“A New Era of Orange” is a collaborative effort by the Philadelphia Flyers to provide transparency to the fans throughout the rebuild that there aren’t expectations for success to come quickly, but will be a thorough evaluation to both progress and restore what hockey means in the City of Brotherly Love.
“To be able to lead this team back to the winning tradition that everyone knows it can, and should be, is a true honor and one that I do not take lightly. I consider the Philadelphia Flyers organization the gold standard of the NHL and professional sports. I’ve seen how this city and these fans can rally around their team, and there is nothing that compares to that feeling.”Keith Jones; 5/11/2023
How fast the Flyers become successful depends on plenty of factors. Daniel Briere has to make appropriate trades and signings while mitigating losses and adding assets. That is easier said than done, especially in a face paced and often volatile market, but his decisions thus far represent hope.
Then, there are the players. They dictate, through development, how quickly it will take for competitive hockey to return to Philadelphia. In the same breath, so does coaching. There was a buzz at the Flyers Training Center ahead of the Team Clarke versus Team Lindros scrimmage. Emil Andrae, for example, is a skater Briere named from the 2023 Flyers Development Camp, making a great impression:
“A couple [of] guys did really stand out. One was Emil Andrae. Emil was a second-round pick three years ago, and he’s just coming into his own. He showed up at camp and really was a difference maker, looked fantastic on the ice.”Daniel Briere; 7/12/2023
A new prospect to keep an eye on is Carter Sotheran. The fifth-round (135th overall) selection from the 2023 NHL Entry Draft brings a ‘Broad Street Bullies’ feel with a new-age twist.
Back in May, I featured Sotheran in an early Flyers mock draft. He is a big defenseman, standing at 6’3″ and 185lbs, with time to put more size on his frame. He doesn’t just represent RD depth; Sotheran is a physical defenseman who fits the restoration Keith Jones described.
Sotheran spent last season in the WHL with the Portland Winterhawks. He totaled 23 points (4G, 19A) in 68GP with a +14 rating during the regular season. Then, during the chase for the Ed Chynoweth Cup, he added an assist in nine games. The Winterhawks were swept in the WHL Conference Semifinals by the Kamloops Blazers.
His greatest attribute is his ability to recognize and react in transition. A throwback, Sotheran is a physical two-way defenseman who plays with poise.
Briere didn’t go fishing on a reach. He read the board and saw the defensemen of his blend were in high demand. As a draft pick, this is a no-risk, medium-reward option, which is beautiful to find in the fifth round.
In addition to his physical, two-way style, is the capacity to be an efficient puck mover. He creates space by moving the puck to his teammates in transition, but don’t expect a lot of points. Sotheran prioritizes defense first. He’ll meet the opposition at the blue line, trapping them into a board battle or colliding with a hit. He fits the mold the Flyers are searching for as they rebuild from the blue line.
Most prospects will take three to five years before they are ready for the NHL, and Sotheran could arrive sooner rather than later.
(AP Photo/George Walker IV)