Philadelphia Flyers Top 10 Prospects
This year, Flyers fans have a lot of hope. And rightfully so. With a young and up-and-coming roster mixed with veteran presence and production, the 2018-2019 season looks like a promising step for the Flyers. Even with an already solid roster for this season, the Flyers have a plethora of prospects on their way up. This also leaves the Flyers with future flexibility, and the ability to potentially part with a roster player or a prospect to improve their club. Below is a list of the top 10 prospects, as of the preseason, for the Philadelphia Flyers. Note this list will not include Oscar Linblom and Mikahil Vorobyov. Both players made the Flyers, and I graduated them to “regulars” for the beginning of the season.
1. G Carter Hart
Many of those who have watched the trajectory of Carter Hart are very excited. On the surface, he looks like an excellent NHL prospect, and in most ways he is. He has a high save percentage, awards to his name, and a long history as a starter in the WHL. Hart is the goalie many Flyers fans have been praying and hoping for since the Pelle Linberg days.
A few questions remain, however. While posting amazing statistics in the WHL, Hart was part of an Everett team that played an old-school defensive style brand of hockey. Some scouts argue that much of his statistical success is based upon “being protected” by the system he was in. Contrast that with Hart’s performance at the World Junior Championship the last two years and you see a much more average, maybe slightly above average, level of goaltending against his peers. Goalies are also still the most volatile and difficult position to predict, and Hart is no exception. However, he does have tremendous technical skills and has a good sense of when to be aggressive and when to play deep in his net. These tools will likely help Hart become, at minimum, a fringe NHL starter. At best, the Flyers are looking at a solid #1 goalie for years to come.
2. LW Joel Farabee
Farabee was the Flyers’ first-round pick in last year’s draft. The 2018 Draft was exceptionally deep, and the Flyers were excited to snatch up Farabee at 14. Scouts had Farabee all over the map, predicting his range anywhere between 10-31. Farabee played on a stacked line for the U.S. National Development Program last season and put up excellent numbers. Similar to Hart, Farabee’s main critiques come because of who he was playing with. Farabee played with Jack Hughes, the likely #1 overall pick in this year’s draft. Hughes is considered a generational talent (likely in the tier of a Jack Eichel or Auston Matthews). Some scouts believe that because of this, Farabee’s stats were slightly inflated. However, Farabee’s body of work over the last few seasons show he projects to be a top-six scoring winger. The Flyers can be patient with him, considering their depth on the wings. Farabee will play for Boston University this season.
3. C Morgan Frost
Frost is an intriguing prospect for the Flyers. He was somewhat of a surprise pick when the Flyers took him 27th overall in the 2017 draft. However, that gamble looks as though it has paid off. Frost led the OHL in even-strength points last season with over 80 to his credit. He also established himself as a strong two-way presence and one of the best two-way centers in the OHL. At his best, Frost projects as a second line center. At his worst, a third line center. Either way, the Flyers have a gritty, responsible two-way forward for many years to come.
4. C Jay O’Brien
Similar to Morgan Frost, the Flyers surprised many fans and casual hockey followers with their pick of center Jay O’Brien at 19th overall. However, to many teams, taking O’Brien at this position was not a surprise. O’Brien played last season for Thayer Academy in Massachusetts, a high school team. U.S. high school prospects are extremely difficult to project due to their lack of consistent competition. However, O’Brien boasts excellent offensive skills and instincts. Like Farabee, O’Brien will need some seasoning and is likely at least 2-3 years away from fighting for a roster spot. Nonetheless, he projects as a 2nd line center with two-way ability.
5. C German Rubtsov
Rubtsov has had a somewhat disappointing introduction to hockey in North America. Last season, he suited up in the QMJHL in eastern Canada. He put up fairly disappointing numbers, less than a point per game, for a player originally projected to be a highly skilled, offensive-minded center. The Flyers hope that Rubtsov will excel in the AHL this season. At his best, Rubtsov projects as a #2 center but is likely in need of some time in the AHL.
6. D Phil Myers
Myers had a difficult transition to the AHL last season. The big, rangy defenseman boasts excellent offensive skills. However, these skills can get him “caught” regularly and out of position. The Flyers hope that Myers can have his game balanced out this season and fight for regular duty in 2019-2020. He will likely be one of the first defensive call-ups this season. Myers projects as an offensive-minded, second pairing defenseman.
7. RW Wade Allison
Allison is one of a handful of power-forward type wingers Hextall has drafted in the past few seasons (see Matthew Strome and Isaac Ratcliffe as other examples). Allison has emerged as potentially having the highest offensive ceiling of these players. Allison boasts a heavy, strong frame and plays a strong two-way game. Allison may be signed after this season, but look for him to spend at least a year in the AHL honing his game. Allison projects as a bottom six forward at the NHL level.
8. C Tanner Laczynski
Laczynski has had an excellent last two seasons playing for Ohio State. Putting up over a point per game, Laczynski has emerged as a potential 2-way center threat in a long list of similar players in the Flyers’ pipeline. Laczynski will play his junior season at Ohio State. Look for him to sign once the season ends and play some AHL games for Lehigh Valley.
9. D Adam Ginning
The Flyers took Ginning in the second round of this year’s draft. Ginning is a stereotypical Swedish defenseman. He plays a strong two-way game, and he moves the puck quickly. Ginning was able to play 28 games in Sweden’s top league last season, not an easy feat for most players his age. Ginning will play in Sweden again this year, and Flyers fans may get a taste of his capabilities at the World Junior Championship this Christmas. Ginning projects as a number four to number six two-way defender at the NHL level.
10. G Felix Sandstrom
Sandstrom was hindered by injuries last season, but was still able to play a handful of games in Sweden’s top league as a 20 year-old. Sandstrom has excellent instincts and strong reflexes. Sandstrom is already off to an excellent start in Sweden’s top league and is his team’s number one goalie. Sandstrom will likely start next season in the AHL. Goalies are extremely difficult to project, but Sandstrom has the tools to be a potential NHL starter. The Flyers hope they have a second goaltending gem on their hands here.