Flyers Prospects Mailbag: Can future stars fix the Penalty Kill?

DALLAS, TX – JUNE 23: Wyatte Wylie speaks to the media after being selected 127th overall by the Philadelphia Flyers during the 2018 NHL Draft at American Airlines Center on June 23, 2018 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

In the inaugural edition of “Flyers Prospects Mailbag”, we tackle questions regarding Wyatte Wylie, German Rubtsov, Matthew Strome, and the penalty kill.

Let’s get right to it, shall we?

I am very high on Wyatte Wylie as well. Not only does he have one of the best names in all of hockey, but he also has the potential to be a very productive offensive-defenseman. He’s a key reason Everett is having early success this season and he’s on track to have the best offensive season of his career. After recording 31 points in 72 games last season, Wylie already has 15 in 17 games this year. He’s proving to be quite the asset on the power play as well, registering 10 of his 13 points during those opportunities. What stands out the most for me at this point in time is the high volume of shots he is producing. With 56 registered shot on goal thus far, Wylie ranks fourth on his team in that category. As a blueliner, frequently putting the puck on the net can lead to loads of success. He certainly needs more time to develop his game, but Wyatte Wylie is a prospect that deserves our attention.

I’m of the mindset that Morgan Frost should be with the Flyers next year. However, we all know how Ron Hextall works at this point. He refuses to rush his prospects and that can always play a role in whether Frost is in Philadelphia or Lehigh Valley next season.

We need to keep in mind how Hextall operates when discussing Rubtsov as well. Yes, he is experiencing early success with Lehigh Valley. However, Hextall would much rather have him spend a whole year in the AHL and be one of the team’s top scorers instead of rushing up to the NHL. Personally, I would not mind Rubtsov seasoning in the AHL for a full season. Confidence and aggressiveness in the offensive zone is something he needed to improve on this season. He is certainly demonstrating that he has so far and Lehigh Valley provides him with the opportunity for continued growth in that area. 

Fixing the penalty kill is a complicated process without a simple answer. First, the problem with the penalty kill can be a few different things. Yes, the players being deployed plays a role, however, so does the coaching and the system that is run. Identifying prospects that will succeed on the PK at the NHL level is also tricky. Still, I can give you one player that has the necessary skill set to thrive in that role. Brendan Warren is a solid two-way forward that stresses the importance of his defensive game just as much as his offensive game. He’s physical, fast, willing to lay out his body, and demonstrates a strong work ethic. I think he has the qualities to develop to into a quality penalty-killer for the Flyers.

Matthew Strome’s skating continues to improve. The reality is that skating will always be an area Strome needs to work on. Luckily, he is aware and is always putting in the work. He trained with figure skater, Barbara Underhill, over the summer and is making noticeable progress. The important thing is that Strome is determined to be a better skater. As long as he maintains a strong work ethic, Strome will have serviceable skating skill at the NHL level with plenty of other talents to compensate.

Thank you so much to all of the people who provided questions for this week’s mailbag! If you missed out this week, keep an on Twitter for my next request for your prospect questions.


Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images