Flyers

Morgan Frost, Carter Hart, Joel Farabee, Philippe Myers make ESPN's top-50 NHL prospects list

Morgan Frost, Carter Hart, Joel Farabee, Philippe Myers make ESPN's top-50 NHL prospects list

The Flyers are fighting for their playoff lives with 14 games remaining in 2018-19.

If they can't grab an Eastern Conference wild-card spot and miss the postseason for the third time in the last six seasons, general manager Chuck Fletcher will still like his club's future.

In ESPN's latest NHL prospect rankings by Chris Peters, the Flyers are one of only three teams with four players to make the top-50 list. The Panthers and Senators also feature four prospects on the list, which is compiled of players 24 years old or younger and with fewer than 25 NHL games played this season.

The Flyers' four youngsters on the list are Morgan Frost, Carter Hart, Joel Farabee and Philippe Myers. Hart and Myers are already with the big club and look like they're here to stay, while Frost and Farabee are ascending first-round picks.

Ron Hextall deserves an immense amount of credit for the Flyers earning these distinctions with their prospects. The former general manager tirelessly and strategically restocked the club's farm system.

With that said, let's update you on the four prospects to make ESPN's list, accompanied by their ranking:

13. Morgan Frost

The skinny

The 19-year-old center is tearing up the OHL yet again. After going off for 112 points in 67 regular-season games (and 29 points in 24 playoff contests) last season, the Sault Ste. Marie product is leading the league with 108 points through 57 games in 2018-19 (but was just suspended indefinitely).

Frost dazzles down the middle and plays in all situations. He'll turn pro next season and there's no reason why he won't be shooting for the Flyers.

Quotable

He scored five goals and arguably could have scored seven or eight with the opportunities that he got. But we were also down by two and he really, really maintained the composure of the bench, he continued to play the 200-foot game even when we were up by two or three goals. 

The example he set away from the puck, it's starting to get rewarded with the puck. Pretty special weekend, something we're starting to get used to with Morgan.

- Sault Ste. Marie head coach John Dean in January talking about Frost's five-goal game

23. Carter Hart

The skinny

Since being called up on the same day Dave Hakstol was fired as head coach, the 20-year-old Hart has saved this season from being a completely lost one.

He won NHL Rookie of the Month in January, matched the league record for consecutive victories by a goalie before his 21st birthday at eight and went 11-2-0 with a 2.46 goals-against average and .930 save percentage from Jan. 10 to Feb. 17.

Quotable

I played against him a few times in junior, I obviously knew he was good and highly talked about, but I didn't know he was that good. He's going to be a superstar for a long time, so it's obviously nice to have him on your end.

- Nolan Patrick on Feb. 4

26. Joel Farabee

The skinny

Farabee, the 14th overall pick in last summer's draft, is having a superb freshman season at Boston University with 31 points (13 goals, 18 assists) in 34 games.

The 19-year-old winger has a goal-scoring acumen and could be a quick riser.

Quotable

Joel hides things — we call it deception. So, he's going to shoot the puck, he'll turn his hands real quick and bang and let it go. Or he'll open up for a shot and he'll pass the puck, so he's got a lot of deception. 

A lot of top guys in the league, you wonder why they score or how that pass went through. Well, they're showing hands to the defenseman, to the goalie — the little things that the naked eye doesn't see that they're doing, and Joel is one of those guys. His deception in his game is outstanding.

- Hextall on July 2, 2018

49. Philippe Myers

The skinny

The 22-year-old undrafted defenseman has opened eyes since being called up Feb. 9. Myers is an excellent skater for his 6-foot-5 frame and he has shown great instincts and decision-making through nine games.

Fletcher wanted to see him here and Myers is showing the GM he'll be ready for a full-time gig next season.

Quotable

We stopped so many times and cut back, but he's a unique player, he's a big boy. If you cut back on him or try to burn him wide, you think you have room but he's right there with you.

- Travis Konecny on Sept. 15, 2018, after a drill in training camp

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Flyers weekly observations: Carter Hart's moxie, Claude Giroux's drive, Isaac Ratcliffe's 50th goal, more

Flyers weekly observations: Carter Hart's moxie, Claude Giroux's drive, Isaac Ratcliffe's 50th goal, more

Nobody thought the Flyers would go down without at least making it interesting, right?

They're hanging on after following up a pair of damaging losses with a 2-1 overtime stunner in Pittsburgh, keeping hope alive as 10 games remain.

We'll touch on that and more in our latest weekly observations:

• Carter Hart's two games back tell you a ton about the kid.

After not seeing game action for 20 days and being benched in his previous two starts, Hart returned to face the Capitals and Penguins — the last three Stanley Cup champions.

How did he do? He stopped 68 of 73 shots for a .932 save percentage and 2.44 goals-against average, while delivering a potential season-saving victory Sunday night in Pittsburgh.

It's great to see Hart trusted in big games despite being 20 years old and coming off an ankle injury. Flyers interim head coach Scott Gordon hasn't shied away from playing Hart, no matter the matchup or circumstances.

That's how it should be. Hart is the future and now is the time to get him ready.

• Now that the Flyers are done with the Penguins, the rival becomes one of their best friends. 

A team to keep the closest eye on is the Hurricanes (85 points), who currently hold the Eastern Conference's first wild-card spot, ahead of the Blue Jackets (84 points, in the second wild-card position), Canadiens (81 points) and Flyers (78 points).

The Flyers don't play the Blue Jackets again, whereas they still have two matchups left with the Hurricanes. Carolina also has to play the Penguins twice, the Capitals twice, the Lightning once and the Maple Leafs once.

Yes, the Flyers will be pulling for Pittsburgh there and should have the Hurricanes in their sights if they want to squeak into the playoffs.

• Sunday night was one of countless examples of Claude Giroux's quiet leadership.

Giroux could not partake in morning skate because he was under the weather and deemed a game-time decision.

He ended up gutting it out, playing 23:33 against the Penguins and finishing as a plus-2. In his four matchups with Pittsburgh this season, Giroux scored four points (two goals, two assists) and was a plus-4 in 24 minutes per game.

Gordon told reporters at PPG Paints Arena that Giroux was able to eat a little bit of food during the day and got an IV before the game.

"When you think about a guy being able to feel as bad as he did this morning that he couldn't come to the rink — and you know how much he loves being at the rink — it was pretty impressive," Gordon said Sunday night.

Teammates look up to this stuff.

Not long ago, Giroux took a power-play adjustment in stride when Gordon and assistant coach Kris Knoblauch decided to roll with five forwards, which moved the captain out of his usual left circle.

That morning, before the Jan. 14 game, Giroux was the first player on the ice to get extra reps in from the opposite side, not as friendly of a spot for a righty-shot player. 

Giroux's drive at 31 years old is something else. And his teammates see it.

• A prospect who doesn't draw as much publicity as others accomplished an impressive feat last weekend.

Isaac Ratcliffe, a 6-foot-6 winger taken in the second round of the 2017 draft, scored his 50th goal of the season, tied for fifth best in the OHL.

The 20-year-old will be a player to watch next season with AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley. He's particularly intriguing because his size belies his skill and soft hands.

"When I was younger, it was a big thing that I used to work on at the end of practice or the end of a skill session," Ratcliffe said last summer. "It was a big thing I liked to work on, a guy my size, you don't usually see that and I wanted to prove guys wrong. I can bring any sorts of items to the table and I really wanted to show that I could bring my hands, as well.

"You see a big guy like myself, 6-5, 6-6-plus, and you see a guy, usually a little loose on his feet or his hands are a little stiff, but I like to show that I can skate, as well, and use my hands, be deceptive coming into the zone or coming out of the zone."

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Flyers' Stanley Cup drought is taken to another level in Pittsburgh

Flyers' Stanley Cup drought is taken to another level in Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH — Apparently, Sunday was still a day to celebrate for Penguins fans.

Regardless of another gut-wrenching, last-minute overtime loss for the Penguins to their hated cross-state rival, a certain radio talk show host wanted Pittsburgh fans to wallow in the Flyers' misery.

Mark Madden pointed out in his column for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that Sunday’s game against the Flyers marked the 16,000th day since the orange and black won their second Stanley Cup championship.

And for that, apparently Penguins fans should be in a celebratory mood, as he wrote, "But Sunday is a day to celebrate, not worry. The Philadelphia Flyers visit PPG Paints Arena, and it will be exactly 16,000 days since the Flyers last won the Stanley Cup."

The 16,000-day drought inspired Penguins fans to unfurl a banner in the upper deck, and it even caught the attention of NBC play-by-play great Mike “Doc” Emrick, who referenced the 44-year drought during the second period of Sunday’s telecast.

But Madden’s personal vendetta with the Flyers and their followers caught the attention of Flyers radio host Jason Myrtetus, who exchanged Twitter jabs with the Pittsburgh shock jock.

The two radio hosts started their online feud a few hours prior to Sunday’s game (NSFW below).

Madden, who doesn’t hide his love for the Penguins, ended his column by saying, “That’s a lot of days. Many more will follow.”

Not if the Flyers keep beating the Penguins in overtime.

Not if Carter Hart plays like he did Sunday night at PPG Paints Arena. 

Perhaps Madden also needs to be reminded that Philadelphia’s Eagles and Phillies have both won championships much more recently than Pittsburgh’s Steelers and Pirates.

Then again, their misery doesn’t exactly register on Philly’s radar.

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