Flyers

Future Flyers Report: Cooper Marody one of nation's best

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Michigan Athletics

Future Flyers Report: Cooper Marody one of nation's best

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.

In this edition, we’ll take a look at a late-round draft pick blossoming into one of the nation’s best players, the Flyers’ top goalie prospect and plenty more from a busy week.

Cooper Marody, C, 20, 6-1/185, Michigan (NCAA)
After missing parts of his freshman campaign with mono and then sophomore season because he was academically ineligible, Marody is exploding onto the scene this year.

Marody continued his torrid season this past weekend as Michigan stole a 5-4 overtime win Friday night over No. 4 Minnesota and then tied the Golden Gophers, 6-6, Saturday. The Wolverines fought back from a 3-0 deficit Friday and a 4-0 deficit Saturday night.

And Marody was front and center with a pair of two-assist games. Marody has 12 assists and 15 points in his past six games. During this six-game stretch, he has three three-point games and three two-point efforts. He has 10 points in four Big Ten games, which is the most in the conference. He has 16 points in 10 games for 1.60 points per game. His 13 assists are tied for second in the nation with Denver's Troy Terry.

Michigan assistant coach Brian Wiseman in July praised Marody’s growth, from the player he was in the USHL to where he was heading into his junior season in Ann Arbor.

“Cooper is a very smart, highly intelligent hockey player,” Wiseman said. “Has a gift of slowing down the game, reading situations and making high-level, executed plays.”

Carter Hart, G, 19, 6-1/177, Everett (WHL)
For a goalie who missed a month because of mono, Hart didn’t show any signs of needing time to get in shape. It started last Monday, as Hart led Team WHL to a 7-0 shutout against Team Russia with a 20-save effort in the CIBC Canada/Russia Series.

Hart was back in net Friday for Everett against Prince George. He allowed three goals on 23 shots and allowed one in the shootout as the Silvertips fell, 4-3, to the Cougars. Then on Saturday, Hart had a 28-save shutout in Everett’s 4-0 win over Prince George.

His shutout Saturday night was his 20th career WHL shutout, which is one shy of tying Leland Irving’s Everett record of 21. Irving was with the Phantoms earlier this season. Nearly 13 percent of Hart’s WHL games have been shutouts. This season, Hart is 3-2-1 with a 2.11 goals-against average, .933 save percentage and one shutout in six games.

Morgan Frost, C, 18, 5-11/172, Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)
For Frost, one of the Flyers' two 2017 first-round picks, it was another big week. Frost continued to produce, showcasing both his goal-scoring ability and playmaking skills.

Frost had his second two-goal game of the season in the Greyhounds’ 4-3 overtime win Friday night over Sarnia and then followed that up with a goal and two assists Saturday in Sault Ste. Marie’s 8-2 blowout of Flint. His first goal Friday came on a 2-on-2 rush.

In his last 13 games, Frost has 13 assists and 22 points. On the season, he has 27 points in 20 games and leads the OHL with a plus-21 rating. It’s been quite the campaign for Frost, who has validated the Flyers’ decision to draft him in the first round.

German Rubtsov, C/LW, 19, 6-0/187, Acadie-Bathurst (QMJHL)
The Titan’s trade for Rubtsov continued to pay off, as the Flyers’ 2016 first-round pick showed again why Acadie-Bathurst gave up two players and three draft picks for him.

Rubtsov had four points in three games last week, with all four coming this past weekend. Rubtsov, a natural center who’s been playing left wing in Acadie-Bathurst, had a goal and two assists in the Titan’s 5-3 win Friday night over Drummondville. On Saturday night, he had an assist in the Titan’s 4-3 loss to Blainville-Boisbriand.

In five games with Acadie-Bathurst, Rubtsov has five assists and seven points. Between Chicoutimi and Acadie-Bathurst, he has 13 assists and 18 points in 16 games.

Alex Lyon, G, 24, 6-1/200, Lehigh Valley (AHL)
With Anthony Stolarz out long term, Lyon has yet to take advantage of the opportunity he has with the Phantoms to set himself apart on the organizational depth chart. It was an up-and-down week for Lyon, who has been disappointing in his second pro year.

Lyon had a strong effort last Wednesday in Lehigh Valley’s 4-2 win over the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, allowing two goals on 44 shots. But then on Saturday, he surrendered six markers on 33 shots in the Phantoms’ 6-1 loss to Hershey. Is Lyon to blame for all six goals? Of course not, but he has allowed 17 goals in his past four games.

Lyon, in 11 games, is 6-3-1 with a 3.26 goals-against average and .897 save percentage. He’s allowed three or more goals in six games.

Quick hits
• After a solid start, Pascal Laberge is in a rut. Laberge had another scoreless week for Victoriaville. He has two points in his past nine games. He has 12 points in 18 games.

• For the first time this season, Danick Martel did not score a goal Saturday night. That’s OK, though. Martel had a goal and an assist in Lehigh Valley’s 4-2 win Wednesday over Bridgeport. He now has 14 goals and 19 points in 15 games.

Oskar Lindblom registered his third goal of the season last Wednesday, drilling home a pass from Martel in front of the Sound Tigers’ net.

Connor Bunnaman stayed hot for Kitchener, picking up a goal in both Rangers games this past weekend. He now has a four-game goal streak and six-game point streak.

Bunnaman, Kitchener’s captain, has six goals and one assist during his six-game point streak. He has 11 markers and 15 points in 17 games this season.

Isaac Ratcliffe, the Flyers’ 2017 second-round pick, had a nice weekend for the Guelph Storm. Ratcliffe had a two-goal game Friday night in the Storm’s 6-2 win over North Bay. Then on Sunday, Ratcliffe had a goal and two assists against Sudbury.

• Sarnia’s Anthony Salinitri filled the stat sheet this weekend with three goals and an assist. Salinitri had two goals Friday and then a goal and an assist Sunday.

Matthew Strome is heating up for Hamilton. Strome had a goal and two assists in the Bulldogs’ 7-4 win Friday over Erie and then two goals and an assist Sunday against Mississauga. Strome has a four-game point streak in which he has nine points.

Brendan Warren, Marody’s teammate at Michigan, had a goal and an assist Saturday against Minnesota. Warren has three goals and one assist in 10 games this season.

Tanner Laczynski had another productive weekend for Ohio State, and he now leads the Buckeyes with 13 points. He had a two-assist game Friday and a goal Saturday.

• Wisconsin defenseman Wyatt Kalynuk finally picked up his first collegiate goal Friday night in the No. 6 Badgers’ 6-2 win over Michigan State. He also had an assist.

Kalynuk, the Flyers’ final pick in the 2017 draft, has seven points in 13 games. He leads all Wisconsin defensemen in points and is tied for second on the team with six assists.

Finish-them-off mindset fueling Flyers' surge

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AP Images

Finish-them-off mindset fueling Flyers' surge

From the upbeat music blaring when you first walk in the locker room to the jovial tones the players on the team speak with, it's clear times have changed drastically from a few weeks ago for the Flyers.

Just over two weeks ago, the music would have been shut off and a straight-laced attitude of needing to play better would have been blatantly evident during the 10-game skid.

Wins cure all, don't they?

And the Flyers will be going for their seventh consecutive win when they host the Los Angeles Kings Monday night at Wells Fargo Center.

Beside the music and the attitude, what has changed over the last few weeks to ignite this stretch of success? The Flyers feel a massive key has been their play in tight games, specifically in the third period. Where they would have crumbled weeks ago, they are excelling now.

"We've come to the conclusion that, obviously, we have to be on the same page to win games," Wayne Simmonds said Monday after morning skate. "We've done the exact same thing every single third period. To win games, you have to be consistent and do the same things every night.

"[Saturday vs. Dallas] in the third period, I think everyone thought we were actually winning the game 2-1 instead of being tied. That sets our expectations high. That's what we expect of ourselves. It was a good feeling and we kind of knew we were going to win that game, whether it was going to take 65 minutes or a shootout. ... We've kept it simple. I think that's the main thing for our team - we've kept it simple and everyone is on the exact same page."

The proof is in the pudding of Simmonds' words.

During the miserable 10-game losing streak, the Flyers were outscored 10-2 in third periods. Five of those games wound up as one-goal defeats decided in either OT or a shootout. Leads were held at one point or another in six of those contests. 

Moral of the story? Points were there for the taking and the Flyers left them dangling on the table for the opponent to grab.

Now, during this six-game win streak, the Flyers are outscoring the opposition 7-1 in third periods.

"We've been going into the third period and we've been on the same page," Flyers captain Claude Giroux said. "We're excited to go out there and win that game. I think we're doing a lot of good things. We were doing a lot of good things when we weren't winning. But now it's more good things, doing the right things. 

"We go into the third period and it's a tight game or we're up a goal, we feel confident. If we play our game, we're going to give ourselves a chance to win. But we have to keep that mindset."

Much like Giroux, head coach Dave Hakstol feels the Flyers were doing good things during the skid, but now they're putting them all together and the wins are the result of just that.

"We obviously went through a stretch where we didn't have good third periods and at times we were our own worst enemy," Hakstol said. "Yet even within those periods we were playing pretty good hockey. But we had a tendency to try a little hard or look for a play that wasn't there that comes back to haunt you pretty quickly. 

"I think that's probably the biggest thing that has been different for us here over the last short stretch - just staying with the game."

Facing a defensively sound and structured Kings team that has a plus-22 goal differential and features a world-class goalie in Jonathan Quick, it likely means the Flyers are in for another close game Monday night.

And unlike two weeks ago, that's a welcomed situation. Because it's never too close for comfort now.

Twisted history
The Flyers on Monday can tie a weird, crazy, bizarre and whatever else you want to call it NHL record. They can tie the 1967 Toronto Maple Leafs for the longest winning streak immediately after losing 10 games in a row. Those Leafs lost 11 in a row before storming back to win seven straight. Those Leafs also went on to win the Stanley Cup. 

Hey, who knows anything anymore, right?

More honors for Elliott
Flyers netminder Brian Elliott was honored by the NHL for the second straight week. This time, he was named the league's second star of the week after posting a 3-0-0 record, 1.31 goals-against average and .943 save percentage as the Flyers extended their win streak. His best performance last week came Saturday against the Stars when he stopped 27 shots in the 2-1 OT victory. Elliott, who will start Monday vs. the Kings and sports a 12-6-6 record, 2.61 goals-against average and .915 save percentage this season, was the third star the previous week.

Lineup
No lineup changes are expected for the Flyers Monday. Injured goalie Michal Neuvirth, whose missed the last almost two weeks with a lower-body injury, took part in morning skate again, but still isn't ready to go. Alex Lyon will again backup Elliott.

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Konecny-Laughton-Leier

Provorov-MacDonald
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Elliott
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Amid WJCs snub, Flyers prospect Morgan Frost still dominating OHL

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Photo: Aaron Bell/CHL Images

Amid WJCs snub, Flyers prospect Morgan Frost still dominating OHL

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.

Morgan Frost, C, 18, 5-11/172, Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)
The Greyhounds won their 20th straight game Saturday afternoon and now haven’t lost a game since Oct. 27, and Frost has been at the forefront of Sault Ste. Marie’s winning stream. Frost is averaging two points per game, collecting 40 points during the Greyhounds’ 20-game winning streak. Last week, Frost had eight points in three games.

Frost capped off the week with a two goal, two assist effort in Sault Ste. Marie’s 7-1 blowout win over Guelph. He also had a two-goal game Wednesday in the Greyhounds’ 4-1 win over the Flint Firebirds. Frost is now second in the OHL in scoring, with 55 points, second in assists with 36 and leads the OHL with a plus-42 rating. He’s averaging 1.67 points, third in the OHL and winning 50.1 percent of his faceoffs.

As The Athletic’s Charlie O’Connor pointed out, Frost is scoring comparable to what Travis Konecny was during his after-drafted season. Konecny spent one more season in the OHL after the Flyers drafted him in 2015 and then made the team in 2016-17. While it’s easy to look at Carter Hart in awe, Frost is the one prospect who’s breaking out.

We knew what Hart was — and what he’s doing in Everett is astonishing. We’ll see Hart plenty next week in the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championships. Frost wasn’t invited to Team Canada’s selection camp this year, but it’s a safe bet he’ll be there next year. We continue to see panic over the Brayden Schenn trade, but that’s misguided. Frost is turning out to be an intriguing prospect, and remember, the Flyers have another first-rounder from St. Louis. Frost is most certainly trending upward. Sound familiar?

Pascal Laberge, C, 19, 6-1/162, Victoriaville (QMJHL)
Laberge has played his final game for Victoriaville, as the forward will be traded Monday to the Quebec Remparts, according to La Nouvelle’s Matthew Vachon. After a brief period to start the season, Laberge cooled off considerably and has since been inconsistent. In his final week as a Tigre, Laberge had a three-assist game last Friday night in Victoriaville’s 7-2 win over Shawinigan but was pointless in his two other games.

When evaluating Laberge, it’s hard to root against the versatile forward because of his backstory. The 19-year-old faced adversity throughout his draft year and then dealt with concussions during his first season as Flyers property. He’s a kid you want to succeed, and so far, he hasn’t been able to get back to his draft-year production. He has just six goals and 20 points in 31 games this year. He will get a fresh start with the Remparts.

Oskar Lindblom, LW, 21, 6-1/192, Lehigh Valley (AHL)
We’re starting to see Lindblom come into his own with the Phantoms. The Swedish forward continues to adjust to the North American game, and we’re seeing more consistency from him in the AHL. Last week was no different. Lindblom saw his point streak hit four games before coming to an end Sunday against Bridgeport. Lindblom scored his seventh goal of the season last Wednesday, which capped off a three-goal in a four-game stretch. Then he picked up an assist on Friday against Charlotte and another Saturday against Syracuse. When we look at the advanced metrics, with many thanks to Broad Street Hockey’s Brad Keffer, you can see Lindblom’s Corsi numbers consistently improving, which is an indicator that he’s becoming more comfortable here.

Carsen Twarynski, LW, 19, 6-2/201, Kelowna (WHL)
We don’t talk a lot about Twarynski, the Flyers’ 2016 third-round pick, but let’s check in on the defenseman-turned-left-winger. Twarynski, who the Rockets acquired last season from the Calgary Hitmen, is producing above a point-per-game in Kelowna. Twarynski had six points in four games last week. He has 24 goals — seven on the power play — and 39 points in 31 games. What exactly kind of future does Twarynski have? It’s tough to get a read on him because he’s a streaky player. Twarynski projects to be a serviceable AHL player, but whether he’ll be an NHLer is up in the air. His WHL numbers are respectable, but he doesn’t seem to have the consistency to excite.

Quick Hits
• As expected, German Rubtsov made Team Russia for the World Junior Championships. Last week, Rubtsov had a goal in two games for Acadie-Bathurst.

• Sarnia’s Anthony Salinitri has a three-game point streak after picking up two goals and an assist in three games last week. Salinitri has 33 points in 35 games this season.

Matthew Strome, of the Hamilton Bulldogs, extended his point streak to five games. Strome has three goals and six points during his streak. He has 17 goals in 32 games.

• Kitchener’s Connor Bunnaman’s point streak reached five games with a goal Friday and an assist Sunday. Bunnaman has seven points during his current point streak.

Samuel Morin returned to action last Tuesday for the Phantoms but sat out Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday. He’s been dealing with lower-body injuries.

• Without any official declarations, it appears Mike Vecchione is dealing with some sort of injury with the Phantoms. Vecchione hasn’t played since Dec. 9.

• The offense has picked up for Nicolas Aube-Kubel in his second pro season. He had two goals and two assists in four games last week. He now has 21 points in 30 games.