Flyers

2020 NHL draft profile: Jake Neighbours, a 'power forward' with skill, could be an option for Flyers

2020 NHL draft profile: Jake Neighbours, a 'power forward' with skill, could be an option for Flyers

This month and into June, we'll break down NHL draft options for the Flyers, who have seven selections this year and would currently pick 26th in the first round.

Today, we’ll look at a left winger who’s already earned a reputation as a “power forward.” 

Jake Neighbours 

Position: Left wing 
Height: 6-foot
Weight: 195 pounds 
Shoots: Left 
Team: Edmonton Oil Kings 

Scouting report

The 18-year-old Neighbours relishes the physical aspects of hockey.

“Growing up, I was bigger than some guys and once I got to where hitting was allowed, I loved throwing big ones,” he told Jim Matheson of The Edmonton Journal. “Being physical is what my dad preached for a long time. And the chirping develops as you get older. I like that too, but it depends who you’re chirping against.”

He’s shown the willingness to fight, too, and can fire a right hand. 

Of course, a player doesn’t draw consideration in the early rounds of the NHL draft just because of his physicality. Neighbours produced more than a point per game this season, posting 23 goals and 47 assists in 64 WHL contests. He’s a decent skater for his size, sets up his teammates effectively and has a nice wrist shot in his arsenal. Neighbours profiles as a player who could help both the penalty kill and power play units at the NHL level, given his ability to protect the puck and force the action offensively. However, he produced only three power play goals this season, a number you’d like to see rise as he continues to develop. 

"He's one of those forwards I'd put in the power forward with good skill who can make plays category," Brad Lauer, his head coach with the Oil Kings, told Dave McCarthy for NHL.com. "But he's also a big body who can play a heavy game in those tight, below the goal line, getting to the net type of games. He's got that ability to be that big man and the ability to make plays with good hands and a good hockey sense. He doesn't shy away from tough areas and that is a strong point of his game."

Another quality that stands out with Neighbours is his character, which those close to him rave about. He captained the Canada White U-17 team and generally seems to be the kind of guy you’d like in your locker room, a selfless kid and diligent worker, as The Athletic’s Scott Cruickshank detailed

Fit with Flyers 

Down the line, one could see Neighbours’ relentless, aggressive game fitting well in Alain Vigneault’s forecheck-focused system. 

Based on where he’s ranked — he's the 26th-ranked North American skater by NHL Central Scouting, while ESPN's Chris Peters puts him at No. 33 overall and TSN’s Craig Button has him at No. 43  — he could be an option for the Flyers in either the first round or the second. 

(Codie McLachlan/Edmonton Oil Kings)

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Flyers Talk podcast: Analyzing possible playoff matchups in NHL's 24-team format

Flyers Talk podcast: Analyzing possible playoff matchups in NHL's 24-team format

On the latest Flyers Talk podcast, NBC Sports Philadelphia's Katie Emmer and Jordan Hall pick a playoff matchup for the orange and black.

From looking at the 24-team format to Michael Barkann's interview with Bernie Parent, let's dive in:

1:00 — Which playoff matchup would we prefer for the Flyers?

6:00 — Should we care about fairness in the 24-team bracket?

10:15 — Pick one of the two: season canceled or Penguins win the Cup?

13:30 — Parent has high praise for Carter Hart and the Flyers

16:25 — Why Hart is a great fit for Philadelphia

20:00 — Sharing our most painful hockey memory

25:30 — A taste of the "Marathon on Ice"

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NHL releases detailed protocol for Phase 2 in potential step toward resuming 2019-20 season

NHL releases detailed protocol for Phase 2 in potential step toward resuming 2019-20 season

The NHL on Monday released a protocol for a potential Phase 2 in its hope to eventually resume the season and award the Stanley Cup.

Phase 2 would see players being allowed to return to team practice facilities for voluntary small-group individualized training activities, whether it be on or off the ice.

The NHL is targeting a date in early June for an implementation of Phase 2, "however, it has not yet been determined when precisely Phase 2 will start or how long it may last," the league stated.

The 2019-20 season was suspended on March 12 because of the coronavirus outbreak. The league is hoping to resume the season under a 24-team format, but specific details for such a scenario are to be determined.

As for Phase 2, here is a section from the NHL's memorandum:

We are continuing to monitor developments in each of the club’s markets, and may adjust the overall timing if appropriate, following discussion with all relevant parties.

As we have stated repeatedly, the health of the players and club personnel is our top priority, and that will dictate how Phase 2, and any progression thereafter, may evolve. We again emphasize that player participation in Phase 2 is strictly voluntary. In addition, clubs are not permitted to require players to return to the club’s home city so they can complete a quarantine requirement in time to participate in Phase 2.

Clubs whose local health authorities would allow for the reopening of club facilities will be required to consult with and seek approval from the league prior to any reopening of club facilities. In those jurisdictions which continue to restrict or prohibit such activity from occurring, and in order to address potential competitive concerns, the league will work with those clubs to facilitate alternative arrangements, if desired. Further, clubs are required to comply with the public health mandates and recommended best practices of the CDC and/or Public Health Agency of Canada (“Health Canada”) applicable to them and the facility in which Phase 2 activities are to take place, including any changes to such recommendations that may take place after the commencement of Phase 2.

Let's look at some of the key points from the league's memorandum, which you can read in full here.

Testing

Players and club personnel shall be administered laboratory-based RT-PCR tests 48 hours prior to anyone returning to their team's training facility. The testing "must be done in the context of excess testing capacity, so as to not deprive health care workers, vulnerable populations and symptomatic individuals from necessary diagnostic tests," the league stated.

To determine if this will be feasible in each club’s local market, clubs shall engage with your local health authorit(ies) (as well as any other applicable health authorities such as state, provincial or federal) to determine whether asymptomatic players and other club personnel are eligible under applicable regulations and local conditions to receive PCR tests, either publicly or privately, provided that doing so does not take testing resources away from publicly necessary testing.

If testing is not available at the start of Phase 2, players who wish to participate in Phase 2 activities and “Player Access” club personnel must self-quarantine for 14 days prior to entering the facility (or, certify that they have already served a self-quarantine for the prior 14 days in the club’s home market, in which event they will be eligible to enter the facility when Phase 2 begins).

Self-quarantine

Before being allowed access to club facilities, players and permitted personnel may be required to serve a 14-day self-quarantine period imposed by local health authorities, regardless of their mode of travel (private or charter travel).

Even if not imposed by the local health authorities, such individuals returning to the club’s home city by public transportation, including commercial air or rail travel, must serve a 14-day self-quarantine period post-travel before engaging in training activities at their club’s facility.

If players and personnel departed this week for their respective club's city, it would allow them access to the facility sometime in the second week of June, if the league has decided to implement Phase 2.

Permitted activities

Six players are permitted inside the facility per session, while coaches and hockey operations personnel will be allowed to observe "the player-only non-contact skates commencing on the later of the date on which the commencement of training camp is announced by the League or two weeks after the club’s commencement of Phase 2 activities," the league stated.

Skating will consist of non-contact sessions with appropriate social distancing.

When players are not participating in on-ice activities they will be permitted to utilize the club’s exercise and weight room equipment, or receive individual treatment from the club’s medical/training staff:

• Weight training that does not include the need for a spotter 
• Circuit-based activities such as resistance training
• Cardiovascular exercises and endurance training
• Rehabilitation and treatment for players with ongoing disabling injuries and for players with non-disabling injuries, may be provided as directed by club medical/training staff

What's next?

There is no firm date for Phase 2. But if the NHL implements it in early June, it could allow for eventual training camps in late June and a possible resumption of the season at some point in July.

That roadmap is in complete theory. The situation will continue to be a day-to-day process for the NHL. Things can change and there are still many obstacles but the detailed plan for Phase 2 is a potential step forward.

June is when the Stanley Cup is typically awarded and the month in which the NHL entry draft is normally held. The NHL will soon have decisions to make on the date of the currently-postponed draft. There could also be an announcement this week on the specifics of the 24-team format. Here's how it could look for the Flyers.

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