Flyers

How Flyers found prospect Yegor Zamula and his 'huge upside'

Flyers

The moniker is one for the all-name team.

Yegor Zamula.

While it grabbed the eyes scrolling down the Flyers' rookie and training camp rosters, that was all it did — other than that name taking you to the end of the alphabet, nobody knew a thing about the player.

Except for the Flyers.

They at least knew something thanks to Mark Greig.

"Mark Greig has been a big Western scout for the Flyers for a number of years," Jeff Chynoweth, the general manager of the WHL's Calgary Hitmen, said last week in a phone interview with NBC Sports Philadelphia. "I know Mark very well, I talk to him throughout the season, he'll ask you questions about certain players. They see things differently, that's their job. Mark has a great eye and has for a number of years."

The club's amateur scout stayed on the Zamula trail, which has now found its way to the Flyers. When the 18-year-old went undrafted this summer and didn't stick with the Flames after the team's development camp, Greig kept in touch with Zamula's agent Vlad Shushkovsky. It resulted in the Flyers inviting the 6-foot-3, 160-pound defenseman to camp on an amateur tryout. Eleven days later, he had an entry-level contract from the Flyers and had fans thinking about another Philippe Myers.

The 6-foot-5 blueliner went undrafted himself and latched on with the Flyers in 2015 via an entry-level deal. Less than a month ago, Myers, now 21, was ranked a top-50 prospect by NHL Network.

In 2018-19, Zamula will play his first full season with Chynoweth's young but up-and-coming Calgary team in the WHL. 

 

"I think the biggest thing is everyone develops at a different rate," the Hitmen GM said. "There are a lot of late bloomers. You scour the globe looking for the best players and prospects you can and not everyone develops at the same time."

Greig, general manager Ron Hextall and assistant general manager and director of player personnel Chris Pryor have had success with defensemen out of the WHL, specifically Ivan Provorov (2015 first-round pick) and Travis Sanheim (2014 first-round pick), a Calgary product himself.

"Western guys that Mark has seen a lot of," Chynoweth said. "And it's not just because of him, it's the whole staff under Chris Pryor."

The Hitmen claimed the Russian Zamula off WHL import waivers in January. The Regina Pats, his former team, were forced to place Zamula on waivers after making a trade that put them over the two-player limit of non-North American import players.

"We had a little bit of knowledge about him because his agent represents the other Euro on our team and actually our Euro on our team lives with the agent," Chynoweth said. "So we kind of had a bit of an inkling of what might happen in Regina and from our end, we just felt it was an opportunity to add a young guy with lots of potential."

So who is Yegor Zamula and what is the potential?

"I think he's only going to get better," Chynoweth said. "He's a very slight player, that's the one thing he's got to do like any young player, he has to get bigger and stronger.

"He reads the ice very well, he can slow the game down. … He reads and reacts, he's got a great, active stick.

"I think there's a huge upside with Yegor. I'll be quite honest, I was surprised he wasn't drafted. … He definitely has a lot of things going for him and obviously, Ron Hextall, Chris Pryor and his staff thought the same thing."

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