We’re all in the dark about the future of the 2019-2020 NHL season. If the season continues and we do witness playoff hockey, the timing on all of the offseason signings wound need to be readjusted. As we steer into the unknown regarding the 2019-2020 NHL season status, it’s worth looking towards prospects in the Philadelphia Flyers system who could be next in line to receive an entry-level contract at their position. Recently, Wyatte Wylie was the newest unsigned player to be offered an entry-level contract with the Flyers. Heading into the 2020-2021 season, these are the players with the highest likelihood to receive an entry-level offer:
Center – Flyers Prospects
The four lines at the center position are completely figured out at the NHL level. That’s all Travis Konecny, Sean Couturier, Claude Giroux, and Scott Laughton. Derek Grant is the unrestricted free agent that I would sign at this position, not Tyler Pitlick. On the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, there is a deep prospect pool that has already been signed. That consists of Morgan Frost, German Rubtsov, and Mikhail Vorobyev.
To compete for an opportunity on the AHL roster, prepare for a battle between Nathan Noel and Tanner Laczynski. Noel played most of his games in 2019-2020 with the South Carolina Stingrays in the ECHL. Lascynski had a better season in comparison with Ohio State University. This leaves a battle for the fourth line on the Lehigh Valley Phantoms roster. If I am Chuck Fletcher, I’m offering Lascynski an entry-level contract for the 2020-2021 season. Noel is also in the last year of his contract in the Philadelphia Flyers system.
Left-Wing – Flyers Prospects
Wing forwards are scarce on the Philadelphia Flyers. At any time, I would expect to see an AHL player or two fill in during the Flyers season at either wing. This point of discussion is regarding the left-wing. James van Riemsdyk and Michael Raffl are the two left-wingers occupying the Philadelphia roster exclusively. Joel Farabee and Andy Andreoff are on the Lehigh Valley Phantoms roster as left-wingers who saw NHL playing time.
A lot could happen with the wing position. A forward that already has been on the Philadephia Flyers roster this season could see time at the wing position. That player could be Tyler Pitlick. A true left-winger in the Flyers system that is worth a shot is Olle Lycksell. The positive about Lycksell is that he is versatile, playing left-wing and center.
Right-Wing – Flyers Prospect
While Olle Lycksell could also fit in the description as a depth right-winger in the AHL, there is another prospect worth an entry-level contract for the right-wing specifically. Jakub Voracek and Kevin Hayes are the two players that will be the main right-wingers on the Philadelphia Flyers in 2020-2021. Nicolas Aube-Kubel has earned his keep with the Flyers. David Kase would be the player at the top of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms depth chart at right wing. Wade Allison should be the next in line to receive an entry-level contract at the right-wing.
Between Wade Allison and Olle Lycksell, Allison would be the first winger offered an entry-level contract. There is a spot wide open for Lycksell at the left-wing, but Allison is a true right-winger. Allison will have a lot to prove at the AHL level if he were to receive an entry-level contract. Over his collegiate career at Western Michigan University, it’s arguable that Allison’s best season was his freshman year. In 36 games, Allison scored twelve goals and had seventeen assists, totaling 29 points.
Defense – Flyers Prospect
The depth at the defensive position on the Philadelphia Flyers is the deepest pool of talent. A Flyers prospect was recently offered an entry-level contract. That prospect what defenseman Wyatte Wylie. He’ll be on the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in the 2020-2021 AHL season with the opportunity to catch NHL time at a glance. Wylie just set the WHL on fire with the Everett Silvertips, tallying fifty assists in 62 games.
Wyatte Wiley is the chosen one in this category who also has a relationship with Carter Hart. Philippe Myers, Robert Hagg, and Mark Friedman will more than likely receive offers this upcoming offseason from the Philadelphia Flyers. I truly believe Justin Braun is a Flyer for just this season. Next season, there is room for at least one additional defenseman to be signed to an entry-level contract. Contrary to popular opinion, I wouldn’t sign Wyatt Kalynuk first, but I would extend that offer to Adam Ginning.
Goaltender – Flyers Prospect
Longevity is uncertain with Brian Elliott. This season, he has been remarkable in his role as a backup goaltender, especially on the road. It’s also clear that he has been an outstanding mentor to Carter Hart among other goaltenders throughout his short career. The Philadelphia Flyers have to consider life after Elliott. That life after “Moose,” if for only a season, resides with Alex Lyon.
Keeping with the pace that Alex Lyon is the backup goaltender for the Philadelphia Flyers in 2020-2021, the starting goaltender with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms would be Kirill Ustimenko. That leaves one position available in the AHL for the Flyers to extend an entry-level contract. Ivan Fedotov deserves the contract. He had a much better season in 2019-2020 with the KHL than Felix Sandstrom had in the ECHL. It’s fitting to have a battle for playing time at the AHL level between Sandstrom and Fedotov as a rotational piece to compliment Ustimenko.
These are just five options that the Philadelphia Flyers can add before next season on the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Tanner Laczynski would probably be a fourth-line center on the Phantoms if he were to sign an entry-level contract. The odd man out of all of these options would be Olle Lycksell, who simply doesn’t compete with the body of work that Wade Allison has produced at wing. A case can be made for Wyatt Kalynuk to receive an entry-level contract, but I firmly believe Adam Ginning is the better defensive player. Brian Elliott has performed well enough to earn a one-year extension, but if he doesn’t receive that offer, Alex Lyon is the next man up and Ivan Fedotov may be a better investment than Felix Sandstrom.
In the Philadelphia Flyers system, there is depth at every position. Some of the best prospects aren’t on the radar quite yet to receive an entry-level contract. One of the main focuses that will bring the Flyers success for years to come is the youth in their system across all the positions. Some of the players who are a freshman in college are going to be great for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in about three to four years. What’s great for the Phantoms is usually good for Philadelphia.
Mandatory Credit – NHL.com
Eric is a University of Delaware graduate with a degree in English. While in school, he began writing for different publications such as The Highlight Network, Amps and Greenscreens, and he did color commentary for the University of Delaware Men’s and Women’s lacrosse teams throughout the 2013 season as an alumni. Prior to being featured with Philly Sports Network, he began a pro-wrestling podcast with a childhood friend called the Totally Over Podcast. As an avid sports die-hard for all things Philadelphia, Eric is also a proud supporter of West Virginia University.