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Future Flyers Report: Rubtsov, Vecchione, Martel and more

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Future Flyers Report: Rubtsov, Vecchione, Martel and more

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.

In this edition, we’ll take a look at a trade at the junior level with Flyers ties, a former Hobey Baker finalist and plenty more. Let’s get this thing going.

German Rubtsov, C, 19, 6-0/187, Acadie-Bathurst (QMJHL)
We had a trade involving one of the Flyers’ top prospects and a team with direct ties to the Flyers. Rubtsov was acquired by Acadie-Bathurst last week from Chicoutimi. Rubtsov joins Antoine Morand as the only two NHL-owned players on the Titan roster. Sean Couturier, the Flyers’ top-line center, is part of an investor group that bought Acadie-Bathurst in 2013, while Couturier’s dad, Sylvain, is the team’s general manager.

It may be obvious, but Rubtsov’s trade has no impact on the Flyers. They still own his rights. It’s strictly a QMJHL transaction. It happens often in junior. In January 2016, Ottawa traded Travis Konecny to Sarnia because it felt Konecny would be in the NHL.

Rubtsov will turn 20 in June and will either be in the AHL or NHL next season, which may have factored into Chicoutimi’s openness to moving him. Another factor could be the Saguenéens’ start, as Chicoutimi is near the bottom of the Q. Either way, Rubtsov has a new home in the Quebec League. Rubtsov adjusted quickly with the Titan.

On Friday, Rubtsov picked up an assist in his first game with Acadie-Bathurst, a primary helper on Morand’s game-winning goal in the Titan’s 6-3 win over Cape Breton. Then, in another 6-3 win Saturday over Cape Breton, Rubtsov recorded a goal and an assist. It took Rubtsov no time to mesh with his new teammates, a testament to his skill set.

Mike Vecchione, C, 24, 5-10/194, Lehigh Valley (AHL)
Vecchione’s seven-game point streak ended last week but he still had a productive weekend. He had a two-assist game Saturday after his point streak snapped and then was pointless Sunday. The 24-year-old was honored last week for his performance in October. Vecchione last Wednesday was named the AHL Rookie of the Month and second star after posting 10 points in 10 games in October. It’s been quite the start for Vecchione.

“I’ve been taught to never put a ceiling on anything,” Vecchione said in September. “The sky’s the limit and I’ve broken a lot of ceilings that people put on me before. … I’ll do whatever it takes to move up and be an impact player for whatever team I play for.”

He’s proving to be just that for the Phantoms thus far: an impact player.

Danick Martel, LW, 22, 5-8/161, Lehigh Valley (AHL)
Get used to seeing Martel in this report. He may not be a high-end prospect, but what he's doing is ridiculous. Martel had a goal Friday, a goal and an assist Saturday, and then a goal Sunday. He has six goals during his five-game goal streak. He leads the AHL in goals (13) and points (17). He's averaging a goal per game. Bonkers.

Wade Allison, RW, 20, 6-2/205, Western Michigan (NCAA)
Allison had himself a weekend for the Broncos, who swept No. 1 Denver with wins Friday and Saturday. Allison played a big part of the victories with a four-point weekend. He scored WMU's first goal and picked up a secondary helper on the game-winning goal Friday in the Broncos' 6-5 win. Then Saturday, he recorded a hat trick in a 7-4 win.

With Denver up 3-0 in the second period, Allison scored two goals in 1 minute and 13 seconds to get the Broncos within one. Denver went up 4-2, but then WMU sprung off five unanswered goals. Allison scored the team's sixth goal, a power-play tally.

A huge night for Allison gave him the first hat trick of his collegiate career. He's second on WMU in goals (six), points (14) and points per game (1.56), and tied for the lead in assists with eight. He has just two pointless games and five multi-point games.

Cooper Marody, C, 20, 6-1/185, Michigan (NCAA)
He was featured last week, and after another big weekend, he's back. Marody continued to stay hot for the Wolverines this past weekend as Michigan split with Ferris State. Marody racked up a goal and two assists in UM's 7-2 win Friday. It was his third straight three-point game. In Michigan's 3-2 overtime loss Saturday, Marody had a goal and an assist. The junior leads Michigan with nine assists and 12 points.

Quick hits
Carter Hart returned to action last week for Everett after sitting out with mono. It was a pretty busy weekend for Hart, too. He stopped 23 of 24 shots in a 3-1 win Friday over Prince George and 39 of 41 shots Saturday in a 3-1 loss to Portland.

Philippe Myers’ groin injury forced him to leave the Phantoms’ 6-5 shootout loss Friday night to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. He missed games on Saturday and Sunday.

Morgan Frost had a three-assist game in Sault Ste. Marie's 5-4 win over Sudbury last Wednesday. He then had an assist Sunday. Frost has 15 assists and 22 points in 18 games.

Oskar Lindblom added two more assists Friday night against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. It was his third consecutive two-point game.

• It’s been a rough stretch for Lehigh Valley goalie Alex Lyon, who’s allowed nine goals in his last two games. Lyon allowed four goals Saturday before being pulled. He’s allowed three or more goals in five of his nine games this season.

Tanner Laczynski earned the NCAA's First Star of the Week for the week of Oct. 23 after a breakout performance. This past weekend, he had one assist in two games.

Mikhail Vorobyev scored his first AHL goal in the Phantoms' 6-5 shootout loss Friday night to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.

• Kitchener captain Connor Bunnaman has had a big two weeks. Bunnaman had his third two-goal game of the season Friday against Erie and then another goal Saturday against Guelph. Bunnaman has nine goals and 13 points in 15 games this season.

• Clarkson's Terrance Amorosa had a two-assist game Friday against Rensselaer. Amorosa, a senior, now has seven assists and nine points in 10 games.

Felix Sandstrom remains out for Brynäs IF because of an injury.

Noah Cates snapped a seven-game pointless streak with his second goal of the season Saturday night in Omaha's 3-2 overtime loss to Madison.

Recapping the Flyers' 2018 NHL draft class

Recapping the Flyers' 2018 NHL draft class

While the weekend felt rather subdued to Ron Hextall (see story), the Flyers still made some history of their own at the 2018 NHL draft.

The Flyers entered with nine picks and ended up making eight — none of which were used on a Canadian player, a first in the organization's history. 

Over the two-day draft, which wrapped up Saturday, the Flyers selected five American players and three Swedish players.

Let's recap the Flyers' work in Dallas:

First round, No. 14: Joel Farabee, 6-0/164, LW

Analysis: A legitimate two-way winger with a big shot and scoring mentality.

Quotable: "He's got speed. He's got skill. He can score. He's a good player and he has size in his family, so I still think there's a chance he can grow." - Hextall

First round, No. 19: Jay O'Brien, 5-11/176, C

Analysis: Some may view it as a reach, but the Flyers love O'Brien's makeup and ability.

Quotable: "He just has the traits of a hockey player. Just his timing of passes, when to shoot, when to pass. He's a really smart hockey player. He's competitive. He's strong. He's got a little agitator in him." - Hextall

Second round, No. 50: Adam Ginning, 6-4/206, D

Analysis: A stay-at-home defenseman with toughness and size.

Quotable: "We like his size. We like his upside. He’s a big guy and he moves pretty well for a big guy. He’s got solid puck skills and he has the range we need for a solid defensive defenseman." - Hextall

Fourth round, No. 112: John St. Ivany, 6-2/198, D

Analysis: A right-handed shot blueliner the Flyers wanted.

Quotable: "Good size, moves well. Kind of one of those steady-Eddie types of guys, solid with the puck. He was a good fit for our group." - Hextall

Fifth round, No. 127: Wyatte Wylie, 6-0/190, D

Analysis: Another righty blueliner that saw his draft stock shoot up in the second half of his junior season.

Quotable: "I like to describe myself as a two-way defenseman, one that can move pucks up and likes to join the play." - Wylie

Fifth round, No. 143: Samuel Ersson, 6-2/176, G

Analysis: The Flyers were not going to chase a goalie but liked the ceiling here.

Quotable: "We think there’s some upside there that hasn’t been tapped yet. We got him a lot later. Had we needed a goalie, we would have taken him a lot earlier." - Hextall

Sixth round, No. 174: Gavin Hain, 5-11/193, C

Analysis: A teammate of Farabee with bottom-six potential.

Quotable: "The NTDP itself is a hard-grooming place to play as a player, but it’s a great spot to develop." - Hain

Seventh round, No. 205: Marcus Westfalt, 6-3/203, C/LW

Analysis: An Oskar Lindblom-type prospect? Westfalt has some traits to like.

Quotable: "I like the mix that we got — three D, four forwards, a goalie. I like the mix, I like the fits. We got some good players. We got some skill up front. We got some guys in the back that complement our group with some size, some steady guys." - Hextall

More on the 2018 NHL draft

• Flyers' draft shows big year for USA Hockey

• Hextall surprised by Flyers' quiet draft weekend

• With O'Brien, Hextall shows he's 'never' one to be safe

• With Philly ties, Farabee can't wait to help Flyers

• Samuelsson continues family's NHL tradition

5 thoughts on Flyers' 2018 NHL draft

5 thoughts on Flyers' 2018 NHL draft

Ron Hextall entered his fifth draft as Flyers general manager with nine selections and left Dallas making eight of them — a pretty typical draft weekend under the Hextall regime.

With Hextall as GM, the Flyers have averaged 8.4 draft picks and their eight selections this year are the second least with him steering the ship. He made six picks in his first draft in 2014.

As the offseason now shifts onto development camp and free agency, let’s break down the weekend that was for the Flyers at American Airlines Center in Dallas.

1. The overall draft class

Hextall emphasized during last week the need to restock the Flyers’ defensive pipeline and that right-handed defensemen were a “big fill” in the organization. On Day 2, he followed through.

The Flyers used their first three picks Saturday on defensemen: Adam Ginning (50th overall), John St. Ivany (112th overall) and Wyatte Wylie (127th overall). St. Ivany and Wylie are righties.

Overall, the Flyers’ draft class from Rounds 2-7 didn’t seem to blow anyone away, but with a prospect pool as deep as the Flyers, this draft wasn’t about refilling the cupboard.

What mattered most about this draft was the two first-rounders and while Jay O’Brien is a bit of a wild card, Joel Farabee was as perfect as an option the Flyers had available at No. 14 overall.

Drafts can’t be judged until three or five years down the line, so we won’t know how this overall crop will pan out. But if one of Farabee or O’Brien hit, that’s all that matters.

Farabee, especially, fits an organizational need as a quick, shoot-first natural winger.

If all goes according to plan, this draft class should be judged on the first-round picks. It’s important to find diamonds in the rough and perhaps they have. Time will tell.

But based on the Flyers’ current timetable to compete, they need at least one of these two first-rounders to turn into an impact NHL player. My money is on Farabee being just that.

2. A quiet weekend

Part of the allure of draft weekend is the constant trade speculation leading up to Round 1 and throughout the first round. Friday was a fairly quiet night in the NHL player transaction ledger.

Saturday some saw significant player movement with Ilya Kovalchuk and signing with the Kings and the Flames trading Dougie Hamilton to Carolina for Noah Hanifin and Elias Lindblom.

But none from the Flyers. The draft is when Hextall comes out of his cage and yells, “I am Ron, hear me roar.” For Hextall, the draft is where he does his best, and loudest, work.

Technically, this is the first draft the Flyers didn’t make any moves of note, but that is misleading. When Philly hosted the draft in 2014, Hextall’s first, the Flyers reportedly were hot in pursuit of trading up from No. 17 overall to the top pick to draft Aaron Ekblad.

In the end, Hextall couldn’t strike his magic. Every year since he has … since now. It was a weird feeling not seeing the Flyers subject of trade rumors this weekend.

The Flyers didn’t leave Dallas without making one trade, though. Hextall reached into his bag of tricks and traded the 190th overall to the Canadiens for a seventh-rounder in 2019.


3. The growth of USA hockey on full display

For the first time in franchise history, the Flyers did not draft a Canadian-born player. Their breakdown goes as followed: Five Americans and three Swedes.

Hextall continued to add college-bound prospects Saturday with the selections of St. Ivany and Gavin Hain (sixth round, 174th overall). St. Ivany is headed to Yale and Hain, North Dakota.

Hain is also the second player the Flyers drafted from the USA Hockey National Team Development Program and was Farabee’s teammate. That’s of note because they haven’t drafted a player from the USNTDP since James van Riemsdyk (No. 2 overall) in 2007. 

If the Flyers drafting no Canadians means anything, it should be viewed as the growth of USA Hockey. It was a pretty good year for the NTDP, which had 12 players drafted.

4. Too early to compare

Of the Flyers’ Day 2 picks, Marcus Westfalt may be the most intriguing.

Westfalt was the Flyers’ final selection, taken with the 205th pick. He’s a big winger described as a two-way player. His skill level doesn’t appear to be high-end, but he has potential.

It’s easy to make comparisons to Oskar Lindblom, who fell to the fifth in 2014, but it’s far too early to make that connection. Lindblom’s issue was his skating — it needed major work.

After years of working on it, Lindblom elevated his skating up a few notches. He’s by no means a great skater now, but he improved enough to make the jump to the NHL.

At the very least, Westfalt can be chalked up as an intriguing prospect to watch overseas.

5. The name game

It wouldn't be a hockey draft without an ode to great hockey names.

The Flyers got a gem of their own: Wyatte Wylie in the fifth round.

I feel like the Coyotes should have drafted him. Wylie the Coyote.

I’ll see myself out.

More on the 2018 NHL draft

• If Morin doesn't pan out, is this pick the replacement?  

• With O'Brien, Hextall shows he's 'never' one to be safe

• With Philly ties, Farabee can't wait to help Flyers

• 4 thoughts from Day 1 of 2018 NHL draft

• Samuelsson continues family's NHL tradition