Flyers Prospects Mailbag: The Expansion Draft Factor

John Prospect Mailbag
Mandatory Credit: Derrik Bobb

In this week’s edition of “Flyers Prospects Mailbag”, we touch on a variety of great topics. We dive into the questionable decision not to offer some of Philadelphia blueline prospects entry-level contracts. We also discuss what effect the upcoming expansion draft may have on decisions being made about some prospects.

There’s a lot to talk about this week so let’s get right to it.

I am not going to sit here and say that I have a ton of sources. That would be a lie. However, I am lucky enough to be in touch with someone close to the Wyatte Wylie situation. After developmental camp, he was invited to stay in the area and train. He is doing just that. There is hope that he will receive his entry-level contract after a strong training camp. Of course, this translates into him playing for Lehigh Valley next season. Unfortunately, all of the AHL-level signings Chuck Fletcher has made throw a wrench into that plan.

Wylie needs to be in the AHL next season. Keeping him in the WHL another year does little to furth his development. Still, the chances seem slim now with all the new bodies ready to man the blueline in Lehigh Valley.

This is a great question, Shayne. Even though Chuck Fletcher’s main focus will be winning this season, he won’t be able to ignore the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft looming in the not-so-distant future.

The rules for this expansion draft will be the same as they were in 2017 with Vegas. Each franchise can protect either seven forwards, three defensemen, and one goal or eight skaters and one goalie. Of course, those eight skaters can be any mix of forwards and defensemen.

As far as players exempt from selection, let’s just focus on the rules as it pertains to prospects. All first and second-year players are exempt. Additionally, unsigned draft choices are exempt as well. Of course, this means if a top prospect makes the NHL roster this season and sticks, they would have to be protected or exposed in the expansion draft.

I understand your train of thought with keeping the top prospects in Lehigh Valley for one year. This prevents the Flyers from having to protect or expose someone like Morgan Frost or Joel Farabee. However, if a prospect demonstrates that they are ready to be an effective contributor in Philadelphia, I still think Fletcher will award them with a roster spot. He’s focused on putting forth the best roster possible. If a prospect is involved in that equation, they will play.

David Kase showed some promise with the Phantoms last season. His 23 points in 40 games were far from “shock and awe” status. Still, the numbers were respectable. For me, he is still on the outside looking in when it comes to becoming a constant presence in the NHL. There is still a lot to prove and the Flyers have a plethora of prospects with more upside. Right now, it’s difficult for me to picture him anywhere else but Lehigh Valley. Of course, that can always change with a strong outing this upcoming season.

Austin, I completely agree with you. David Bernhardt, Linus Hogberg, and Wyatte Wylie all deserve entry-level contracts and roster spots in Lehigh Valley. Unfortunately, it looks unlikely to happen before the start of this season. Chuck Fletcher signed a lot of AHL defensemen in free agency and they will be the ones manning the blueline for the Phantoms.

Yes, they are. With Felix Sandstrom and Kirill Ustimenko now in North America, there will be no need for Alex Lyon after this season.

Matthew Strome is a prospect that I am very high on. He is equipped with an offensive skill set that the Flyers desperately need. His one downside will always be his skating. However, it became less and less of an issue as he continued to develop in Hamilton. I only expect that upward trend to continue. Now, it’s important that we remain patient with Strome. He has serious middle-six potential in the NHL. However, it may take two seasons in the AHL for him to be completely ready. Luckily, being patient is something the Flyers can afford to be at this point.

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