Future Flyers Report: German Rubtsov 'biggest surprise' with Phantoms

Christina Daly/NBC Sports Philadelphia

Future Flyers Report: German Rubtsov 'biggest surprise' with Phantoms

If there’s anything we learned last week, it’s this: It’s still important to keep tabs on the Flyers’ farm system because the NHL product isn’t what we believed it to be (see weekly observations).

Before this week begins, it’s time for our weekly check-in on the Flyers’ prospects playing in the AHL, overseas and at the junior and college levels.

• German Rubtsov sometimes slips through the cracks when we talk about Flyers prospects. The 2016 first-round pick didn’t blow the lids off of his junior experience and combine that with the team drafting Nolan Patrick and Morgan Frost in 2017, Rubtsov took a bit of a backseat.

Rubtsov, though, has been a pleasant surprise for the Phantoms as he begins his North American professional career. He has four goals and six points in his first nine games, including a two-point effort last Wednesday against Hartford. Lehigh Valley head coach Scott Gordon recently sung high praise of Rubtsov, telling the Courier-Post’s Dave Isaac:

He’s been probably the biggest surprise. I had only seen him in development camp and training camp. … I didn’t see the things that I’m seeing right now, which is his skill level, his shot, his passing, his vision, his strength. The one thing that I had concerns about coming into the season is his skating as far as his pace of play and in a very short amount of time, he’s elevated that.

• Another Phantom of note is Philippe Myers, who soon may find his way up with the Flyers. Myers had a three-point game in Lehigh Valley’s 5-2 win Saturday night.

Gordon also spoke of Myers to Isaac:

I know that he might’ve tailed off during training camp, but I think with Phil, when I watch him play so far this year, what’s probably gonna change dramatically is once he starts to simplify his game by not having to feel like he has to do everything himself as far as with the puck and starts using the guys that are on the ice, I just think he’s gonna go to the forefront. It will be so dramatic how dominating he is.

• We missed our first Jay O’Brien vs. Joel Farabee matchup this past weekend as O’Brien remains out with an upper-body injury he suffered Oct. 19. No. 6 Providence didn’t need O’Brien, though, as the Friars shut out Boston University, 6-0, Friday.

Farabee has one goal in four games this season. O’Brien is pointless in four.

• Wyatt Kalynuk is quickly becoming a staple of this report, and for good reason. The Wisconsin defenseman continued to produce last week, extending his point streak to five games.

Kalynuk had a two-assist game Friday night against Michigan Tech and then tallied a power-play goal Saturday. He has four goals this season and leads Wisconsin with nine points.

Quick hits
• Frost saw his point streak reach six games with points in all three games last week — two points Thursday, three on Friday and one on Sunday. Frost is second in the OHL with 30 points.

• Isaac Ratcliffe’s goal streak reached three games with a goal Friday and Sunday. He has six points on his current three-game point streak and 11 goals and 19 points in 14 games.

• Matthew Strome’s six-game point streak ended Sunday. Strome compiled four goals and 12 points during the streak. He has 19 points in 15 games this season.

• Alex Lyon made his second start of the season Sunday evening for the Phantoms, allowing three goals on 34 shots. He has a respectable .924 save percentage in two games.

• A strong outing from Carter Hart on Saturday night in the Phantoms' win over Binghamton. Hart allowed just two goals on 31 shots in his fifth pro start.

• Wyatte Wylie picked up a goal and two assists in four games last week. The Everett defenseman has 10 assists and 13 points in 15 games.

• Ohio State’s Tanner Laczynski saw his nine-game point streak end Friday.

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Future Flyers Report: Egor Zamula continues to make a name for himself, Jay O'Brien dominating the BCHL

Future Flyers Report: Egor Zamula continues to make a name for himself, Jay O'Brien dominating the BCHL

Another week of hockey has come and gone, so it's time for another check-in on the Flyers’ prospects playing in the AHL, overseas and at the junior and college levels.

• Things were quiet for defenseman Egor Zamula last week, but he made sure to turn up the volume heading into the next one. 

Zamula added another two goals, giving him an impressive 17 points on the season. He ranks second in points with the Calgary Hitmen and first in assists with 11.

It is also worth noting that Zamula is first among defensemen in plus-minus with a plus-18. This also puts him as fourth-best in the league.

This is a pretty impressive and rather rare sight to see a player who went undrafted find so much success. The Flyers have lucked out in recent years with finding two undrafted defensemen that have quickly made names for themselves — Zamula being one and Philippe Myers the other. If his upside is as great as it's projected to be, talk about another steal and even more depth at the blue line.

Jay O'Brien continues to flourish in the BCHL. In three games with the Penticton Vees this past week, O'Brien tallied six points (three goals, three assists).

In addition to that, he also extended his point streak to eight games. He now has 35 points (14 goals, 21 assists) through 23 games. Only two other players in the league — Kent Johnson and Michael Colella, who both play for the Trail Smoke Eaters — have more points.

The Vees also announced on Nov. 7 that O'Brien was their first ever player of the month for the month of October.

Quick hits

• It was another weekend of racking up points for Morgan Frost. He had a two-assist night on Saturday and also scored his fifth goal of the season on Sunday. He now has 12 points in 13 games.

It's also important to note the assist on Frost's goal came from Maksim Sushko. It was Sushko's only point of the weekend, but a beauty at that.

Alex Lyon had a solid performance Saturday night when the Phantoms won in overtime against the Hershey Bears, only letting in two goals. Through six games played this season, he is 3-1-2 with a 2.10 GAA and .920 save percentage.

Noah Cates had a pair of goals in as many games this weekend with the University of Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs. That gives him four goals thus far in eight games. Funny enough, he and his brother Jackson Cates are tied in first for goals on the team.

• Shifting gears to Western Michigan, Ronnie Attard scored the game-winning goal on Nov. 8. In that game, Wade Allison also tallied an assist. That was Allison's first point since Oct. 12.

Wyatt Wylie had a successful weekend on the road with Everett, collecting three points (one goal, two assists) in a two-game span. He now leads the WHL in power play assists with 10. Wyatt and the Silvertips won both games and they currently lead the U.S. Division with a 13-4-0-0 record.

Felix Sandstrom did not dress for either game this weekend for the Reading Royals. Through six games, he has a .890 save percentage and 2.80 GAA.

Down at defense

• This past Wednesday, while on a conditioning stint with the Phantoms, Samuel Morin suffered a torn ACL in his right knee for the second time in 19 months. He will miss the remainder of the 2019-20 season.

• It's still unknown how long Mark Friedman will be out for the Phantoms after he left Saturday's game in the first period. He was injured directly following a collision against the boards and needed assistance off the ice. The Phantoms also recalled defenseman James De Haas from Reading, which could imply Friedman's injury may keep him out for a significant amount of time.

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What Travis Konecny pondered this summer has him playing like a star for Flyers

What Travis Konecny pondered this summer has him playing like a star for Flyers

As Travis Konecny waited out the entire offseason before inking his new contract, signaling his first real payday in the NHL, there was ample time for self-reflection.

“I thought a lot this summer about who I am as a player,” Konecny said last week.

The 22-year-old was coming off back-to-back 24-goal seasons and looked poised for a significant leap in 2019-20, especially after signing a six-year, $33 million deal.

Konecny wasn’t daydreaming about lofty goals or inflated production.

“I really wanted to do what was best for the team and every single night focus on two points,” he said. “Individual stats kind of come with that, when you’re playing an all-around game for the team. I’m not saying I play an all-around game every single night. I try to do my best to help the team. Some nights are better than the others, but I think that’s been my main focus — really trying to give my best effort every night and be able to go home saying that I tried to do my part.”

On Sunday night, Konecny played more than just a mere part. This was a stage for stars, a game at TD Garden against a team with three Stanley Cup Final appearances and a title over the past nine seasons. Names like David Pastrnak, Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara were featured in the Bruins’ lineup, opposing Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek, Sean Couturier and the Flyers.

And Konecny was a star.

He has been one this season for the Flyers, who are off to their best start since 2011-12, when the team last eclipsed 100 points and won a playoff series.

In just over a four-minute span Sunday, Konecny seized control of TD Garden with a goal and primary assist, handing the Flyers a surprising 2-0 lead during the first period. He finished with two points and a plus-2 mark as the Flyers took down the home-dominant Bruins, 3-2, in a shootout (see observations).

Both the mighty Pastrnak and the four-time Selke Trophy award winner Bergeron went scoreless, while Marchand potted a goal.

The Flyers didn’t receive big-time numbers from their household guys as Giroux and Voracek failed to crack the score sheet. James van Riemsdyk and Kevin Hayes also went without a point.

But Konecny has made those types of games OK and winnable for the Flyers, even when facing a Bruins group that was 7-0-1 at home and among the NHL’s top-five teams in points, goals per game and fewest goals allowed per game.

Last season, the Flyers were 10-19-2 when Giroux went scoreless and 10-19-2 when Voracek went scoreless. This season, they already have five wins when Giroux has gone scoreless and seven wins when Voracek has gone scoreless.

Sure, Konecny has put up his fair share of points with a team-leading 19 (eight goals, 11 assists) to push the Flyers to a 10-5-2 record through 17 games.

Most importantly, though, he has stuck to what he thought about this summer — consistently doing what is best for his team every single night.

Right now, that’s playing like a star.

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