Morgan Frost

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

michigan-athletics-cooper-marody.jpg
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.

Future Flyers Report: Did we overhype Oskar Lindblom?

aaron-bell-ap-pascal-laberge-oskar-lindblom-morgan-frost.jpg
Aaron Bell/AP Images

Future Flyers Report: Did we overhype Oskar Lindblom?

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 try to make sense of a highly-touted prospect not living up to his hype … and try to answer the question if we, the media, built him up too much.

Oskar Lindblom, LW, 21, 6-1/192, Lehigh Valley (AHL)
I think it’s a fair time to reflect on this question, because coming into this season, there was a ton of noise surrounding Lindblom’s move to North America. Many, including myself, expected Lindblom to crack the Flyers’ lineup immediately and he didn’t.

With prospects, it’s easy to get carried away sometimes. Especially when they dominate their respective leagues, and in Lindblom’s case, he dictated the SHL as a 20-year-old.

Through seven games with the Phantoms, Lindblom's offense has yet to blossom. He scooped up his first assist in the Phantoms' 4-3 win Saturday over Binghamton.

"He's playing hard," Flyers general manager Ron Hextall said of Lindblom last Thursday. "Is he to the level that he can play? No, he's not but that's going to come. …

"Everybody's talking about him. He comes here, there's all this hype. It's unfair, quite frankly, the expectations that some of these kids come in with."

Lindblom came overseas after he scored 61 points in 72 games, including postseason, last season with Brynäs IF. Add in international play, it was even more impressive.

There was a ton of interest around Lindblom during development camp in July. It was clear then he was strong enough to play in the NHL, even in a non-competitive camp. Then came the rookie camp. The strength was there, the compete level was there.

Then came training camp and preseason. Lindblom started strong but fizzled out. The scoring didn't come as naturally as expected and while his skating was visibly improved, there were still times you could see additional work was needed in this atmosphere.

"Oskar did some good things (in preseason)," Hextall said. "Probably not quite at the level that we want him to get to or that he's hoping to. It was pretty obvious — not early, but as we got along, that he wasn't quite ready for this level. That's OK. He didn't fail.”

As easy as it is to get carried away with prospects, it’s just as easy to overreact. Lindblom hasn’t quite performed as projected yet, but it’s easy to dismiss the rink and speed adjustment from playing in Sweden to North America. He remains a top prospect.

And on Saturday against the Devils, Lindblom started to show signs of the player people expected to see. He created chances, rung some posts and was strong on the puck.

Did we overhype Lindblom? I don’t think so. Did we place unfair expectations on him?

Yeah, perhaps we did.

2017 CIBC Canada Russia Series
Last week, Teams WHL, QMJHL and OHL revealed their rosters for this year’s series, which begins Nov. 6 and ends Nov. 16. Team Russia has yet to announce its roster.

Three Flyers prospects are confirmed for the series: Carter Hart (Everett, Team WHL), Pascal Laberge (Victoriaville, Team QMJHL) and Morgan Frost (Sault Ste. Marie, Team OHL). German Rubtsov is not on Team QMJHl but should be on Team Russia.

Hart remains out of action because of mono but appears to be getting closer to a return.

Laberge is enjoying a solid start to his 2017-18 campaign. In three games last week, Laberge, 19, had two assists. He now has 10 points in 10 games this season.

Rubtsov had a goal and two assists last week for Chicoutimi and has six points during his current six-game point streak. He scored his first of the season Saturday night.

Frost, the Flyers’ second 2017 first-round pick, continued to produce for the Greyhounds last week with a goal and three assists in three games. He has 14 points (four goals, 10 assists) in 14 games this season and is a plus-11.

Quick Hits
Mike Vecchione added two more assists last week with the Phantoms. He’s on a four-game assist streak and is a point-per-game play thus far (seven in seven).

Philippe Myers suffered an injury in the second period of the Phantoms’ 5-2 win over Bridgeport Friday night and missed Saturday’s game. There is no update on his status.

Nicolas Aube-Kubel had a two-point weekend, picking up an assist Friday and scoring Saturday night. He’s on a three-game point streak and has five in seven games.

Samuel Morin stuffed the stat sheet on Saturday night, with a goal, assist, three shots and six penalty minutes. He had an assist Friday and has points in three straight. Morin appears in line to be called up to the Flyers after Andrew MacDonald's injury.

• Though not considered a high-end prospect by any means, Danick Martel, 22, is worth mentioning. The 5-foot-8 winger is off to a torrid start with the Phantoms.

Martel had two goals and an assist Friday against Bridgeport. He has seven goals and 10 points in seven games, with three multi-point games, 23 shots and a plus-10 rating.

Wade Allison had a two-assist night in Western Michigan’s 6-4 loss to Michigan State. He has seven assists and nine points, with three multi-point games, in seven games.

• It was a big weekend for sophomore Tanner Laczynski, who had an assist Friday and three assists Saturday night as Ohio State swept Massachusetts.

Carsen Twarynski had a hat trick Saturday night in Kelowna’s 7-2 win over Portland. Watch all three goals here. Twarynski has six goals and 11 points in nine games.

• Guelph winger Isaac Ratcliffe had a two-goal game Saturday night in the Storm’s 2-1 win over Saginaw. He was pointless in two other games last week.

Maksim Sushko followed up a monster six-point weekend with a goal and an assist this past weekend for Owen Sound.

Wyatt Kalynuk recorded his first collegiate point, an assist, in No. 6 Wisconsin’s 4-0 win over Northern Michigan on Saturday night. Kalynuk has one point in seven games.

Matej Tomek stopped 20 of 21 shots in USHL Waterloo’s 4-1 win over Sioux City.

• A rare clunker from Felix Sandstrom last week. Sandstrom allowed five goals on 36 shots in Brynäs IF’s 5-4 loss to Rögle BK on Thursday.

Olle Lycksell had two goals last week for Linköping HC J20. He has five goals and 10 points in 13 games, one more point in the league than he had in 29 games last season.

Future Flyers Report: Still questioning the Morgan Frost draft pick?

aaron-bell-tom-dougherty-usa-morgran-frost-felix-sandstrom-connor-bunnaman.jpg
Aaron Bell/NBCSP/USA Today Images

Future Flyers Report: Still questioning the Morgan Frost draft pick?

Welcome back to the return of the Future Flyers Report, a weekly column tracking the development of the Flyers’ prospects. This year, we’ll try some new tricks along the way.

We’re nine days out from the Flyers’ season opener, and when preseason ends, it’s expected that a few mainstays of this report from years past will graduate to the NHL. That’s OK. As the Flyers enter their youth movement, we’ll continue evaluating their first-year players with weekly reports on their progress throughout their rookie seasons.

The CHL opened its regular season last week, and international leagues have been underway since earlier this month. As hockey season returns, let’s dig into the future.

Morgan Frost, C, 18, 5-11/172, Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)
Think back to draft night in June, when the Flyers traded Brayden Schenn to the Blues and then used the 27th overall pick on Frost. Not many knew who Frost was, and the projections had the centerman as a second-round pick. Fans reacted as such on social media, without ever seeing Frost play. I didn’t know too much about the player when the Flyers drafted him, but all the reports were positive and I immediately thought of the Travis Sanheim draft. It’s too early to say Frost will rise to that level of prospect, but he showed in development camp the hockey smarts and playmaking ability that drew the Flyers to him.

Frost had an explosive start to the season this weekend, especially Saturday night in the Greyhounds' season opener against Oshawa, a 7-4 loss. He picked up two assists in Sault Ste. Marie's loss, but his first helper was a dandy. Frost found Tim Gettinger open in the faceoff circle across the ice, through multiple defenders with a slap-pass and Gettinger finished with the goal. On Sunday night, Frost followed up with a shorthanded penalty shot for his first tally of the season.

It was exactly the type of start you'd want to see from Frost, who was sort of a riser in his draft class. It's his third season in the OHL, and you want to see a leap offensively from him. He got off to a strong start this weekend.

Felix Sandstrom, G, 20, 6-2/192, Brynäs IF (SHL)
One of the Flyers’ top goalie prospects, Sandstrom was expected to miss the start of the season because of a simple laparoscopic procedure, but the procedure was postponed. Sandstrom made his first start Thursday, stopping 29 of 32 shots in Brynäs’ 4-2 loss to HV71. With Oskar Lindblom, German Rubtsov and Mikhail Vorobyev in North America, Sandstrom is the most intriguing international prospect in the Flyers’ system. It’s a safe bet he’ll be the top-selling international flavor of this report this year.

Connor Bunnaman, C, 19, 6-1/207, Kitchener (OHL)
Before the Rangers’ first game Friday against Flint, Bunnaman was named the 53rd captain in Kitchener history, replacing Frank Hora, who is with the Phantoms on an AHL contract. Bunnaman joins Mike Richards (2003-05) and Bill Barber (1971-72) as Flyers draft picks who wore the ‘C’ with the Rangers. Paul Evans, who was drafted by the Kings but later played for the Flyers, was the Rangers’ captain in 1973-74. Bunnaman also played in his 200th career OHL game Friday night, recording three shots and no points in a 5-3 Rangers loss. He was highly effective in the Rangers’ 3-1 win over Sarnia on Saturday night with five shots on goal, his first assist and a plus-three rating.

Anthony Salinitri, C, 19, 5-11/170, Sarnia (OHL)
This is an important season for Salinitri if he wants to earn an entry-level contract with the Flyers. This will be the Flyers’ final season of holding Salinitri’s rights before having to decide to either sign him or let him go. They elected not to sign Sam Dove-McFalls this summer, and Salinitri, a 2016 sixth-round pick, is in a similar situation. There’s no guarantee the Flyers sign him, and he was cut early during training camp. With a 50-contract limit, the pressure is on Salinitri to make a major impact this year in Sarnia.

Salinitri’s 2017-18 campaign didn’t get off to a bad start, though. In his first game Friday night, the centerman scored his first goal of the season and also potted a shootout goal in the Sting’s 4-3 win over the Guelph Storm. He did lose 10 of his 13 faceoffs, however. On Saturday night, against Kitchener, Salinitri was a minus-two with two penalty minutes, two shots on goal and no points. He won two of his five faceoffs in the 3-1 loss.

Pascal Laberge, C/RW, 19, 6-1/162, Victoriaville (QMJHL)
Laberge is another prospect with an important season ahead of him. After dealing with more adversity in 2016-17, this time with concussion issues, Laberge has to put himself back in good standing within the Flyers’ organization. General manager Ron Hextall, while understanding of the situation, made it clear this summer he didn’t like the way Laberge competed at times last season. In training camp, Laberge showed he still has a lot of work to do. Still, the 2016 second-round pick still has plenty time to develop.

I would expect Laberge to have a bounce-back season. In Victoriaville’s season opener Friday night, Laberge was the top-line center. He was held pointless in the Tigres’ 2-1 win over Gatineau, registering three shots and winning 50 percent of his draws. Laberge picked up his first point of the season Sunday night, setting up Maxime Comtois' game-winning goal in the Tigres' 4-3 overtime win over Shawinigan.

Quick hits
• Rubtsov was unavailable for Chicoutimi during the Saguenéens’ opening weekend because of paperwork, according to La Presse. He should play this week.

Isaac Ratcliffe, a hulking 6-6 winger, netted a shootout goal in Guelph’s 4-3 loss to Sarnia on Friday but didn’t register any points in either of the Storm’s first two games.

David Kase, a 20-year-old European prospect who’s playing in the SHL this season, had a goal and assist with three shots in Mora IK’s 5-1 win over Rogle on Thursday.

Olle Lycksell, a 2017 sixth-round pick, has four assists in four games with the Linköping HC J20 team.

Linus Högberg, a 2016 fifth-round pick, has an assist in three games with Växjö (SHL).

Valeri Vasiliev has three assists in four games and is averaging over 17 minutes with Severstal (KHL). Vasiliev, 23, was a seventh-round pick in 2012.

• The Russian goalies: Ivan Fedotov has a 1.92 goals-against average and .905 save percentage in four games with Toros Neftekamsk (VHL). Kirill Ustimenko has a 2.00 GAA and .904 save percentage in six games with Dynamo St. Petersburg (MHL).