”The best prospect pool in the entire National Hockey League”.
That’s not something the Philadelphia Flyers and their fans are used to hearing when the experts around the league are discussing the future of the NHL. Long gone are the days of Mike Testwuide, Ben Holmstrom and Kevin Marshall being considered the future of the franchise, instead they’ve been replaced by players in the likes of Ivan Provorov and Nolan Patrick, both of which are who currently on the Flyers roster.
When Ron Hextall took over as the General Manager of the Flyers in May 2014 his plan was to build a championship team through the draft and he started the process of doing so when he drafted Travis Sanheim with the 17th overall pick in the 2014 Draft. Fast forward three years and Flyers have now gone from being ranked bottom of the prospect rankings to having stockpiled top prospects from all over the world on every position with Ivan Provorov, Travis Konecny and Nolan Patrick leading the way.
A few of these promising prospects are playing in the Canadian Hockey League and overseas in the Swedish Elite league (SHL).
Notable OHL prospect update:
Morgan Frost, Forward: Flyers selected Frost 27th overall in the 2017 draft after trading Brayden Schenn to the St Louis Blues for a first round pick in 2017 (Frost) another conditional first round pick in 2018 and Jori Lehterä.
Morgan is an extremely intelligent player who uses his great skating ability and smarts to his advantage in all three zones. Frost showed off his speed by winning the 30-meter fastest skater competitions both with and without the puck in the CHL Top Prospects showcase last year.
After taking a big step in his development last year Morgan is now expected to take a bigger role for the Soo Greyhounds. So far he has looked up for the challenge, in his last 4 games he’s tallied 3 goals and 7 points. Morgan Frost was selected to the OHL team for Canada vs Russia series.
17-18 stats – 11GP, 4 goals & 8 assists. +9
Next game: 20th October, 7PM EDT vs Kingston Frontenacs
Isaac Ratcliffe, Forward: Philadelphia Flyers drafted Ratcliffe 35th overall in the 2017 Draft. The London, Ontario native is a 6’5 203lbs powerforward who has surprisingly good hands and skating ability for a player his size.
It’s been an up and down start to the season for Ratcliffe and the Guelph Storm. After scoring atleast a point in 4 straight games, Ratcliffe has now left the ice without a point in his last 3 games.
17-18 Stats: – 9GP, 2 goals & 3 assists. -11
Next game: 20th October, 7:30PM EDT vs Hamilton Bulldogs
Connor Bunnaman, Forward: The Kitchener Rangers forward was selected by the Flyers in 109th overall in the 2016 draft. Bunnaman had a breakout season for the Rangers last year scoring 37 goals in 64 games.
Bunnaman is strong in all three zones and excels on the powerplay. He has a quick release and is great on the wall and down low.
Entering his fourth year in the OHL, Bunnaman was named Captain of the Rangers. It has only been 9 games but Bunnaman is off to a good start and has scored at a point per game pace.
17-18 Stats: – 9GP, 5 goals & 4 assists. +3
Next game: 20th October, 7:30PM EDT vs London Knights
Maxim Sushko, Forward: The Belarus born winger was selected 107th overall in the 2017 draft and is currently playing his second year in the OHL for Owen Sound Attack.
Sushko is a dynamic player with great speed and a quick heavy release. Sushko thrives on the powerplay but is a great offensive threat at even strength aswell.
Maxim Sushko is in superb form at the moment, coming off a 4 goal game against the Oshawa Generals and has now scored 7 goals in 7 games.
17-18 Stats: – 7GP, 7 goals & 3 assists. +4
Next game: 21st October, 7PM EDT vs Erie Otters
Matthew Strome: Matthew is the third Strome brother to get drafted in the last couple of years, and while his brothers were both selected in the first round in their respective years, Matthew wasnt drafted until the 4th round. The reason for Matthew slipping all the way down to the 4th round was because of his skating. Even with his skating issues he managed to put up impressive numbers for Hamilton Bulldogs last year (34 goals and 28 assists).
Matthew Strome plays a complete 200 foot game and has a heavy accurate shot. Matthew is currently working with a skating coach to help him improve his skating. He scored a goal in his last this sundays 4-3 win vs North Bay Battalion.
17-18 Stats: – 7GP, 3 goals & 2 assists. +2
Next game: 21st October, 7:30PM EDT vs Guelph Storm
Notable WHL prospect update:
Carter Hart, Goalie: The back-to-back WHL goaltender of the year Carter Hart is one of Flyers highly touted goaltender prospects that has put up incredible numbers for the Everett Silvertips since he joined the WHL club in 2014. Hart is an intelligent goalie who is almost always square to the shooter thanks to his positioning and great technique. He also has good rebound control. Works with the same sports psychologist as Braden Holtby to help with the mental part of being a goaltender.
Carter Harts tested positive with mononucleosis on October 2nd. The recovery time varies from two-three weeks to a month but the good news is that he is close to returning to the lineup and he was named to the WHL roster for Canada vs Russia series for the third straight year.
17-18 Stats: – 2GP, 3.70GAA, 90.5 SVS%
Next game: There’s been no official report on when he will be back in goal.
Notable QMJHL prospect update:
German Rubtsov, Forward: Flyers 1st round pick from 2016 German Rubtsov came over from Russia and the KHL to Chicoutimi Saguenéens in the QMJHL at the beginning of 2016 and dominated right away from game 1. Rubtsov has had some injury problems in his short stint with the Saguenéens but scored an impressive 22 points in 16 games last season.
German is a very intelligent player and was considered one if not the smartest player in the whole draft class. He is first and foremost a playmaker but can also finish. German Rubtsov is strong defensively and really hard to knock off the puck. All in all a complete two-way forward who can play any forward position.
Rubtsov has shown no signs off slowing down in his first full year in the QMJHL (Flyers opted to send him back to the QMJHL instead of the AHL) scoring just above point per game pace so far. He tallied one assist in Saguenéens 3-4 loss vs Cape Breton Screaming Eagles.
17-18 Stats: – 6GP, 0 goals & 7 assists. +0
Next game: 20th October, 7PM EDT vs Moncton Wildcats
Pascal Laberge, Forward: The highly skilled forward Laberge was selected by the Flyers in the 2nd round in 2016. Laberge is looking to bounce back from a subpar season last year. Laberge never really recovered last season from a dirty hit that kept him out for significant amount of time.
Laberge is a two-way forward with slick hands who is touted to be a goalscoring playmaker in the future. He works hard along the walls and doesnt shy away from the physical game. Laberge was suspended in Victoriaville Tigres 2-4 loss vs Shawinigan Cataractes but is expected to be back in the lineup next game. Laberge was selected to the QMJHL team for Canada vs Russia series.
17-18 Stats: – 7GP, 4 goals & 4 assists. +6
Next game: Tonight (19th October,) 7PM EDT vs Sherbrooke Phoenix
Notable SHL prospect update:
Felix Sandström, Goalie: The swedish netminder Felix Sandström is coming off a year where he won goaltender of the tournament at the World Junior Championship. He also went to the final with Brynäs in the SHL where they unfortunately lost in a game 7 to HV71.
Felix is a highly skilled goaltender who has shown incredible raw skill at times and has made some incredible saves because of it. He has great hockey IQ and really good reflexes.
So far this season he has taken over the number one job for a struggling Brynäs team and has put up impressive numbers considering how poorly the team has played. Sandström saved 32 out of 33 shots in Brynäs 2-1 victory over Skellefteå after a humiliating 8-2 loss to the same team a couple of days before.
17-18 Stats: – 6GP, 2.27GAA, 9.21 SVS%
Next game: Today (19th october) 1PM EDT vs Rögle
David Kase, Forward: Signing with the SHL newcomer Mora might have been the best decision David Kase has ever made. Kase is a hardworking forward who posesses alot of raw skill just like his brother Ondrej Kase who currently plays for the Anaheim Ducks.
Kase has right from the start become one if not the best forward for Mora and is relied upon in all situations. Kase and Mora is coming off a 6-0 loss to Djurgården.
17-18 Stats: – 9GP, 2 goals & 4 assists. -5
Next game: 21st October, 12AM EDT vs Brynäs