As the Flyers’ bye weeks gets underway today, it’s time for our weekly check-in on the Flyers’ prospects playing in the AHL, overseas and at the junior and college levels.
Carter Hart, 19, G, 6-1/177, Canada
Canada is back on top of the junior world, and Hart is one reason why. Hart starred during the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championships, and when you thought the hype machine couldn’t get louder, he elevated his game to another level on the biggest stage.
It’s hard to remember a Flyers goaltending prospect creating this much buzz, both locally and nationally, but Hart is genuinely one of the most intriguing junior goalies of the last decade. What he’s doing for Everett in the WHL is remarkable, and he redeemed himself in the world juniors after a heartbreaking loss in the 2017 games.
Hart saved his best for last, turning aside 35 shots in Canada’s 3-1 win Friday over Sweden to capture gold and was named the player of the game. He allowed just 11 goals on 156 shots in seven games, lost once, posted a .930 save percentage and had a shutout. He said he needed to be better before the gold medal game and he was.
Over the next few weeks, months and years, the excitement will continue to grow until Hart suits up as a Flyer. It’s hard to put a concrete timeline on when we could be seeing Hart occupying the pipes at the Wells Fargo Center, but as he turns pro next season at 20 years old, it’s a safe bet that he’ll reach the NHL level in 2019-20 when he’s 21 (see story).
Maksim Sushko, RW, 18, 6-0/179, Belarus
Perhaps one of the under-the-radar prospects at the world juniors, Sushko proved himself the cream of Belarus’ junior crop. Sushko, the Flyers' 2017 fourth-round pick, led Belarus with six assists and eight points in six games. He accounted for nearly 22 percent of Belarus' scoring, and he caught Flyers GM Ron Hextall's attention.
"He's a big player on that team. They don't have a ton of ability," Hextall said, "so he plays a big role, probably a bigger role than he would play with another country. He was playing 24 to 26 minutes. Too much for a forward but he's a big guy, a thick guy that can skate. He's got good sense. He's not going to be that type of player at the pro level."
Hextall said Sushko projects to be "more of a two-way guy that's not expected to score" in the pros. Still, Sushko made an impact and that's all the Flyers could have asked for.
Morgan Frost, C, 18, 6-0/180, Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)
The Greyhounds’ 23-game winning streak came to an end last Thursday, but Frost’s point streak stayed alive. Frost extended his streak two games. The 18-year-old accumulated 24 assists and 37 points over his 17-game point streak. He leads the OHL in points (65), assists (41) and plus/minus (plus-46).
Ohio State’s Tanner Laczynski had a four-point weekend against Michigan State and now leads the Buckeyes with 10 goals, 19 assists and 29 points.
Cooper Marody stayed hot for Michigan. The junior registered an assist in the Wolverines’ 2-1 loss to No. 2 Notre Dame on Friday. He was pointless Sunday but now has 29 points. Both Marody and Laczynski are two points shy of the NCAA point lead.
• Good news for Felix Sandstrom. Sandstrom is healthy after missing two months injured. He’s been loaned from Brynäs IF to IK Oskarshamn to ease him back in.
• Phantoms goalie Alex Lyon was strong again last week in his one start. Lyon stopped 35 of 37 shots Friday night in Lehigh Valley’s 3-2 overtime loss to Toronto. He has a .944 save percentage in three games since returning to the Phantoms on Dec. 26.
• Oskar Lindblom scored his 12th goal of the year Friday, which brought his goal streak to three games. That ended Saturday, however. He has 12 points in his last 12 games.
• Pascal Laberge tallied his first two goals as a Rempart on Friday. He picked up an assist Sunday. He has two goals and three points in six games since his trade to Quebec.
• Hamilton’s Matthew Strome saw his nine-game point streak end Friday night. Strome recorded nine goals and 13 points during his point streak. Strome added a goal Sunday.
• Carsen Twarynski had a three-point game Wednesday and a goal Friday. He now has 27 goals and 43 points in 37 games for the Kelowna Rockets.