Future Flyers Report: Prospects Cam York, Morgan Frost showing why they can climb

Future Flyers Report: Prospects Cam York, Morgan Frost showing why they can climb

It’s time for our weekly check-in on the Flyers’ prospects playing in the AHL, overseas and at the junior and college levels.

• After missing three games because of an ankle injury, Cam York has started to show his dynamic ability from the blue line at Michigan.

The Flyers' 2019 first-round pick scored his first collegiate goal in the Wolverines' 2-1 loss last Saturday night to No. 13 Ohio State. York, a modern defenseman with terrific mobility and advanced puck-moving skills, put his offensive game on display with a nifty wraparound shot.

During his draft year, York put up 65 points (14 goals, 51 assists) over 63 games, a USNTDP single-season record for a defenseman. Through five games with Michigan, York has four points (one goal, three assists) and a plus-4 rating. It'll be interesting to see how long he stays in Ann Arbor.

"I think if you asked him, he would want to turn pro tomorrow," Flyers assistant general manager Brent Flahr said in June. "He's going to a good program at Michigan, we'll take it year by year. I don't see him as a four-year guy, let's put it that way."

• With the uncertainty surrounding Nolan Patrick's status as the 21-year-old center recovers from a migraine disorder, the spotlight shines even brighter on Morgan Frost.

The Flyers very well may need Frost at some point in 2019-20. His play will dictate his chances, too, and the 20-year-old facilitator is on a seven-game point streak with AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley. Over that stretch, Frost has four goals and five assists. The 2017 first-round pick leads the Phantoms in scoring and is also pretty good in the shootout (we all know why that's noteworthy).

"His talent level speaks for itself," Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher said last week. "In terms of pace and puck management, playing without the puck, zone awareness and coverage, right now there are areas he needs to get better at it. He’s made some progress, so we’ll continue to allow him to develop down there.

“But certainly at some point, he’s a smart, talented hockey player — he’s going to get better at it. When he does, it will make him a better candidate to come up here.’’

Quick hits

• Ohio State head coach Steve Rohlik said Tanner Laczynski would handle the puck "as much as anybody" on the Buckeyes and we're seeing exactly that for the senior forward.

The 2016 sixth-round pick has eight assists in eight games after picking up a pair during Ohio State's two-game sweep of Michigan last weekend. 

• Egor Zamula cooled down as he went scoreless last week. The 19-year-old defenseman is off to a splendid start with 15 points (four goals, 11 assists) and a plus-16 mark in 14 games for the WHL's Calgary Hitmen.

"He has a tremendous package of size, skill and skating, and as he matures and gets stronger, he's going to be a pretty impressive player," Fletcher said in September.

• Speaking of WHL blueliners, Wyatte Wylie had a four-assist weekend for the Everett Silvertips. The 2018 fifth-round pick has 15 points (three goals, 12 assists) in 15 games and is a plus-50 since 2017-18.

• Bobby Brink, the Flyers' 2019 second-round pick, is tied for second in the country among freshmen goal-scorers with four tallies, behind only Wisconsin's Cole Caufield (eight). Brink has put up seven points over eight games with Denver.

• Jay O'Brien, a 2018 first-round pick, is delivering the expected production in the BCHL, with 29 points (11 goals, 18 assists) through 20 games for the Penticton Vees.

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Flyers call up prospect David Kase from AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley Phantoms

Flyers call up prospect David Kase from AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley Phantoms

With recent injuries to Travis Konecny (concussion) and Philippe Myers (back spasms), the Flyers were headed out to Denver to open a three-game road trip with only one healthy extra body — their backup goalie.

That will no longer be the case as the Flyers called up David Kase from AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley on Wednesday morning. He will be available for tonight's game against the Avalanche (9:30 p.m. ET/NBCSN).

Kase, 22, is a smaller (5-10/168) but quick, hard-working winger who has six points (three goals, three assists) in 21 games with the Phantoms. The 2015 fifth-round pick is constantly active with his bursts of speed and quality skill.

It's unlikely he'll play tonight without any practice with the Flyers. However, he could appear in a game over the road trip to make his NHL debut. The Flyers visit the Wild on Saturday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP) and the Jets on Sunday (5 p.m. ET/NBCSP+).

The Flyers had the roster space and cap space for an extra forward. Oskar Lindblom missed Monday's skills practice for maintenance but practiced Tuesday. Joel Farabee also sat out Monday after getting his wisdom teeth taken out but practiced Tuesday and said he's good to go.

Kase could spell Chris Stewart or Mikhail Vorobyev for a game. If Kase comes in for Vorobyev, the Flyers will have to adjust at center.

The Flyers, who are 12-3-4 with 28 points since Nov. 1, tied for most in the NHL, have played eight rookies this season.

Here are the projected forward lines for tonight:

Claude Giroux-Morgan Frost-Tyler Pitlick
Oskar Lindblom-Sean Couturier-Jakub Voracek
Scott Laughton-Kevin Hayes-Joel Farabee
James van Riemsdyk-Mikhail Vorobyev-Chris Stewart

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Chris Stewart, Kevin Hayes building bonds with Nolan Patrick through support

Chris Stewart, Kevin Hayes building bonds with Nolan Patrick through support

Chris Stewart is 32 years old and worked his butt off to return to the NHL after a yearlong hiatus in which he played 23 games for the EIHL’s Nottingham Panthers. 

He does not take wearing an NHL jersey for granted.

“It’s the National Hockey League, it’s a blessing to be here, it’s a privilege to be here,” Stewart said last week. “That year away definitely changed my perspective on life.”

In his 11th NHL season, he often finds himself in the shadows, when few are watching. During those unglamorous moments, Stewart has grown close to a 21-year-old who was picked second overall in the 2017 draft by the Flyers.

While a fierce competitor like Stewart would love to be playing, the byproduct of not suiting up every game is his support for Nolan Patrick through trying times. Patrick has battled a daily fight with a migraine disorder. As Stewart stays ready and vies for a spot in the Flyers’ lineup, Patrick joins him in pursuit of playing again.

Patrick has yet to play in 2019-20. He was diagnosed with the migraine disorder in September and last week called the recovery process “sh---y” and “pretty wavy.”

Stewart has played in nine of the Flyers’ first 30 games, serving mostly as a healthy scratch. Instead of wearing a scowl across his face, he is persistently positive — especially for Patrick.

“I’m not in the lineup right now and he’s hurt, so it’s oddly that we’re spending a lot of time together — working out together, skating together every morning,” Stewart said. “For me personally, I’m just trying to be positive for him. Toughest job in the league is being hurt and not playing. You get caught up trying to look at the big picture every night as opposed to just looking at the small picture — what do I’ve got to do today, what do I’ve got to do next. Then that building up over time, hopefully you start feeling better.”

Recently, Patrick has been skating more, getting in work with the Flyers’ healthy scratches, skills coach Angelo Ricci and the assistants.

I’m just trying to be a positive reinforcement in his life. You can tell, he wears a lot on his shoulders and he wants to play. He has his good days and his bad. Our worst day is someone’s best day. You look at the bigger aspects of life, it’s not that big of a deal. He’s coming along nicely. I noticed since he’s been back, he’s upbeat, his energy, you can see his glow starting to come back in his face, so it’s good.

- Stewart

(Charles LeClaire, USA Today Images/Zack Hill, Philadelphia Flyers)

When Stewart was scoring a career-high 64 points with the Avalanche in 2009-10, Patrick was only 11 years old.

The 2006 first-round pick of Colorado has played 661 games and scored 322 points (160 goals, 162 assists) between seven NHL teams.

Patrick is grateful to have a guy like that in his corner.

“I’ve spent a lot of time with him,” Patrick said last week. “He’s helped me stay positive, he always brings a good energy, so it’s nice to have him around.

“He’s helped me a lot through it. I can’t really thank my teammates enough.”

Stewart didn’t grind his way back to the NHL to be complacent with watching. He’s hungry to have an impact in games. However, he understands the concept of team.

It’s bigger than him.

“We’re all playing for the same goal, everybody wants to play,” Stewart said. “If you’re not playing, there’s part of a leadership role, accountability and things that you’ve got to buy into and take pride into. I’d give anything to be playing out there with my teammates but if I can’t, I’m going to do what I can to bring the energy in the room and be that guy for the boys.

“Internal competition is only healthy for the team. Everybody is good enough but you can only dress 12 guys. Whoever is in that night is going to give a hell of an effort and if you’re not, cheer them on.”

That mindset is part of why the Flyers were intrigued by the veteran winger this offseason, bringing Stewart into camp on a pro tryout and signing him Oct. 15.

“Stewie has been around the NHL a long time, he knows what it takes to play and stay at this level,” Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault said last week. “His reputation, and rightfully so, is a great team guy. … I’m happy that Nolan feels the same way. Stewie is a good influence in a dressing room.”

And a great influence for Patrick. 

We talk all the time, when we’re on the road, we keep in contact, like to check in on him every couple days about the stuff that he’s going through.

Let him know that I’m here, just be a shoulder to lean on, to talk to, an open door and that’s how we’ve been.

- Stewart

(Brace Hemmelgarn/USA Today Images)

Alongside Stewart, Kevin Hayes was also one of the fresh faces in the Flyers’ locker room entering the 2019-20 season.

After signing a seven-year, $50 million contract in June, Hayes has settled in with his new team and surroundings, also becoming one of the Flyers’ alternate captains.

He has built a bond with Patrick away from the ice as the two live together.

“He’s a great kid, a young guy,” Hayes said last week. “I bought a place here that’s pretty big to live by myself and invited him in. He’s been great. He’s a professional, he handles himself the right way. He’s been traveling a lot with seeing some doctors and stuff, but we pretty much see each other every day.

“We’re pretty tight. It’s not easy being a new guy here on the team and living with him makes it a lot easier. I feel super comfortable now with where I’m at, but earlier in the season, it was a little different. We spend a lot of time together, he’s a great kid. We’ve had different type of upbringings but we’ve definitely become pretty close this year.”

Patrick played 73 games his rookie year and 72 last season. He expects to play in 2019-20 but there’s no set date for his return as this type of recovery process can be difficult to predict, specifically timeframe-wise.

While Patrick and the Flyers attempt to find what works for the third-year center, Hayes sees the process in which his teammate goes through on a day-to-day basis.

I’ve been lucky enough to kind of not have a serious injury in this league and I hope I don’t ever have to go through something like that. I’m sure it’s never fun to be away from the guys. The best part about playing on a sports team is going to battle with your teammates — that’s how you build friendships around here. 

I’m sure he’s doing everything in his power to get back. I mean, I’m witnessing it firsthand. I think the biggest thing for him is getting correct with his head and then going from there.

- Hayes

Just like Stewart, Hayes wants to be there for Patrick — on and off the ice.

“We’ve all had to deal with stuff in our lives before,” Hayes said. “You can tell when someone is up or down. He handles it on his own way. I’m a pretty outgoing person, I can kind of figure out when he wants to talk and when he wants to just go hang out and chill in his room. I don’t really push anything too much on him, he’s a great kid and it’s been a blast living with him.”

(AP Images/Philadelphia Flyers/USA Today Images)

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