Philadelphia Flyers GM Ron Hextall has assembled the league’s most impressive collection of prospects. The Flyers roster is riddled with players under 25-years-old, and their top ten ranking is very impressive with top picked players and potential franchise caliber players.
Sure winning the draft lottery and adding Nolan Patrick helped, but the Flyers are not a team that has been “Tanking” and is building the right way.
Perhaps the hockey Gods wanted to reward them moving them up to pick second overall, but the real rewards will be coming very soon as this team is poised for great things.
2017-18 Philadelphia Flyers Top Ten Prospects
1. Carter Hart, G – Everett (WHL)
Drafted: 48th overall in the second round of the 2016 draft by Philadelphia
Hart has been simply dominant in his final year in the WHL. His regular season stats are eye-popping; 1.60 GAA and .947 SVS%, and a 31-6-1 record with seven shutouts. In 41 games, Hart only allowed 65 total goals the entire regular season! Hart was also dominant for Canada at the World Junior leading Canada to the Gold Medal in convincing fashion. The Flyers have long been devoid of a top starting goalie, and all signs point to Hart ending that streak. Hart will begin his pro career in the coming season in the AHL while Brian Elliott and Michael Neuvirth are still under contract. Beyond that, the crease in Philadelphia will belong to Hart.
2. Morgan Frost, C – Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)
Drafted: 27th overall in the first round of the 2017 draft by Philadelphia
Many thought the Flyers might have reached drafting Frost in the first round of the ’17 draft. Since then he has taken the OHL by storm with a monster 112 point season on one of the top teams in the CHL. Frost has a nice blend of size, skating, skill, and smarts. Frost has one more year of junior eligibility and is likely going to be returned given the Flyers approach to development. Frost will be looking to have a long playoff run with the Soo with Memorial Cup aspirations. Next year he should be a lock for Canada at the World Junior, as well giving him another opportunity to play in meaningful high-pressure games. Frost is a prospect trending up fast, and it remains to be seen where he will plateau.
3. Philippe Myers, D – Lehigh Valley (AHL)
Drafted: Signed as a free agent in 2015
Signed as a free agent after a 2015 training camp invite, the Flyers have found money in Myers. The upside on Myers is significant as he has size, skating, smarts and good hands making him a complete player. He was poised for a breakout performance with Team Canada at the 2017 World Junior posting three points in four games before an injury cut his tournament short. Now playing in his rookie pro season in the AHL, Myers is adjusting smoothly with 21 points in 50 games. The challenges for Myers are he has suffered several injuries which have hampered his development, and the Flyers have a stacked blueline already with Provorov, Gostisbehere, Gudas, Hagg, Sanheim, MacDonald under contract and in the system already. Given his ability, he will find a way sooner than later.
4. German Rubtsov, C – Acadie-Bathurst (QMJHL)
Drafted: 22nd overall in the first round of the 2016 draft by Philadelphia
Rubtsov came to North America late last season to play in the QMJHL, and in his first full season in North America, he has 15 goals and 43 points split between Chicoutimi and the Titan. Rubtsov played an important role for Russia at the World Junior with four points in five games helping Russia win the Bronze. Rubtsov is a very smart player that can impact a game on both sides of the puck. He can be an effective depth player and the skill to be a contributing top-six player. His versatility will see him in the NHL soon, perhaps after starting his pro career in the AHL next year.
5. Oskar Lindblom, LW – Lehigh Valley (AHL)
Drafted: 138th overall in the fifth round of the 2014 draft by Philadelphia
After a breakout season in 2016-17 in Brynas last year, Lindblom made a move to North America this year with hopes of cracking the NHL in his first year. He was assigned to the AHL and has had a smooth transition posting strong numbers on a top AHL roster. Lindblom was recalled during the season and played in 19 games posting four points. Lindblom will play out the season in the AHL and be on the Phantoms roster for their playoff run. Lindblom is a strong candidate to make the Flyers roster next year as both Valtteri Filppula and Matt Read are on expiring contracts.
6. Samuel Morin, D – Lehigh Valley (AHL)
Drafted: 11th overall in the first round of the 2013 draft by Philadelphia
Morin is a throwback defenseman; he is big, strong and mean and plays a very heavy and defensive game. As the league is leaning towards more skill and speed on the backend, it has been harder for Morin to crack the NHL roster, but Morin has good mobility and would be well suited as a bottom-six defender that is hard to play against. There is not a lot of opportunity for Morin on the roster, and his waiver exemption eligibility and his contract will be expiring after this season it will be interesting to see where he plays next year. No doubt the Flyers will look to re-sign him, and perhaps allow Brandon Manning and Johnny Oduya to walk as free agents to make a roster spot as the sixth defenseman. This has been a tough year for Morin as he was limited to just 15 AHL games due to injury, but he was recalled to the NHL and played in two games.
7. Wade Allison, RW – Western Michigan University (NCAA)
Drafted: 52nd overall in the second round of the 2016 draft by Philadelphia
Allison was having a breakout year scoring 15 goals and 30 points in 22 games before an injury ended his season in January. He was a Hobey Baker Award nominee and was a top five in NCAA scoring at the time of his injury. Allison has NHL ready size and may have been on track to sign his ELC contract and make the jump to pro hockey for the coming season. That may still happen, or the best move for his development could be to play one more year of NCAA hockey given he lost half a season of development to the injury.
8. Tanner Laczynski, C – Ohio State (NCAA)
Drafted: 169th overall in the sixth round of the 2016 draft by Philadelphia
Laczynski had a strong NCAA freshman year posting 32 points in 34 games and earning a roster spot on the Gold Medal winning USA World Junior roster. In his sophomore season, he has continued to produce with a point per game offence scoring 46 points in 40 games as one of the most underrated players in NCAA hockey. His Ohio State Buckeyes are headed to the Frozen Four tournament giving Laczynski an opportunity to play on a big stage and make an impression. He could be heading to the pro ranks for the coming season.
9. Felix Sandstrom, G – HV71 (SHL)
Drafted: 70th overall in the third round of the 2015 draft by Philadelphia
Injuries all but killed an entire season for the promising netminder. A year removed from a solid SHL season with Brynas and Best Goaltender award with Sweden at the World Junior. He was limited to just eight SHL regular season games due to an abdominal injury and then was assigned to Allsvenskan for a conditioning stint, before ending the season back in the SHL playing three games on loan for HV71. Sandstrom recently signed his ELC with Philadelphia, but his contract does not allow him to play in the AHL. He will play one more year in Sweden for HV71 before making the transition to North America the following year, likely in the AHL.
10. Isaac Ratcliffe, LW – Guelph (OHL)
Drafted: 35th overall in the second round of the 2017 draft by Philadelphia
Philly fans are going to love big Ratcliffe. The 6-5 monster plays a very physical game and has been terrorizing the OHL for two years. He is by no means a goon as he has only collected 65 and 58 minutes in penalties the past two seasons because he is too valuable on the ice. Ratcliffe improved his 54 point total from his draft year slightly to 68 points but had a marked increase in goal production of plus 13. Ratcliffe plays a heavy and physical game, he has a real nasty and boarder line dirty streak to his game but has good hands and vision at the same time. Ratcliffe has one more year of junior eligibility which he is sure to serve before adjusting to pro hockey in the AHL the following season. He has NHL ready size, and with the proper development, he could become a valuable depth player.