Flyers

Carter Hart elevates game on biggest stage

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Carter Hart elevates game on biggest stage

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).

College update
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.

Quick hits
• 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.

The best of Jakub Voracek on his 29th birthday

The best of Jakub Voracek on his 29th birthday

It's Aug. 15, the dog days of summer and hockey is still a few weeks away.

But Jakub Voracek turns 29 years old today and this summer, the winger has already played a big part in helping push the Flyers' process into its next stage by helping recruit James van Riemsdyk back to town (see story).

Voracek is coming off a career-best season at 28 years old, posting 85 points in 82 games in 2017-18. He finished fourth in the NHL with 65 assists and ninth with 35 power-play points.

All of this came after a somewhat disappointing 2016-17 season — 61 points in 82 games, not particularly bad numbers but also not the production you'd like from a player with an $8.25 million cap hit and in Year 1 of an eight-year, $66 million extension.

Last season, though, Voracek proved that he can still very much produce at a top level. Since joining the Flyers in 2011-12, Voracek is third among all wingers with 303 assists and fifth in points with 439. Since the lockout-shortened 2012-13 campaign, he's eighth among all skaters with 272 assists and 15th in points with 390.

With today being Voracek's birthday, let's take a look back at some of the best from his time as a Flyer because Voracek is one of the most personable players around.

Some plays

Jan. 27, 2016: Voracek scored the game-winner 38 seconds into overtime. It was an important goal in a big game as the Flyers were in the middle of a wild-card chase (see story).

Oct. 14, 2017: The Flyers put a pounding on the Capitals in an 8-2 win at the Wells Fargo Center. Voracek had three assists. This one was one of them. Poor Madison Bowey.

Jan. 13, 2018: Voracek has also torched other teams than the Capitals. Here is a kick pass to Giroux against the Devils in North Jersey.


Some fights

Voracek is not exactly a fighter. According to hockeyfights.com, he has four official fights during the regular season and all have come with the Flyers.

There was the time he dropped the gloves with Gabriel Landeskog for about 30 seconds in Colorado and then said, "I don't think I picked the right city to fight in."

Then there was the time when he roughed up Penguins defenseman Rob Scuderi.


Some singing

Sportswriters aren't the only ones who like Bruce Springsteen. Yes, Voracek is also a fan.


A little charity

On Feb. 28, 2017, against the Avalanche, Voracek was eventually credited with a goal many Flyers fans believed was Wayne Simmonds' hat trick. In fact, 396 hats came pouring down to the ice.

As a gesture for taking a hat trick away from Simmonds, Voracek purchased 396 new Flyers hats and donated them to local hospitals for children battling cancer (see story).

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Flyers will face New York Islanders again in annual rookie game

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Flyers will face New York Islanders again in annual rookie game

While the Flyers have not announced the start of their rookie and training camp, they did provide an indication Tuesday of when the camps will be.

For the third straight season, the Flyers and New York Islanders will square off Sept. 12 in their annual rookie game. This time, it returns to New York.

The game will be at 6 p.m. on Sept. 12 at the Northwell Health Ice Center, the Islanders' practice facility in East Meadow, New York. According to Newsday's Andrew Gross, ticket proceeds will benefit the Islanders' Children's Foundation.

In years past, the Flyers have streamed the games on their official website.

Last year, the Flyers-Islanders rookie game was on Sept. 13, 2017, two days after rookie camp began and two days before the main camp opened.

The rookie game marks the official end of rookie camp, so by the process of elimination, a safe guess would be the Flyers' rookie camp will be Sept. 10 and training camp likely opening a day or two after the game.

The Islanders beat the Flyers, 4-3, in overtime last September. The Flyers won the first game two years ago. From 2007 to 2014, the Flyers and Capitals faced each other in their annual rookie games.

Rookie games are fun because they're the first glimpse of prospects and with the Flyers, there's a ton to be excited about — even if signing James van Riemsdyk accelerates their process (see story).

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