Flyers

Future Flyers Report: The 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship primer

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Christina Daly | NBC Sports Philadelphia

Future Flyers Report: The 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship primer

Happy holidays and welcome to one of the most exciting weeks in junior hockey. The 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship kicks off Wednesday in Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia.

The 10-team, 11-day tournament runs through Jan. 5, 2019, and offers hockey fans a glimpse into the future with the best junior players from around the world participating.

For Flyers fans, the world juniors have been especially must-see viewing in recent years. While the past three weeks have brought major change throughout the organization, this year’s tournament is no different. Flyers fans will have plenty to watch over the next 11 days.

Carter Hart and Team Canada won the 2018 WJC. Hart, of course, is with the Flyers now. The Flyers have seven players in this year’s games. Let’s get you ready for the 2019 tournament. 

Team USA

The Americans are the team fans will want to pay most attention to as they feature four Flyers prospects — forwards Joel Farabee, Jay O’Brien, Noah Cates and defenseman Jack St. Ivany.

Cates is a 2017 fifth-round pick while Farabee, O’Brien and St. Ivany are 2018 draft picks. All four have chosen the NCAA route. The Flyers had no prospects on the 2018 U.S. team.

Over the summer, we profiled Farabee (Boston University), O’Brien (Providence College) and Cates (Minnesota-Duluth). St. Ivany is in his freshman campaign at Yale University.

This season, Farabee has 11 points in 16 games; O’Brien has two points in 10 games and has dealt with injuries; Cates has seven points in 16 games; and St. Ivany, eight points in 12 games.

Team Canada

After not cracking the 2018 roster, Morgan Frost will represent Canada this year, and it should come as no surprise. Frost has been one of the best junior players over the past two seasons.

Frost, this season, is third in the OHL in scoring with 58 points, scoring 1.81 points per game, which is also third in the league. He has 22 points in his last 10 games with Sault Ste. Marie.

Team Sweden

Sweden features two Flyers prospects: defenseman Adam Ginning and goaltender Samuel Ersson, both 2018 draft picks. Ginning is a 6-foot-4 stay-at-home defenseman who has four points in 25 games this season with Linköping HC of the SHL. Ersson is having a pretty solid campaign with Västerås IK of the Allsvenskan, posting a .941 save percentage in 17 games.

How to watch

The NHL Network (NHLN) in the United States and TSN in Canada will broadcast the 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship. Here’s a schedule for Teams USA, Canada and Sweden.

Team USA

Dec. 26: vs. Slovakia, 6:30 p.m. — NHLN
Dec. 28: vs. Kazakhstan, 10:30 p.m. — NHLN
Dec. 29: vs. Sweden, 10:30 p.m. — NHLN
Dec. 31: vs. Finland, 10:30 p.m. — NHLN

Team Canada

Dec. 26: vs. Denmark, 8 p.m. — NHLN (in progress)
Dec. 27: vs. Switzerland, 8 p.m. — NHLN
Dec. 29: vs. Czech Republic, 8 p.m. — NHLN
Dec. 31: vs. Russia, 8 p.m. — NHLN

Team Sweden

Dec. 26: vs. Finland, 10:30 p.m. — NHLN
Dec. 27: vs. Slovakia, 6:30 p.m. —airing Dec. 28, 8 a.m. on NHLN
Dec. 29: vs. United States, 10:30 p.m. — NHLN
Dec. 31: vs. Kazakhstan, 6:30 p.m. — airing Jan. 1, 8 a.m. on NHLN

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You can never have enough competition.

There will be plenty of it when training camp rolls around in September as the Flyers have a third-line job opening on the wing.

General manager Chuck Fletcher added a candidate Wednesday by signing forward Chris Stewart to an NHL pro tryout for camp.

Stewart, 31, was a 2006 first-round draft pick of the Avalanche and has played 652 career NHL games between six teams. His best season came as a 22-year-old with the Avalanche in 2009-10, when he scored 64 points (28 goals, 36 assists) over 77 games. Last season, he played in the EIHL for the Nottingham Panthers, scoring 13 points (six goals, seven assists) through 23 games.

The 6-foot-2, 242-pound winger has ties to the Flyers' GM. He played parts of three seasons for Fletcher's Wild from 2014 to 2018, putting up 25 goals, 20 assists and a plus-6 rating in 146 games.

The Flyers like their options for the third-line winger vacancy. The names include Joel Farabee, Morgan Frost, Isaac Ratcliffe, German Rubtsov, Carsen Twarynski, Mikhail Vorobyev, Nicolas Aube-Kubel, Andy Andreoff and Kurtis Gabriel.

Farabee and Frost have drawn a lot of attention as young first-round draft picks coming off big seasons with Boston University (see story) and the OHL's Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (see story), respectively. Rubtsov is an underrated option given his size, advanced game and positional versatility. Ratcliffe is a 6-foot-6 winger who scored 50 goals last season with the OHL's Guelph Storm, while Vorobyev saw time with the Flyers in 2018-19.

"It's more than Farabee and Frost," Fletcher said July 1. "I think Rubtsov had a tremendous prospect camp here. Ratcliffe is a quality young player. Vorobyev is a young man that we feel is going to come back next year a little bit stronger.

"There are several players down there that can play games, never mind Andreoff, who's a player that I think will make a very strong push to make our team this season. Kurtis Gabriel is a player that's played games in the NHL the past few seasons. We have a lot of options. That's what training camp is for — it's an opportunity for players to come in and show that they belong. It should be an exciting camp."

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Flyers mascot Gritty works on his dad bod at Planet Fitness

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Did you think Gritty was going to be satisfied with winning the NHL Fan Choice Awards honor for best mascot?

Think again.

The guy is not resting on his laurels this summer. He's training hard for 2019-20. He was seen working up a sweat Tuesday at the Planet Fitness on Christopher Columbus Boulevard.


(Picture courtesy of NBC Sports Philadelphia's Todd Berman)

Rumor has it Gritty is working on his summer abs.

Or maybe not.

Regardless, the orange fella knows how to stay in shape. He's a preparation junkie, a true gym (and rink) rat. Complacency is not in Gritty's vocabulary.

He's also not breaking glass and scaring kids, so that's a positive.

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.

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