This week’s edition of “Flyers Prospects Mailbag” briefly touches on the upcoming draft but primarily focuses on the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
Let’s get right to it, shall we?
Arthur Kaliyev is an intriguing prospect that will certainly be available when the Flyers are on the clock. The 17-year-old forward is equipped with an incredible goal-scoring ability that Philadelphia could desperately use. Additionally, he would join former Hamilton Bulldogs teammate, Matthew Strome, as a member of a promising prospect pool in Philadelphia. However, there are a lot of questions surrounding Kaliyev’s work ethic that provide a few red flags. He appears to be a “boom or bust” prospect and might be a bit too risky to take with the 11th-overall pick. There will be one or two great options at the forward position that will slide out of the top ten. If the Flyers decide to select a forward, which they most likely will, it will be a prospect that falls into that category. So to answer your questions a bit more directly, yes taking Kaliyev with the 11th pick would be a slight reach.
Of the restricted free agents, the only one I’m completely set on them bringing back is Nicolas Aube-Kubel. Although his opportunity to solidify himself in Philadelphia might be passed, he is still a valuable piece to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms puzzle. I’m fine with re-signing Justin Bailey as well, but I’m also okay if the Flyers allow him to go elsewhere. Bailey would be an effective player in Lehigh Valley and can serve as a mentor to the rookies joining the team. However, he’s nothing more than an NHL roster fill in when an injury occurs for the Flyers. As for Vecchione, Bardreau, Graves, and Goulbourne, they do not fit into the Flyers future plans and I do not need them taking up a roster space.
Looking at the unrestricted free agents, keeping one of Varone, Carey, or Froese. Having one of them around to help guide the youth on the team would be fantastic, however, there is no need to keep all three. I’m most interested in retaining either Varone or Carey. In my opinion, Froese should head elsewhere.
As of right now, nothing worth talking about from a prospect standpoint. I have very strong opinions that the main purpose of the AHL is to serve as a developmental league for the NHL. Yes, winning at that level is always nice but it is not the ultimate goal. Currently, the Phantoms have very little going for them in regards to potential NHLers on the blueline. Personally, I enjoy watching Mark Friedman play but he’s the only defenseman with any intrigue at this point.
Part of the reason for this is the Flyers need to start restocking their prospect pool, in regards to defensemen. There promising young blueliners are now in the NHL with Philadelphia. That being said, Chuck Fletcher could bring some of the young defensemen playing elsewhere, such as Wyatte Wylie, Linus Hogberg, and Adam Ginning. Unfortunately, it does not appear like that is going to happen.
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: Derrik Bobb