself.
#4 – Travis Sanheim – 2014 NHL Draft Round 1 Pick 17
Travis Sanheim is going to be a force one day in the NHL. A kid that many believed was drafted way too high in 2014, has made steady progress in becoming a NHLer in recent years with strong seasons for Calgary and now a very productive and strong season for the Phantoms. Sanheim needs a tad more seasoning playing more minutes for the Phantoms and could also be a candidate for a call up at some point during the season for the Flyers.
#3 – Carter Hart – 2016 NHL Draft Round 2 Pick 48
Carter Hart is going to be a Vezna Trophy winner one day in the NHL. His size and speed combination has drawn comparisons to Brayden Holtby and Sergei Bobrovski. If Hart could become even half of one of those two, he will make Flyers fans very happy one day. He will be the starter for Everett for the 2017-2018 season and looks like the day 1 starter for Canada at the World Juniors.
#2 – Oskar Lindblom – 2014 NHL Draft Round 5 Pick 138
Oskar Lindblom is going to be a star for the Flyers next year. This kid is a big speedy winger, who has come a long way since he was drafted. Being named the best young player in the SHL last year has really got this kid noticed. I have been a strong believer in this kid since they drafted him. I think he will make the team out of camp and be on a line with either Couts and Simmonds or Patrick and Konecny. Will be one of the Flyers many rookie of the year candidates next season.
#1 – Nolan Patrick – 2017 NHL Draft Round 1 Pick 2
Nolan Patrick was breed for the NHL. A kid who has been the main stay #1 pick in the 2017 draft since 2014 when he went #1 in the CHL import draft as an early enter. The Flyers got extremely lucky with his injury last year and the emergence of Nico Hischer. As Bob McKenzie said on draft night, “This kid has nowhere else to go, if you send him back to juniors he won’t learn anything”, Patrick will be on the Flyers next year. He has drawn comparisons to Chicago great Jonathan Toews for his two-way style of play and his offensive abilities. Look for him to slot in as the #2 center right away next year and have at least Travis Konecny as one of his wingers and hopefully Oskar Lindblom as the other.
A couple of guys that were close to the list are Robert Hagg, Alex Lyon, Wade Allison, just to name a few. But because of great drafting and how deep the Flyers prospect pool is, everybody cannot make the list.
Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports