Flyers

5 prospects that flew under the radar during Flyers development camp

5 prospects that flew under the radar during Flyers development camp

When you think of the Flyers' top prospects, the names Morgan Frost, Isaac Ratcliffe, Felix Sandstrom and Joel Farabee are often the first to come to mind.

These prospects also happened to have the most buzz around development camp that officially wrapped up June 29.

The Flyers have one of the deepest prospect pools in the league and when looking a little deeper into the system, a few other names stood out during camp and should be on everyone’s radar for the upcoming season.

Here are five prospects that have been flying under the radar. 

German Rubtsov

Since being drafted by the Flyers in 2016, Rubtsov has flown far under the radar on the list of prospects and this most recent development camp was no different.

A season-ending shoulder injury with the Phantoms cut his first year pro short after just 14 games. What we did see in that short stint of games was one of the most consistent performances from any player on the team with 10 points (six goals, four assists).

After months of rehabbing and regaining his strength, Rubtsov was ready to bring his A-game to camp in late June.

It seems like everything is coming together for the center but the biggest takeaway was watching his ability to drive play. He is capable of making those around him succeed, as well, something that shows a lot of intelligence for the 21-year-old.

If Rubtsov can get back to the level of productivity we saw less than one year ago, expect him to make a big impact with the Phantoms — so much so that he would have a solid chance at making the short list of call-ups to the Flyers during the season.

Maxim Sushko

From Day 1 of development camp, Sushko made an impact.

The right winger drafted by the Flyers in 2017 was easily one of the strongest skaters that hit the ice, often leading his group in drills to help demonstrate to the newer prospects.

Fluid motions that lead to clean stops all while having clear control of the puck will certainly make any prospect stand out.

In his most recent season with the OHL's Owen Sound Attack, Sushko registered 51 points (18 goals, 33 assists). He is eligible to play for the Phantoms next season and could be a solid upgrade as a middle-six player.

Pascal Laberge

Laberge has had a difficult track record when it comes to staying healthy. His most recent injury came prior to the start of last season with the Phantoms — a hip injury that required surgery and kept him out for the first five months of the season.

With a significantly short first professional season, he had to make his mark at camp and show everyone just why he was selected 36th overall by the Flyers in 2016. 

Selflessness brings success for the 21-year-old center.  

While there is little hesitation to his game and he isn’t afraid to simply shoot the puck, he often trusts his gut by setting others up for solid scoring chances. Even if they don’t score, he is great at anticipating where the puck will be next and often gets to it first.

If Laberge can stay healthy for the entirety of the 2019-20 season, expect a huge turnaround in his play and confidence level. It wouldn’t be a surprise if a more active leadership role is taken by him, as well, since that is a position he often held in the past. 

Kirill Ustimenko

It's no secret that the Flyers have struggled in net consistently over the past few seasons, so having depth moving forward is a crucial element for success.

Luckily for the Flyers, Ustimenko has the potential to provide just that.

Ustimenko had a very calm presence between the pipes and his skill set really showed during the 3-on-3 tournament at development camp. The rink was split in half, meaning the turnaround time for the goaltenders was next to none.

Always prepared and confident moving from post to post, Ustimenko may be developing at a faster pace than many anticipated.

After recently signing his entry-level contract on May 1, he is set to join the Phantoms this upcoming season (see story)

Alex Lyon and Sandstrom are also set to be with the Phantoms but odds are the team won't run with three goaltenders and one may find himself with the Royals in the ECHL.

Bryce Brodzinski

After Brodzinski was just barely eligible for the 2018 draft and went unselected, the Flyers saw something in him and selected him 196th overall one year later in 2019.

While having played only 19 games in the USHL with the Omaha Lancers last season, Brodzinski made sure to bring his strengths that enticed the Flyers to draft him.

One word that would be able to describe him offensively: fearless. During the 5-on-5 scrimmage, he was able to make room for himself every time he entered the offensive zone. Oftentimes he’d find an open route to the net and while he didn’t crack the scoreboard, the chances he had didn’t go unnoticed. 

If able to translate his skills to the pro level, he has the chance to be a pure shooter anywhere in the offensive zone. 

Brodzinski may be one of the newer prospects in the system but has the potential to do great things once playing for the orange and black. Next up, he is headed to the University of Minnesota in the fall to play for the Gophers. 

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Flyers

Among Flyers prospects, Carsen Twarynski is making everyone know his name

Among Flyers prospects, Carsen Twarynski is making everyone know his name

Alain Vigneault has been tasked with watching a lot of new players in a condensed period of time.

Flyers training camp opened with 63 players on the roster. Understandably, Vigneault is still learning about his players four games into the preseason.

Prior to Saturday night's exhibition contest, the Flyers' head coach innocuously had trouble pronouncing Carsen Twarynski's name as he rattled off the lineup in his pregame media availability.

Following the game, he said it perfectly.

"For me, the best player on the ice was Twarynski," Vigneault said after the Flyers' 4-1 win over the Rangers at the Wells Fargo Center (see observations). "He played a solid game at both ends, good on the forecheck, made some good decisions. There's no doubt the young man is making a strong case for himself."

Best player on the ice, on a night when the Flyers dressed forwards Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek, Kevin Hayes, James van Riemsdyk and Travis Konecny. The Flyers played a majority of their regulars at all positions.

Twarynski is a prospect and not the Flyers' most touted one, either. He doesn't care and nor do the Flyers, who are clearly considering the 21-year-old winger for their bottom-six vacancies.

Twarynski scored an impressive goal on sheer effort in the Flyers' win. He played just 11:44 but led the Flyers with seven shots and also had three hits.

"When I'm going fast, it's when I'm doing my best," Twarynski said. "As long as I'm moving my feet and playing with guys that understand that and play the same way, it's going to work well and it's going to click well and I think that's what you guys saw tonight."

The 6-foot-2, 206-pounder plays a bottom-six style and understands what the Flyers need. He has earned himself another preseason game. If he plays well again, he'll be right in the conversation for the season-opening roster.

"I've got to outwork [opponents], I'm trying to earn a spot here," Twarynski said. "I'm not a flashy player by any means and I know the spot that I'm battling for. I've got to work hard, that's what I've done my whole life and that's what I'm going to keep on doing.

"I've been through a lot of adversity though my hockey career. Growing up, wasn't on any national teams or Alberta teams or provincial teams. I've always had to work my way up through the first year and develop and make a step to the big league the next year. It's nothing new to me, I've just got to keep on going, keep working hard."

While the 2016 third-round pick got on the score sheet, Joel Farabee and Morgan Frost did not. The two prospects continued to show their skill and playmaking abilities but have not put up points. The Flyers certainly wouldn't mind seeing production — it's what can force the hand of the front office and coaching staff. If Farabee and Frost are scoring, it's harder to keep them off the roster.

"I don't think we're at that decision-making point," Vigneault said. "We still have a few games before we leave for Europe. But those two young men, you can tell there's a tremendous amount of potential and upside, smarts to their game. We have a lot to work with there. It's just a matter of doing what's right for the team and that's what we're going to do here when we make the final decisions.

"Just for feeling good about yourself and confidence-wise, it would be great to see them [score]. They're getting so many looks. You always say as long as the chances are there, sooner or later it's going to pay off. I'm hoping for those young men that it is because there's no doubt that they're playing well."

But the best player on the ice Saturday night was Twarynski.

His head coach didn't have trouble seeing or saying that.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Flyers

Flyers give Alain Vigneault what he wanted, prospects update, more from first preseason win

Flyers give Alain Vigneault what he wanted, prospects update, more from first preseason win

BOX SCORE 

Alain Vigneault wanted to accelerate the process as the Flyers inch closer to the Oct. 4 regular season opener in Prague, Czech Republic.

He saw some acceleration Saturday night.

Playing a lot of regulars, the Flyers won their first preseason game in four tries by beating the Rangers, 4-1, at the Wells Fargo Center. The team looked a hell of a lot better after losing to the Bruins' B-squad Thursday night, which prompted Vigneault's decision to change the Flyers' preseason plan.

Vigneault watched the game from the hockey operations suite in the press box. Just wanted a different view, perhaps? Vigneault evaluated alongside general manager Chuck Fletcher and assistant general manager Brent Flahr.

During the opening period, the Flyers scored two goals in a 1:32 span, half their total of goals through the first three preseason games.

Let's get into observations:

• Travis Konecny was flying all over the ice in his preseason debut. He was active and a constant threat. He had been adamant about how missing the first three days of training camp wouldn't impact his readiness for the regular season.

Konecny made a point Saturday — he looked really good.

• Playing his third game, Joel Farabee had big-time scoring chances during the second period. He tried patiently holding the puck and sort of second-guessed his move on the first. He then couldn't convert on a 2-on-0 late in the frame. When he skated to the bench, he showed his frustration. The 19-year-old might be pressing a tad.

In his second game, Morgan Frost showed his skill with the puck but couldn't crack the score sheet, either. Both continued to do positive things but somewhat blended in as the veterans stole the spotlight.

Production gets you noticed and the Flyers' two top prospects have yet to put up points. The Flyers need bottom-six depth. The Nolan Patrick and Tyler Pitlick injuries could impact the kids' chances, as well.

We'll have to see how many more games Farabee and Frost get to open eyes.

• Kevin Hayes once again showed why his size can be so disruptive. He planted himself in front and Jakub Voracek, with great vision, couldn't miss the 6-foot-5 center for a 2-0 lead.

Hayes has a goal and an assist through two preseason games. Both points were products of Hayes' strategy with his size. He makes the Flyers tougher to play against.

• Speaking of Voracek, he was dominant. He finished with two assists and a goal. His vision alongside Hayes' size could be a productive combo.

• Carter Hart has stopped all 25 shots he's faced through three-plus periods of preseason action. He looks ready to go. He'll play a full game before the Oct. 4 opener.

• The Flyers entered Saturday without a power play goal through three preseason games. On the team's first man advantage opportunity of the game, it cashed in as Claude Giroux found James van Riemsdyk right in front for a 1-0 lead.

The Flyers finished with two power play goals.

Here's a thought: JVR on the top line with Giroux and Sean Couturier to start the season. There's just so much chemistry between Giroux and van Riemsdyk. We saw it last season when it sparked van Riemsdyk over a prolific stretch.

Just a thought.

• Carsen Twarynski, an under-the-radar bottom-six candidate, scored during the second period behind some excellent effort. He played a puck to himself along the boards and then tapped home his own rebound to make it 3-0.

If he's back with AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley, a fast start to his second season will help his chances at a potential call up to the big club. In 2018-19, he had one goal and four points through his first 20 games with the Phantoms.

• Chris Stewart dropped the gloves for his second fight of the preseason just 1:27 into the game. He also put the Rangers on the power play in the first period when he was whistled for interference. Not sure he helped his case for the roster, although he did have an assist.

• Matt Niskanen and Ivan Provorov weren't paired together but both played well. Niskanen looked a lot more comfortable and broke up scoring chances. Provorov was impressive in all areas, including the power play as the point man.

• The Flyers are expected to practice Sunday in Voorhees, New Jersey, before heading to Boston to play the Bruins Monday in their fifth preseason game (7 p.m./NBCSP+).

The team has three exhibition games remaining. It flies out to Switzerland on Sept. 27 before its final preseason contest on Sept. 30.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Flyers