General manager Ron Hextall doesn’t have high expectations for the incoming prospects during the Flyers development camp. It’s more a process of understanding expectations, learning how to be a professional and meeting some of the organization’s prospects in the process (see story).
While you won’t be treated to up-and-down scrimmaging that showcases individual skills, here’s a look at five of the more intriguing prospects to keep an eye on:
1. Oskar Lindblom (No. 54)
Everything about the 20-year-old (turns 21 on Aug. 15) left winger suggests he’s ready for the NHL, and the Flyers feel the same as he signed his entry-level deal back in May.
Lindblom was named the top forward for 2016-17 in the Swedish Elite League, where he put up 26 goals and 35 assists for 61 points in 72 games between the regular season and playoffs.
The Flyers have produced very few late-round gems in the draft, but Lindblom appears to be a steal in Hextall’s first draft with the Flyers as he was selected in the fifth round (138th overall) of the 2014 entry draft. He fell mostly because his skating was below average, and we’ll see how much he’s worked on that during the development camp.
Overall, Lindblom has size, added muscle and plays a solid all-around game that certainly makes capable of scoring goals.
2. Philippe Myers (No. 61)
The Flyers’ blue line cupboard is stocked with young talent, and with Robert Hagg and Samuel Morin expected to be the frontrunners for spots on the big club, Myers has become somewhat of the forgotten guy.
NHL analyst Bob McKenzie tweeted back in January that Myers looked close to being NHL-ready based on the D-man’s play at the 2016 World Junior Championships. Myers is slightly smaller in build than Morin, but he has a big shot (scored 27 goals in a season and a half in the QMJHL).
Hextall was blown away during a free-agent tryout in 2015 after Myers went undrafted the year before. Myers suffered a concussion during the WJC that kept him out until mid-February.
It will be very interesting to see him with the other prospects this week.
3. German Rubtsov (No. 63)
There was something unique about Rubtsov when Hextall made him the 22nd overall pick in last year’s draft as he selected the Russian over some big, highly skilled wingers.
Hextall admitted the organization did more character digging on Rubtsov than perhaps any player he’s drafted. Rubtsov did not participate in the team’s prospect camp a year ago, so this will be our first look at him.
Rubtsov carved up the QMJHL in the short amount of time he played, and in all likelihood, he will return to Chicoutimi for next season.
From what little I’ve seen from Rubtsov, he has really good hockey sense and is the ideal two-way center Hextall prefers.
4. Morgan Frost (No. 68)
Of the five prospects listed here, Frost is the youngest and furthest away from making the NHL. However, the name should stick with you considering he’s the player the entire scouting department was sold on when Hextall decided to add a late first-round pick when the Flyers traded Brayden Schenn to St. Louis.
You may have also read Frost’s (now deleted) tweet from 2013 when he called the Flyers s--- following the team’s 7-0 blowout to the Capitals. Frost was just a kid and he’s obviously wised up as scouts and analysts rave about his smarts.
Frost also has excellent acceleration on the ice, which is much needed for a team that lacks overall speed.
5. Carter Hart (No. 79)
With Michal Neuvirth and Brian Elliott signed to respective two-year contracts, one of the goalie prospects should emerge to be “the guy” for the 2019-20 season.
Right now, Carter Hart appears to be the frontrunner. He was the No. 1 goaltender in the CHL with the Everett Silvertips of the Western Hockey League last season.
Phantoms goalie Alex Lyon referred to Hart as “so physically gifted” and, impressively, he’s also incredibly mature for an 18-year-old with a deep understanding of the history of the goaltending position.
After he backstopped Team Canada to the silver medal at the World Junior Championships, Flyers fans can see for themselves the next franchise goalie since the guy who drafted him.