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)
As the Flyers continue their spiral below mediocrity and toward just plain bad, it's easy to point to the Brayden Schenn trade as one of the downfalls of this regime.
It's even easier to look at Schenn's explosive start in St. Louis and the Flyers' glaring secondary scoring issues and say it was a mistake to trade Schenn. It's too soon for that. To understand the Schenn trade, we first have to ask ourselves if Schenn would be producing at the same rate here in Philly. I don't know if he would. Schenn was given ample opportunity here, and while he was a 25-goal scorer, he never took the next step.
The Flyers yanked him around the lineup, from center to wing, and they never found a spot for him. He was a power-play specialist last season and didn't look to be much more. Now he's in St. Louis, and he's finally showcasing the player many pegged him to be when he was drafted fifth overall in 2009 by the Kings. The breakup did Schenn well.
Schenn would certainly help the Flyers' secondary scoring woes. In a perfect world, he would have shown this type of production more consistently in a Flyers sweater. He didn't, and general manager Ron Hextall didn't think he had another level so he traded him for two first-round picks and Jori Lehtera on draft night in June.
One of those picks is Frost; the other first-round pick comes next June in what's considered a deep draft class. Lehtera was a salary dump by the Blues. It’s too soon to truly judge the Schenn trade, and Frost again reaffirmed this notion last week.
Frost had a monster week for Sault Ste. Marie, registering eight points in three games. He had a four-point game — one goal, three assists — in an 8-2 win Friday night over Kitchener. Then, on Saturday, he had two more assists in an 8-3 win over Peterborough.
He has 22 points in his last 12 games and 31 in his last 18. He’s averaging 1.44 points per game, leads the OHL in plus/minus with a plus-26 rating, is fifth in the league with 36 points and third with 24 assists.
The Schenn trade was more of a long-term play, another move by Hextall that suggests this is still a rebuilding process. Frost has proven to be a legitimate prospect worthy of a first-round selection. There is still another first-rounder to come of it, too.
It’s far from the right time to even consider judging this trade. Even when it is, all things considered, it still may make sense.
Carter Hart, G, 19, 6-1/177, Everett (WHL)
It’s almost as if Hart never missed any time this season with mononucleosis.
Hart has been spectacular since returning Nov. 3, and last Wednesday, he broke Everett’s franchise record with his 22nd career shutout — a 43-save effort vs. Tri-City.
In his two other starts last week, Hart stopped 34 of 35 shots and 22 of 24 shots, as he’s won his last three games. In fact, he’s won six of his last seven starts. Since Nov. 3, Hart has three shutouts, a .960 save percentage and 1.30 goals-against average.
Despite missing time because of mono, Hart leads the WHL in GAA (1.63), save percentage (.951) and shutouts (three). And with the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championships approaching, it’s a safe bet Hart will be back in net for Team Canada.
Matthew Strome, LW, 18, 6-3/201, Hamilton (OHL)
We haven’t talked much about Strome this season, but it’s not because of a lack of production. The 6-foot-3 winger is producing slightly above a point-per-game clip, and this past weekend, Strome produced one of the best goals we’ll see this season in all of hockey.
It was Hamilton’s fifth goal of a 6-2 win over the Ottawa 67’s and Strome’s second tally of the game. Strome also had an assist for a three-point game Saturday night. Strome has points in nine of his last 10 games, including three two-goal games and three three-point games. The 2017 fourth-round pick has 24 points in 23 games.
If Strome's skating improves, the Flyers very well have found a nice piece in the fourth round. Strome has good hockey sense and knows how to find the back of the net. He just needs to greatly improve his skating. He knows it. The Flyers know it too.
• The numbers for Alex Lyon still are not pretty. Lyon started two of the Phantoms’ three games, and he continued to put up discouraging numbers. Lyon, in his second pro season, won a game and lost a game last week but gave up seven goals on 76 shots.
In his past seven games, Lyon has allowed 27 goals and has a .872 save percentage. He now has a 3.44 goals-against average and .894 save percentage in 14 starts.
• After a four-game pointless stretch, Oskar Lindblom broke out with points in his past two games. He had a goal and an assist Friday and then an assist Saturday night.
• Philippe Myers had an assist last Wednesday, but was again injured Saturday. Myers did not play the third period or overtime against Bridgeport. Myers has missed six games this season with injuries. In 14 games, he has two goals and nine points.
• Western Michigan winger Wade Allison had a two-goal game Friday in the No. 11 Broncos’ 5-3 win over No. 18 Colgate. He now has 10 goals in 15 games this season.
• Cooper Marody’s string of multi-point games ended Friday when he was held pointless (I double checked) in the first game of a home-and-home with No. 15 Ohio State.
It didn’t take long for Marody to get back on the scoresheet, however. Marody picked up an assist in No. 17 Michigan’s 5-1 loss to OSU on Saturday night.
• Tanner Laczynski, after a slow start to his sophomore season, has produced at a consistent rate for No. 15 Ohio State. Laczynski had an assist in the Buckeyes’ win Friday, and then a goal and two assists in OSU’s 5-1 win over Michigan Saturday.
Laczynski leads OSU with 12 assists and 17 points. He’s riding a five-game point streak, recording eight points during that stretch. He has points in nine of his past 10 games after going pointless in his first four games of the season.
• Isaac Ratcliffe is starting to heat up for the Guelph Storm. Ratcliffe saw his four-game goal streak end Sunday but has seven goals and 13 points in his last eight games.
• Pascal Laberge had a goal and an assist in four games last week for Victoriaville, but is suspended one game after receiving a game misconduct Saturday night.
• Kelowna’s Carsen Twarynski had a big week. Twarynski had five points in three games and is riding a three-game goal streak. He had a goal and two assists in the Rockets’ 4-0 win over Medicine Hat on Saturday with this shorthanded beauty:
• Connor Bunnaman’s point streak reached six games Sunday. Bunnaman has nine points in his last six games, with three multi-point contests.
• Brynäs IF goalie Felix Sandstrom remains out with a stomach issue. Sandstrom hasn’t played since Oct. 26.
• Olle Lycksell tallied his second career SHL goal last Tuesday in Linköping’s 4-3 overtime win over Brynäs. Lycksell has two goals in eight games with Linköping.