In this week’s “Flyers Prospects Mailbag” we touch on a variety of topics. We discuss the top give prospects in the organization, some other names to keep and eye on, the future of the defense, and other odds and ends.
Let’s rock and roll!
Are we still considering Carter Hart a prospect? I think we should. If that’s the case, he’s the obvious pick for the top prospect in the Flyers organization. After Hart, I’d go Morgan Frost, Philippe Myers, Isaac Ratcliffe, and Joel Farabee. After those five prospects, you can create different variations of six through about 15 that I’d respect.
For the most improved prospect, I’m going with Yegor Zamula. First off, he was essentially unknown before Ron Hextall sign him to an entry-level contract. Even if you disregard that, Zamula is making serious strides in his development this season. From an offensive standpoint, he’s gone from recording 18 points last season to 53 this year. The kid is showing some serious signs of potentially becoming a top-four defenseman in the NHL down the road.
Perfect segue into Robert’s first question. I love when that happens! Yes, I believe that Zamula has the potential to become a second or third pairing defenseman for the Flyers in the future. I do believe he’s still a few years away, however. It would not be shocking if he has a rocky first year in the AHL but there is tremendous upside to his game.
Robert, Morgan Frost will already be on the Flyers by the middle of the season. That is because he is going to make the team out of camp. I’ve said that since I started doing these and I’m sticking to my guns.
Both Felix Sandstrom and Samuel Ersson have the potential to one day become Carter Hart’s backup. However, this will be a few years down the road. I believe the Flyer are set on the idea of a battle-tested netminder behind Hart for the next few seasons. This is fine because it gives the younger goalies more time to develop. If I had to choose between Sandstrom and Ersson, I’d go with Sandstrom. He will be in Lehigh Valley next year getting used to playing in North America.
Matthew Strome is the name that stands out the most for me. The skill and production has always been there. Just looking at this year, he’s on fire with 76 points through 63 games. However, he’s been a victim of the “poor skater” stigma that curbs expectations for most. Strome really has what it takes to be a successful player at the NHL level and will prove it if we are willing to give him the necessary time to develop.
Another player that will surprise fans is Wyatte Wylie. The former fifth-round has incredible offensive ability as a defenseman. With the game, demanding offensive production from the blueline, he has the potential to make a real impact one day.
Jay O’Brien has been a bit of a mystery to me since the Ron Hextall took him 19th-overall last June. I was surprised to the Hingham, Massachusetts native selected so early on. Yes, his numbers at Thayer Academy numbers were remarkable but I felt they were slightly deceiving due to the level of competition. Now that he’s almost finished with his first season at Providence, I’m still uncertain of what kind of player O’Brien will become. His speed stands out as a major asset that can bring him far, however, his performance this season did little to convince me of top-six potential. Can he make a mark in the NHL as a reliable top-six to top-nine forward? Sure he can! He wouldn’t have been selected in the first round without that upside. However, I would not be shocked if he does not pan out either. We all need to be patient with his develop as I expect he is still a few years away
Ian, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Morgan Frost will be on the Flyers to start the 2019-20 NHL regular season.
It is possible. Personally, I’d like to see them both with a more experienced partner. If Philadelphia determines that Sam Morin is ready to be a constant on the defensive unit next season, the pairings might look something like this:
Ivan Provorov & Travis Sanheim
Shayne Gostisbehere & Philippe Myers
Radko Gudas & Samuel Morin
I go back and forth with this one Phil. For most of this year, I was of the mindset that he will not sign his entry-level contract after this season. I’ve wavered from this stance a few times, however, I am back to believing he will play his senior year at Ohio State and then possibly sign the ELC after next season. At the end of the day, I would not be entirely shocked if the Flyers decided not to sign Tanner Laczynski to a contract at all.
Thank you so much to all of the people who provided questions for Flyers Prospects Mailbag! If you missed out this week, keep an eye on Twitter for my next request for your prospect questions.
Mandatory Credit: Catalina Fragoso-USA TODAY Sports