A Flyers 2nd-round prospect is heating up

Zack Hill/Philadelphia Flyers

A Flyers 2nd-round prospect is heating up

Before this week begins, it's time for our weekly check-in on the Flyers' prospects playing in the AHL, overseas and at the junior and college levels.

Pascal Laberge, C, 19, 6-1/192, Quebec (QMJHL)
Laberge has tended to be a streaky prospect this season.

Right now, he's on one of his hot streaks.

The 2016 second-round pick ripped off six points (two goals, four assists) in three games last week. He has three goals and seven points over his last four contests after posting just a goal and an assist in his previous nine.

Following a concussion-marred 2016-17 and a midseason trade this year, Laberge may finally be getting comfortable.

Morgan Frost, C, 18, 5-11/172, Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)
Frost, in a prove-it year of sorts, is showing just about everything.

Among it all: he's a goal scorer, too, and not just a playmaker.

In Sault Ste. Marie's 6-2 win over London Sunday, the 2017 first-round pick lit the lamp twice more and finished as a plus-3 with nine shots on goal.

Frost's progression through the junior level has been remarkable. He's gone from seven goals in 2015-16 to 20 in 2016-17 and now 37 with games to play this season. Not to mention, he owns 98 points and a plus-60 rating.

And check out some of this skill:

Cooper Marody, C, 21, 6-1/185, Michigan (NCAA)
Marody's special season in Ann Arbor is not slowing down.

The junior had four points (one goal, three assists) as No. 13 Michigan swept a two-game weekend set from Arizona State.

Through 34 games, Marody, a 2015 sixth-round pick, leads the Big Ten in points (41) and is tied for third among the nation in assists (29).

Next up for him is the Big Ten Tournament.

Quick hits
• An eight-game point streak of one goal and 12 assists was snapped for Travis Sanheim, who went scoreless in the Phantoms' 2-1 loss Friday to Syracuse. The 21-year-old has 15 points in as many games with Lehigh Valley.

Carter Hart picked up three straight wins last week for Everett, stopping 80 of 83 shots faced. Both his 1.53 goals-against average and .951 save percentage lead the WHL.

Matthew Strome has 34 goals on the season after scoring three last week for Hamilton, including this nifty one:

• Battling injury and some inconsistency, 2016 first-round pick German Rubtsov on Thursday scored his first goal since Jan. 26.

• Tallying an assist Saturday, Guelph's Isaac Ratcliffe set a new career high in points with 55.

• Kitchener center Connor Bunnaman recorded a four-point week (two goals, two assists) in three games.

Anthony Salinitri had his point streak end at nine games, but the 2016 sixth-round pick still put up three assists in four contests for Sarnia.

• With the USHL's Omaha Lancers, 2017 fifth-round pick Noah Cates scored two goals last week and is on a four-game point streak.

Philippe Myers had a pair of assists in the Phantoms' 6-4 win Wednesday over Utica, while Samuel Morin (undisclosed injury), who hasn't played since Jan. 20, is still out.

Tanner Laczynski netted two goals in Ohio State's 6-2 win over Wisconsin Friday.

• Goalie prospect Felix Sandstrom has yet to make his debut with his new team, HV71, of the SHL.

Crosby's highlight-reel goal sparks Penguins' rally

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Crosby's highlight-reel goal sparks Penguins' rally

PITTSBURGH -- Sidney Crosby ignited a rally with a highlight-reel goal and became the third active player with 700 career assists in the Pittsburgh Penguins' 5-3 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday night.

Crosby's picked up his 24th goal of the season when he knocked a pass from Jake Guentzel out of the air, deflected it toward the front of his stick and smacked it by Carey Price to tie it at 3 late in the second period.

Derick Brassard put the Penguins in front to stay, beating Price early in the third period as Pittsburgh avoided dropping both games of a back-to-back against also-rans Montreal and the New York Islanders.

Guentzel had a goal and two assists. His 21st goal of the season came off an assist from Crosby, the 700th of Crosby's career. Evgeni Malkin and Patric Hornqvist also scored for the Penguins, who drew within two points of idle first-place Washington in the Metropolitan Division. Casey DeSmith finished with 27 saves.

Jonathan Drouin, Nikita Scherbak and Jacob de la Rose scored for the Canadiens, who have dropped nine of their last 10 games. Carey Price made 34 stops in his first start in a month due to a concussion (see full recap).

Schwartz, Blues top Bruins in OT
ST. LOUIS — Jaden Schwartz scored his second goal of the game 30 seconds into overtime to give the St. Louis Blues a 2-1 victory over the Boston Bruins on Wednesday night.

Schwartz skated up the middle and fired a shot past Anton Khudobin. The Blues won for the fifth time in six games to move within a point of the final Western Conference wild-card spot.

Jake Allen made 21 saves to improve to 24-21-2.

Ryan Donato scored for Boston. The Bruins clinched a playoff spot and moved within four points of Tampa Bay for the Eastern lead.

Schwartz tied it midway through the third period with a wrist shot from the top of the circle.

Donato scored his second goal in his second NHL game. He had a goal and two assists in a 5-4 loss to Columbus on Monday night.

Donato, still a student at Harvard University, returned to Massachusetts on Tuesday to attend class before flying back to St. Louis to rejoin the Bruins. His father, Ted, played 528 games in two stints with the Bruins (1992-99, 2003-04) (see full recap).

Rookie sets record in Coyotes’ victory
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Clayton Keller had two assists to set the Arizona Coyotes' franchise record for most points by a rookie in a 4-1 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday night in a matchup of the NHL's two worst teams.

Rookie Dylan Strome scored in his first game after being called up from the minors. Derek Stepan had a goal and assist, and Richard Panik and Max Domi, with an empty-netter, also scored. Antti Raanta stopped 29 shots to improve to 12-4-4 in his past 20 starts.

Keller, Arizona's 2016 first-round draft pick, extended his points streak to six games, in which he has two goals and five assists. He has 55 points, one more than Peter Mueller had in setting the rookie team record in 2007-08. And Keller has 35 assists, one more than teammate Max Domi had in his rookie season two years ago.

Arizona improved to 13-5-2 in its past 20, and earned its 61st point in leaving Vancouver alone at the bottom of the Western Conference standings.

Jordan Nolan scored for Buffalo, which dropped to 23-38-12 to remain in last place in the overall standings (see full recap).

Breaking down why Flyers traded Cooper Marody

Michigan Athletics

Breaking down why Flyers traded Cooper Marody

The Flyers on Wednesday traded NCAA prospect Cooper Marody’s rights to the Edmonton Oilers for a 2019 third-round draft pick that originally belonged to the New Jersey Devils.

Marody enjoyed a breakout junior season at Michigan University in 2017-18. The 21-year-old led the Wolverines with 32 assists, 46 points and 1.24 points per game.

His 32 assists were tied for third-most in the nation, while his 46 points were tied for ninth most. He made the Big Ten All-Tournament team and was the Big Ten scoring champion.

Let’s make sense of why the Flyers moved Marody and why it’s a good return.

One, he was a 2015 sixth-round draft pick with little NHL upside. Essentially, this boils down to a sixth-round pick netting you a third-rounder, which has a higher probability of hitting.

Two, the Flyers’ pipeline is loaded with forwards, and the book on Marody doesn’t project him to be a top-six forward. Think of him as a solid AHL player with bottom-six NHL potential.

Three, the contract limit. The Flyers are currently at 47 contracts, three under the limit. Sure, four players are scheduled to be unrestricted free agents this summer with four more hitting restricted free agency. They could easily fit Marody under the contract limit but it goes back to No. 2.

Another potential factor is the 2019 third-rounder the Flyers owe the Red Wings if they make the playoffs since Petr Mrazek has won five games already with the team. They now have a third-rounder in that draft.

Any way we slice it, the Flyers turned a sixth-rounder into a third-rounder. If Marody proves the Flyers wrong, so be it. If not, it's no big deal. The chances of winning this trade are higher than losing it.