Three Flyers prospects could compete at 2023 World Juniors

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Flyers' Cutter Gauthier
MADISON, WI – DECEMBER 02: U-18 forward Cutter Gauthier (19) during a college hockey match between the University of Wisconsin Badgers and the U.S. National Under-18 Team on December 2, 2021 at the Kohl Center in Madison, WI. (Photo by Lawrence Iles/Icon Sportswire)

Just under three weeks away is the 2023 IIHF World Juniors. Of the selection camp roster intel released for the countries competing at the upcoming 2023 World Juniors, three Philadelphia Flyers prospects are surfacing.

Last summer, four prospects represented the Flyers. Tyson Foerster, Emil Andrae, Elliot Desnoyers, and Brian Zanetti all participated in the 2022 IIHF World Juniors postponed from the original date. At least one of those prospects could make a second appearance starting on December 26th, 2022.

Canada won the gold medal, championing Foerster and Desnoyers.

A few selection camp rosters provide some Philadelphia prospects. Zanetti seems marked for a return to Switzerland. Cutter Gauthier received a camp invite to the USA. Ethan Samson received a camp invite to Canada.

Brian Zanetti (LD; Peterborough Petes)

Zanetti wasn’t included in the only victory by Switzerland in the 2022 IIHF World Juniors. Swiftly, Canada eliminated Switzerland from the World Junior tournament in the first round, 6-3.

Facing elimination, Zanetti recorded an assist. He set up from the point and fired the puck on goal. Simon Knak earned credit on the score.

Overall, Zanetti concluded the 2022 IIHF World Juniors with 2A, 1SOG, and a -3 rating.

In 2022-2023 with the Petes, his defensive metrics and ice discipline seemed to have improved. He’s becoming the defensive defenseman we saw flashes of during the 2022 IIHF World Juniors. Zanetti did sacrifice point production from the blue line, however. In 56 games during 2021-2022, Zanetti notched 26pts (4G, 22A.) Currently, he’s totaled 5pts (2G, 3A) and pacing ~13pts at a 65-game pace.

Ethan Samson (RD; Prince George Cougars)

Samson received the selection camp invite from Canada. He is the Flyers’ 174th overall pick from the 2021 NHL Entry Draft.

In his fourth season with the Cougars, Samson maintained a part of their leadership group for the second season. In 2021-2022, he was an alternate captain for the first time in the WHL. He is trending upward to ~53pts (18G, 35A) at a 65-game pace.

Likely an NHL seventh defenseman, his best quality is a high motor in the neutral zone, full of physicality.

If selected by Canada, those top qualities will be on display. Philadelphia will be looking at other aspects for improvement. One area will be his shot in spacing; his awareness of good shooting lanes from the point. Where he has the most room for improvement is skating in transition and defensive positioning.

Cutter Gauthier (LW, C; Boston College)

The fifth overall pick from the 2022 NHL Entry Draft, Gauthier is the critically acclaimed forward that will be a critical element in the foundation of the Flyers’ future.

Gauthier is scoring at a point-per-game pace in his first season at Boston College. His 12pts (8G, 4A) seem to promise the scoring touch Philadelphia is sorely lacking. Additionally, he has a few good defensive habits to develop. His play with the puck and away from the puck ought to excite John Tortorella.

Forechecking is the game with Gauthier. Winning puck battles will spring him into space in the neutral zone, where Gauthier can extend away from defenders, breaking towards the crease.

Gauthier received a selection camp invite from the United States. He’s on pace to tie Matt Boldy last season, who tallied 31pts at Boston College. If he can transfer his production to the World Junior stage, the chatter will pick up about Gauthier on Broad Street.

(Photo by Lawrence Iles/Icon Sportswire)