2022 Flyers Rookie Camp: Top Prospects

Flyers' Noah Cates
NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 03: Philadelphia Flyers Left Wing Noah Cates (49) is pictured prior to the National Hockey League game between the Philadelphia Flyers and the New York Rangers on April 3, 2022 at Madison Square Garden in New York, NY. (Photo by Joshua Sarner/Icon Sportswire)

On the prospect front, the Philadelphia Flyers are mighty this off-season. They’re hungry, eager to contend for an NHL roster spot. Impressions from the 2022 Flyers Development Camp crafted into shape at the 2022 Flyers Rookie Camp. Backed by their performance against the New York Rangers’ rookies, the Flyers’ depth is alive and well.

Ian Laperriere led a solid 2022 Flyers Rookie Camp. A rookie series sweep of the Rangers highlights the prospect pool in Philadelphia.

Tyson Foerster and Olle Lycksell were among the forwards who stood out on offense during the 2022 Flyers Rookie Series. Additionally, Egor Zamula and Ronnie Attard continue to prove Kjell Samuelsson correct. Samuel Ersson received a complete start, standing tall in a 5-1 victory.

Laperriere constructed a fascinating first line. The Cates Brothers displayed their synergy, including Foerster. On back-to-back nights, this line popped off the page. Foerster notched the overtime game-winner last Friday. Jackson, on a two-on-one, notched the primary assist when Noah scored a bang-bang shorthanded goal.

Yesterday, the 2022 Flyers Rookie Camp concluded, yielding these overall observations:

Elliot Desnoyers

Desnoyers and Foerster thrived at the 2022 Philadelphia Flyers Rookie Camp. They are highly-skilled prospects, but the scheduling of the 2022 IIHF World Juniors flowed perfectly into rookie camp. Conditioning is a critical factor, a key emphasis of camps instructed by Laperriere and John Tortorella. Participating in highly skilled competitions, such as the IIHF World Juniors, prepared Desnoyers.

“I came here ready. I wanted to prove some stuff, and I think I did the right thing. Tomorrow is going to be another one and I need to bring more.”

Elliot Desnoyers; 9/16/2022

Fresh out of the 2022 IIHF World Juniors, Desnoyers already began working on parts of his game that needed improvement before entering the professional level. Desnoyers felt at home as a two-way forward, with Team Canada in the bottom six. Taking away the center of the ice is his strength. Notably, he said he feels the most comfortable doing so as a C. Availability is an absolute ability for Desnoyers, proving he can be potent on the wing.

“I prefer center. I think in the defensive zone, I’m more comfortable being in the middle and supporting my guys.”

Elliot Desnoyers; 9/16/2022

In a 2-1 overtime victory, Desnoyers might’ve impressed the most out of the forwards. Yes, Lycksell had the equalizing goal, and Foerster scored the game-winner, but Desnoyers’ defense helped limit the New York Rangers’ chances.

He plays the game ‘the right way.’

The Cates Brothers

Of the forwards attending the 2022 Philadelphia Flyers Rookie Camp, Noah had the best odds of making the NHL roster. He’ll compete during the 2022 Flyers Training Camp to earn the trust of HC Tortorella. In 2021-2022, he mostly played well, translating to 9pts (5G,4A) in 16 games.

The chemistry between him and his brother, Jackson, was clear on the ice. Laperriere built a lineup that piqued curiosity. Not only did The Cates Brothers prove stellar during even-strength hockey, but they also shined against the odds. Jackson led a two-on-one rush on the penalty kill, serving Noah to finish the shorthanded scoring play. Laperriere doesn’t think Noah will travel with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in 2022-2023, hinting towards a surge to the Flyers roster.

Jackson will likely play for Laperriere on the Phantoms in 2022-2023. He’ll be able to build upon his rapport with Foerster, which is already paying off for both parties. With a booming shot, Foerster could convert more than a few crisp passes from Jackson. In 11 games with Philadelphia last season, Jackson tallied one point, a goal against the Montreal Canadiens in an empty Bell Centre.

If Noah continues to build upon his surprising Flyers debut, don’t count out an experiment with Jackson in the NHL. So far, so good.

Tyson Foerster

You cannot help but mention Foerster when discussing other players and their impact in the offensive zone. His fingerprints are all over high-quality scoring chances.

More important than his shooting was an added emphasis on playing physical. Foerster remained every bit the scoring threat he was advertised to be but leaned into using his body to win puck battles. As a shooter, he catches the eye, but Laperriere made a great point in comparing that to Alex Ovechkin.

“If you play at the next level, it’s one thing to score goals, but if it’s the only thing you do, you better do it every night. There’s not too many guys at the next level that to that. They got the guy in Washington who’s pretty good at it, but even him, he’s physical.”

Ian Laperriere; 9/16/2022

Foerster (and Desnoyers) is having a great off-season, including the 2022 IIHF World Juniors championship.

Olle Lycksell

Fresh from his best season in the SHL with Vaxjo Lakers HC, Lycksell lit the lamp on back-to-back evenings.

A crafty playmaker, he showed his shooting accuracy against the New York Rangers rookies. Lycksell attributed the rinks being smaller in America to his quick crash of the net when he scored during a 2-1 victory.

In the 5-1 victory, Lycksell took a quick shot on goal from a sharp angle. Capitalizing from a Desnoyers faceoff victory, he made a creative scoring play. His puck handling worked to his advantage, achieving a sturdy overall performance with Desnoyers and Zayde Wisdom as linemates.

Zayde Wisdom

Laperriere expressed satisfaction out of his lineup during the 2022 Flyers Rookie Series. His formidable first line proved just that. Desnoyers and Lycksell became increasingly dynamic on both sides of the puck, but Wisdom earned his keep, too. His hard work paid off, a lesson from Laperriere:

“I know he likes hard workers. I feel like I can provide that. He tells me all the time, ‘just work, and I’ll love you.’ It’s getting through my head now, I’m starting to understand that, and I’m excited to have him as a coach.”

Zayde Wisdom; 9/16/2022

Joining the electric party, Wisdom lit the lamp during a 5-1 victory. Next season will begin his second run with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. In 2020-2021, due to the OHL suspending play amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Wisdom piled 18pts (7G, 11A) in 28 games with the Phantoms. Last season, Wisdom tasted the playoffs for the first time with the Kingston Frontenacs, averaging 1.36pts a game (4G, 11A) in 11 postseason matchups. He is well on his way to proving that 2020-2021 was not a fluke, prepared to make a tremendous impact in 2022-2023.

“I belong. I feel like I did a decent job of doing that my first year. I felt like I did a good job of sticking out. I just want to keep sticking out, keep improving, and show that I belong. It wasn’t a fluke.”

Zayde Wisdom; 9/16/2022

Ronnie Attard

Remember when Attard sniped a quick goal on Jack Campbell in 2021-2022? It was one of the brighter moments of a dark Philadelphia Flyers season. He attacked the offensive zone and let it rip.

In the 5-1 victory versus the New York Rangers, Attard remained dangerous. He uncorked on a one-timer from the blue line, set up by Lycksell.

Attard is the defensive prospect with the best chance of appearing on the Flyers’ roster in 2022-2023. His arrival, if at all, makes sense after the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline, once Chuck Fletcher tries to send a feeler to exchange Justin Braun for cap space or draft capital. His debut with Philadelphia lasted 15 games (2G, 2A, -2, 50.3%CF) last season. After he receives his purposeful minutes with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, his following recall to the Flyers could be permanent.

Egor Zamula

Moments before Zamula scored, the New York Rangers were smothering the Philadelphia Flyers’ attack. That means Zamula, a defensive defenseman, took the first shot on goal and converted. Surprising? Yes, but Zamula arrived at the 2022 Flyers Rookie Camp with a mission. On the first pair with Attard, Laperriere constructed another stubborn portion of his Lehigh Valley Phantoms lineup.

“I need to put [on] some muscle to be better one-on-one, in front [of] the net, and play stronger every shift. I’m waiting for the new season.”

Egor Zamula; 9/15/2022

Zamula will enter his third season with the Phantoms. Previously undrafted, he signed an entry-level contract with the Flyers on September 20th, 2018. In 2020-2021, Zamula debuted for Lehigh Valley but kept making shortened appearances with Philadelphia through 2021-2022.

At the 2022 Flyers Training Camp, expect Zamula to compete against Nick Seeler, Kevin Connauton, and Linus Hogberg to climb up the defensive depth chart.

Samuel Ersson

The battle to back up Carter Hart is closer than 2021-2022 suggests. Felix Sandstrom is the lead candidate, but Ersson is healthy. Add Troy Grosenick to the mix, and there is a three-way competition for the 2G role.

Ersson was stellar in a 5-1 victory on Saturday. He proved he could endure an entire regulation game. The New York Rangers tested Ersson, and he aced the exam. Laperriere commented on the workload Ersson received, which was not the original plan:

“It’s almost great for him to see that many shots, from all angles. They were shooting from everywhere, they had great chances.”

Ian Laperriere; 9/17/2022

A healthy Ersson is a different goaltender. His debut season with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms did not reflect that. Saturday was a reminder as to why the Philadelphia Flyers remain high on the goaltender. Ersson provides another inexpensive, quality goaltender option. Even if he doesn’t make the NHL roster, 2022-2023 will be critical for Ersson in the AHL.

(Photo by Joshua Sarner/Icon Sportswire)