Flyers Prospects Mailbag: Hindsight is 20/20

One of my favorite sayings about life, in general, is “hindsight is 20/20.” Most likely, you have heard this one before, but it means that it’s easy to determine the right thing to do after something has already happened.

This old saying is the theme of this week’s Flyers Prospects Mailbag. Two of our questions involve revisiting particular draft picks and discussing whether or not the Flyers should have made a different decision. Then, we finish things off with discussing where some of the prospects will play next season.

Let’s rock n’ roll!

I’m drafting Morgan Frost every time. The young center has been setting the Ontario Hockey League on fire the past two seasons, and I don’t see why that cannot continue at the professional level. Nothing against Eeli Tolvanen, I’m just optimistic on how the future looks with Frost on the Flyers.

It’s challenging to make a judgment like this so early. These two prospects were drafted only two years ago, neither of them receiving an extended opportunity to put their stamp on the NHL. There is a lot of uncertainty with what the Flyers are going to look like next season. However, I believe that Frost will be in Philadelphia. If we revisit this question in a year or two, we might be talking about other franchises that missed their chance at drafting Frost.

Nolan Patrick is off to a slow start, producing only 10 points in 25 games. As the second overall pick in 2017, we can say he’s struggling to live up to expectations. Now, we can’t go too far and claim that the young center will never reach those expectations. However, it is difficult to ignore the dominance of a center that was taken three picks after him.

Elias Pettersson is looking like this year’s Calder Trophy winner and proving he has what it takes to be an elite player in the National Hockey League. To this point, Pettersson has played 71 fewer games than Patrick and is only eights points behind him. Patrick has recorded 40 points in his short NHL career while Pettersson has posted 32.

I am a big Nolan Patrick supporter, and I think he is still going to turn into a legitimate number-one center. However, Pettersson’s early success cannot be ignored. If we were to hit the reset button on the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, I’d have to go with Pettersson over Patrick.

So I think I can answer part one of your question by focussing on part two first. The list of prospects that can make the Flyers opening night roster next season is not too extensive. First off, we need to talk about Nic Aube-Kubel and Mikhail Vorobyev. Both players are candidates to make the opening night roster next season. However, they could become mainstays on the Flyers earlier than that. You never know how this roster is going to look by this season’s end, and Aube-Kubel and Vorobyev both deserve longer looks in the NHL.

Moving on to players, the shortlist of prospects I think can crack the Flyers roster next season includes Carter Hart, Morgan Frost, and Philippe Myers. Although Hart has had an up-and-down first year with the Phantoms, I do not see a situation where he doesn’t become the 1B goaltender to a veteran 1A option. With Frost, I see him fitting into that 3C spot nicely. Of course, this all depends on the outside personnel Chuck Fletcher brings in to improve the roster. Myers is a different story altogether. With the issues the Flyers blueline is currently facing, I’m puzzled why he is not receiving his opportunity now. However, there are no signs pointing to this happening, making next season his time to make the team. If he doesn’t make the Flyers roster next season, management needs to start re-evaluating their plan for the young defenseman.

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

 

John Gove covers prospects within the Philadelphia Flyers farm system for Philly Sports Network. Follow him on Twitter at @JohnPGove.

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