In this “Flyers Prospects Mailbag” we spend a great deal of time discussing prospects that could join the Lehigh Valley Phantoms next season.
Let’s get this party started!
Chuck Fletcher’s decision to trade Anthony Stolarz to the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for Cam Talbot made it quite clear that he prefers having a veteran to back up Carter Hart next season. For the most part, I have to agree with him. Yes, Stolarz played a solid few games but there was still some uncertainty on whether he could maintain that level of play. When having a younger starting goalie, it is in any team’s benefit to have an experienced back up that knows the ropes. I’m still uncertain who that veteran netminder will be next season. When Fletcher acquired Talbot, he was the name that made the most sense. However, Brian Elliott is making a strong case and Talbot has received very little opportunities.
In regards to Felix Sandstrom and Alex Lyon, neither of them will be relied upon for steady NHL action next season. I feel that Sandstrom is the current favorite to eventually take over the back up duties but that will be two or three seasons down the road. As for Lyon, I do not think he will be any more than an AHL goalie for the Flyers and the team will cut ties with him after next year.
Hey Michael, thank you for all of the questions. Let’s tackle these bad boys one at a time. The Phantoms could potentially have a fantastic class of rookies next season. The two names on the top of the last are Isaac Ratcliffe and Matthew Strome. Both players have had fantastic junior careers in the OHL, and I expect the same at the AHL level. You might be wondering why Morgan Frost is not mentioned with those two. That is because he will be with the Flyers to start next season. Other players you may see on the Phantoms next season include Kirill Ustimenko, Joel Farabee, Wade Allison, Tanner Laczynski, Wyatt Kalynuk, Felix Sandstrom, and Linus Hogberg.
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I do believe that both Sandstrom and Ustimenko will be in Lehigh Valley next season. This puts the franchise in a precarious in regards to Alex Lyon. The Phantoms will most likely keep three goalies but put Lyon at the bottom of their priority list. His future with the organization will not go beyond next season.
As of right now, I think that Yegor Zamula’s upside is greater than Linus Hogberg. I believe that he has more offensive potential and blueliners that can contribute offensively are very valuable in today’s NHL.
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: AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh