Upon the arrival of the 2022-2023 season, the Philadelphia Flyers’ youth and depth present the brightest points in the current roster.
Perspective and expectations go hand-in-hand. This Flyers team isn’t expected to break into the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Chuck Fletcher seeks to stabilize the roster. In this rebuild, the progression in the development of the prospects is critical.
Philadelphia must become more inexpensive. Their usage of the thirteenth forward or seventh defenseman just might create a future for a prospect on Broad Street.
Last season was putrid, but prospects did make an impression under Mike Yeo. Furthermore, some of the prospects who made a strong impression in 2021-2022 received praise at the 2022 Flyers Development Camp. Who might find their way back into an NHL lineup in 2022-2023?
Max Willman and Noah Cates make the most sense in terms of a thirteenth forward. Cates, in sixteen games, totaled nine points (5G, 4A) in a season where he made his NHL debut. Willman has 41 games of NHL experience following 2021-2022.
Cates jumps off the screen. “The Kids Line,” with Morgan Frost and Owen Tippett began to find a groove. In some situations, Yeo stuck Cates on the top line in 2021-2022. In a 4-1 loss to the Minnesota Wild, Joel Farabee and Cam Atkinson improved with Cates after he swapped with James van Riemsdyk.
Willman flashed game-changing two-way potential in 2021-2022. His puck control might be his greatest asset.
Of the two, Cates has the best chance to break back into the lineup. He contributed at a more efficient rate last season and there is more opportunity for a forward to crack the lineup in an LW role. Farabee isn’t confirmed to be in the lineup on opening night. Without him in his first-line role, van Riemsdyk and Scott Laughton jump forward, leaving “The Kids Line” available for a 2022-2023 reunion.
Honorable Mentions: Isaac Ratcliffe, Jackson Cates, and Wade Allison
Nick Seeler and Kevin Connauton make the most sense. Both become unrestricted free agents at the end of 2023-2024. Justin Braun is only signed on through 2022-2023. These three veterans fill out the bottom of the defense while Ronnie Attard, Linus Hogberg, and Yegor Zamula become the prime focus in Lehigh Valley.
Seeler and Connauton provided similar production in 2021-2022. Connauton displayed more finesse, especially in the OZ. Often, Seeler was aggressive in the OZ, sacrificing defensive positioning. Overall, Connauton elevated the partner on his pair more than Seeler. Additionally, and as a forward, Connauton tallied an assist during a road victory against the St. Louis Blues.
Versatility is a vital factor, especially when Philadelphia needs all the help in the world.
Fletcher could favor Seeler, but Connauton passed the eye test in 2021-2022 comparably. Connauton does have the smaller cap heading into the season.
Honorable Mentions: Ronnie Attard
Fletcher said as much about Troy Grosenick on the day he announced his signing with a flurry of other names. He will compete with Felix Sandstrom and Samuel Ersson for the 2G role in 2022-2023.
(Photo by Joshua Sarner/Icon Sportswire)