Can the Flyers find their next diamond in the rough at rookie camp?

Flyers warmup at Wells Fargo Center

2020 might have been a bitter disappointment for the Philadelphia Flyers, but there were a few bright spots along the way. Several young guns were able to show continued signs of development. With rookie camp kicking off tomorrow, it’s fair to wonder if the team will be able to find another diamond the rough.

When asked about the players who shined brightest at the recent rookie minicamp, a few names came to the mind of Assistant GM Brent Flahr.

Brian Zanetti

Selected in the fourth round of this year’s NHL Draft, Brian Zanetti produced 29pts in the Swiss U20 league, and captained their U18 team. In the season prior, he recorded a further 27 points in 38 appearances. He’s a smooth skater with excellent passing vision in transition, playing in the mold of Cam York.

I think Brian Zanetti, a young Swiss defenseman. He’s going to Peterborough in the OHL this year. For a kid that came over, I don’t know how many times he’s even been to North America, to come in get acclimated to play, to fit in, and just keeps getting better every day. He’s a really interesting guy. All of our kids from this past year have come in here and shown well for themselves. We’ll get into the games here and see how they fare against older players. Yeah, so far, so good.

Brent Flahr

Elliott Desnoyers

The Flyers famously moved up to acquire Elliott Desnoyers, trading away a pair of seventh-round picks to Nashville.

At 5’11, 172 lbs, the left-winger started his 2020 season in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey league with Halifax after a trade. He played in 6 games, tallying just as many points (2G, 4A) before the season was put on hold. But it’s what Desnoyers did during his time with Moncton in the year before that stood out.

Desnoyers didn’t leap off the chart statistically. He appeared in 61 games for Moncton in 2019, posting 11 goals and 24 assists, on the back of a season where he recorded 31 points in just as many games. He spent a lot of time on the team’s fourth line, meaning exposure to minutes and stronger supporting talent was often limited. But what did leap off the screen were his fundamental traits.

It’s no surprise that the Flyers assistant GM is excited about his progress. His connection with John Torchetti, who coached Desnoyers for the first half last year, played a vital role in his drafting. After a strong 2020 campaign and an even stronger development camp, Desnoyers may be the player best poised to steal the show tomorrow.

A kid that’s been hurt, but he’s been around here all summer is Elliott Desnoyers. Just a real impressive kid who’s one of those kids you talk to and he’ll sit and talk hockey all day long. He’s down there talking to the veteran guys. He’s learning every day. His work ethic and determination are off the charts. I think when he’s 100%, when he leaves here, he’s going to have a tremendous season. Hopefully he gets to take part in some games or at least playing against the veterans and real hockey here as well.

– Brent Flahr

Photo Credit: Alex McIntyre