Welcome back to the return of the Future Flyers Report, a weekly column tracking the development of Ron Hextall’s master experiment. With the Flyers’ season opener in Las Vegas 10 days away, expectations for the NHL club are higher.
But there remains a heavy pot of prospects worth following. Carter Hart turns pro. Joel Farabee and Jay O’Brien begin their collegiate careers at rival schools in Hockey East.
The CHL opened its regular season last week, and international leagues are also underway. It’s September, and that means hockey is back. As another NHL season filled with surprises, disappointments and Dave Hakstol lineup decisions creeps up on us, let’s dig a bit into the future.
• Let’s begin with Morgan Frost, who was returned to the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds last Tuesday, one day before the OHL season opened, after just one preseason game with the Flyers.
Frost didn’t waste much time cracking the scoresheet in 2018-19, registering a primary assist in the Greyhounds’ opener last Wednesday against Saginaw in a 5-2 loss.
After Friday’s game was postponed, Frost jumped right back into the fray with his first multi-point game of the season in Sault Ste. Marie’s 6-0 win over the North Bay on Saturday.
He also added a secondary assist on the Greyhounds’ final goal of the season. It’s an encouraging two-game start for Frost, who has won over 61 percent of his faceoffs as well.
While Frost didn’t make the Flyers, it wasn’t for a lack of opportunity. He had that in the rookie game and the preseason tilt he played in, but he didn’t move the needle enough to stick around.
Still, Frost figures to have another monster season in the OHL. It will be his last. He turns pro in 2019-20 and he’ll have much higher odds of being an NHL player next season.
• While most eyes will be on Hart in Lehigh Valley, Felix Sandstrom remains a goalie to watch overseas. He has a lot to prove this season after a difficult 2017-18 campaign (see story).
Sandstrom, now with HV71, has three games under his belt thus far. He allowed two goals on 34 shots in his first game on Sept. 15 in a 3-1 loss to Färjestad. He struggled Thursday, allowing five goals on 28 shots against Linkoping but rebounded with a 23-save, two-goal effort Saturday.
If all goes according to plan, Sandstrom will come to North America next season.
• Matthew Strome picked up his first points of the season Saturday with a two-assist game in Hamilton’s 4-2 win over Barrie.
• Marcus Westfalt, the Flyers’ seventh-round pick from June’s draft, has a goal and three assists in five games for Brynäs IF in the J20 SuperElit.
• Isaac Ratcliffe (Guelph, OHL) has an assist in two games, Wyatte Wylie (Everett, WHL) has an assist in one game, Maksim Sushko (Owen Sound, OHL) has an assist in two games.