Previously, I reviewed the Philadelphia Flyers forward prospects with ten or more games to their 2021-2022 resume. Overall, there are more things to be excited about than not. Bobby Brink didn’t flounder in the top six. Owen Tippett and Noah Cates are critical factors in “The Kids Line,” centered by Morgan Frost. They are ready to partake in their assumed roles in 2022-2023.
Those feelings remain the same regarding the current defensive prospects from the 2022-2023 season. Some of these prospects could require additional development with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, but they provided brighter moments on a defense lost in the dark. Defensively, the Flyers relied on top pair Justin Braun, a rotation of Nick Seeler and Kevin Connauton, and Keith Yandle, who became a healthy scratch after collecting his ironman streak. Philadelphia is desperate for a youth movement of sound defensemen to gel with Ivan Provorov, Travis Sanheim, Rasmus Ristolainen, and Ryan Ellis.
These three defensive prospects made an impression in 2021-2022. None of them were in the lineup on opening night. In the 4-2 loss to the Ottawa Senators, concluding the season, half of the defense iced by Mike Yeo were prospects.
How did they do, and what might their placement be in 2022-2023?
I was ready for York to appear in the lineup on opening night for the Philadelphia Flyers. A day-one lineup featuring York meant Yandle wouldn’t have been necessary. Nonetheless, he began the season with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. Finally, his second stint began in Anaheim, a 4-1 loss.
He played 30 games in 2021-2022, where half were against playoff opponents. Against the best of the NHL, York touts a 49.1%CF with 9HIT and 24BLK against the 2022 NHL Stanley Cup playoff bracket. Offensively, York totaled seven points (3G, 4A) versus playoff opponents. That accounts for all the goals he scored and most of his assists.
In 2022-2023, York has to be in the lineup on opening night. He can play on both sides of the ice but usually is an LD. Expect York to be the 3LD next season.
Featured in fifteen games, Attard made his NHL debut in 2021-2022. Seeler and Connauton were injured, allowing Attard to debut at 3RD. Ten days later, York and Ristolainen exited the lineup. Attard had to learn to swim against the current at the NHL level.
Attard played six games against the current 2022 Stanley Cup playoff bracket. Three included York and Ristolainen in the lineup. It’s interesting to note how he did with them in the lineup (40.7%CF, 7HIT, 2BLK)versus a worse lineup following April 12th, 2022 (49.5%CF, 5HIT, 6BLK.) His only point against a playoff opponent was from when he sniped the upper corner above Jack Campbell.
Cap space could bind the Philadelphia Flyers this offseason. Simon Nemec could stare Chuck Fletcher in the face at the 2022 NHL Entry Draft, but if a forward is selected fifth overall, Attard isn’t a bad option at 3RD in 2022-2023. Nonetheless, this is a critical offseason for Attard.
Zamula played ten games in 2021-2022. Four of those games were against playoff teams. At least two defensive starters were out of the lineup in each performance. Zamula was recalled on January 6th, 2022, versus the Pittsburgh Penguins. During that game, the Philadelphia Flyers were without Provorov, Sanheim, and Ellis.
Later in the season, Zamula was recalled on April 13th, 2022, versus the New York Rangers. He remained in the lineup for the remainder of the season. Zamula played well against the current playoff spread (70.7%CF, 4HIT, 6BLK) but his overall numbers fell back to Earth (46.7%CF, 5HIT, 19BLK, 3TK) by the conclusion.
Provorov, Sanheim, and York likely set the LD in 2022-2023. Zamula is shaping to be a seventh defenseman in the Flyers system.
(Photo by Gregory Fisher/Icon Sportswire)