Training Camp has already come and gone for the Philadelphia Flyers, who are turning their attention to a season-opener that promises to be filled with fireworks. The front office are putting the final touches on the 23-man roster in preparation for the game against Pittsburgh and this will likely mean saying a temporary goodbye to many of the rookies and prospects who have been competing over this past week. One of those players, Zayde Wisdom, drew some praise from high places just before the curtains closed.
A wise selection
The Flyers selected Wisdom in the fourth-round of this years’ NHL Draft. Trading picks 116 and 147 in order to secure his services with pick 94, the team clearly saw something in the 5’10, 195 lbs, center.
With the OHL season currently on hold, Wisdom was able to practice with the Flyers and partake in their intra-squad scrimmage. He may only be 18-years-old, but he wasted no time in making his presence felt.
Wisdom was more than happy to launch his body into an opponent on more than one occasion. There was a distinct level of physicality visible in Wisdom’s play. He was more than willing to block shots and set the tone on the forecheck. It became apparent early TSN’s ranked him as their 71st- best player going into the Draft.
“I’ve been impressed by him [Wisdom].” Alain Vigneault said after the scrimmage on Sunday. “His skating ability, his feistiness in one on one battles. We saw a lot of that tonight. I liked what this young man has brought on the ice every time. Obviously very young player. He has come here and worked extremely hard and is competing.”
Wisdom poured in 59 points for the OHL’s Kingston Frontenacs across 62 games last year, sitting only behind Shane Wright, who could well be a future top-5 pick. That kind of prolific production obviously demands attention and after having a week of going up against some prime NHL talent, it’s safe to say that the early signs are very promising.
“I thought he looked great out there.” Kevin Hayes said on Sunday evening. “He works hard. You know what he brings. He brings a heavy game and I thought he looked totally normal.”
What does 2021 hold for Zayde Wisdom?
After missing a day of practice earlier in the week, Wisdom was not only keen to make up for lost time but also soak up as much of the experience as he could. After all, his short-term future from a competitive hockey perspective remains up in the air.
The OHL originally made plans for a 40-game season, but those were thwarted a few weeks back. The league later announced an indefinite delay to its 2021 campaign.
Wisdom will be in the same boat as first-round pick Tyson Foerster, gently sailing over desolate waters in the hopes that the OHL will be able to find a way to proceed with the season safely amidst pandemic guidelines.
Until then, Zayde Wisdom can hold his head high having left a positive mark on the organization that drafted him and players who could well be teammates in just a few short years.
Photo Credit: Alex Mcintyre