Flyers

Tanner Laczynski, a Flyers prospect growing into a pro at Ohio State

ap_tanner_laczynski.jpg
AP Images/Al Goldis

Tanner Laczynski, a Flyers prospect growing into a pro at Ohio State

When many think of forwards in the Flyers' pipeline, names like Morgan Frost, Joel Farabee and Isaac Ratcliffe come to mind.

Here's a name that should be on everyone's radar for 2019-20: Tanner Laczynski.

Why?

Because the 21-year-old center isn't all that far away. His game oozes with pro readiness, from his size (6-1/193) to his shot and, most notably, his preparation.

College has done him well.

And at Ohio State, a big senior season awaits Laczynski, one filled with motivating factors and a potential run at the Hobey Baker Memorial Award (top college player).

Forget that sixth-round label; he'll be a guy to watch among all Flyers prospects.

"The biggest thing for Tanner is he trains like a pro," Ohio State head coach Steve Rohlik said Monday in a phone interview with NBC Sports Philadelphia. "He's our hardest worker every day in practice, he's not easy to practice against, he competes at a very high level all the time. 

"That's what's a major factor in him continuing to develop. And he takes advantage of the resources — our strength and conditioning, nutrition, off ice, on ice with the coaches, individual skill sessions, all those kind of things. I think that's one of Tanner's benefits is that he takes advantage of all those areas and that's why you see him continue to succeed and continue to get better."

Laczynski, a 2016 sixth-round selection of the Flyers, enjoyed a standout sophomore season in which he scored 47 points (17 goals, 30 assists) in 41 games, was named a Second Team West All-American and helped lead the Buckeyes to the Frozen Four.

The encore wasn't as special.

As a junior, Laczynski missed nine games because of injuries, including a key six-game stretch through February.

"When he came back, he certainly wasn't at 100 percent as far as where his game was," Rohlik said. "But it didn't take him long to get back into that."

He put up 30 points (10 goals, 20 assists) in 27 games and Ohio State was upset in the Big Ten Tournament semifinals before being shut out in its opening game of the NCAA Tournament. The Buckeyes lost their final three games, with Laczynski going scoreless over the last two.

Not the way he wanted to go out, so it's back to school for one more go-around.

For a guy like Laczynski, why not? The Flyers have until Aug. 15, 2020, to ink Laczynski to an entry-level contract before losing his rights. His game has steadily progressed into pro caliber and another year of Division I hockey will only help. Rohlik said Laczynski will play "in a lot of situations where he can continue to improve" while handling the puck "as much as anybody." 

"He wants to come back and try to finish some unfinished business and those are all goals — get a degree, get better as a hockey player, develop, become a better person and try to win your last game," Rohlik said. "I think all those things fill his bucket."

Given how far Laczynski has come since 2016, Flyers player development coach John Riley won't mind taking a few more trips to Columbus, Ohio.

"He's been at a lot of our games, a lot of communication, what they see, what we see, continued areas that we all want to see him develop," Rohlik said of Riley, Ohio State's go-to contact with the Flyers. "They've done a great job of communicating with me, liking what they see, feedback — good or bad."

The Buckeyes recruited Laczynski back to his midget hockey days in 2013 with the Chicago Mission.

"Just a big, strong kid, had great hand-eye coordination and certainly was a big factor at every level he played in," Rohlik said.

The pro level will be next after four years of college, time well spent by Laczynski.

"Strength-wise, that's not going to be an issue. Work ethic's not going to be an issue," Rohlik said. "But I know there are parts of his game that he wants to continue to get better. He shoots the puck like a pro, but he's got to learn to shoot more. … Smaller areas, working on those first few steps, all the little things that are going to continue to help him get better.

"He's going to do whatever it takes to be the best player he can for the Flyers. That has been his main goal here at Ohio State, that he's going to take advantage of every resource he can here because his dream is to play at that level. … I just think he's going to come in there and try to prove himself and try to be an everyday player for them at some point."

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Flyers

Flyers Talk podcast: Analyzing possible playoff matchups in NHL's 24-team format

Flyers Talk podcast: Analyzing possible playoff matchups in NHL's 24-team format

On the latest Flyers Talk podcast, NBC Sports Philadelphia's Katie Emmer and Jordan Hall pick a playoff matchup for the orange and black.

From looking at the 24-team format to Michael Barkann's interview with Bernie Parent, let's dive in:

1:00 — Which playoff matchup would we prefer for the Flyers?

6:00 — Should we care about fairness in the 24-team bracket?

10:15 — Pick one of the two: season canceled or Penguins win the Cup?

13:30 — Parent has high praise for Carter Hart and the Flyers

16:25 — Why Hart is a great fit for Philadelphia

20:00 — Sharing our most painful hockey memory

25:30 — A taste of the "Marathon on Ice"

Subscribe and rate Flyers Talk: Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Spotify | Stitcher | Art19 | YouTube

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Flyers

NHL releases detailed protocol for Phase 2 in potential step toward resuming 2019-20 season

NHL releases detailed protocol for Phase 2 in potential step toward resuming 2019-20 season

The NHL on Monday released a protocol for a potential Phase 2 in its hope to eventually resume the season and award the Stanley Cup.

Phase 2 would see players being allowed to return to team practice facilities for voluntary small-group individualized training activities, whether it be on or off the ice.

The NHL is targeting a date in early June for an implementation of Phase 2, "however, it has not yet been determined when precisely Phase 2 will start or how long it may last," the league stated.

The 2019-20 season was suspended on March 12 because of the coronavirus outbreak. The league is hoping to resume the season under a 24-team format, but specific details for such a scenario are to be determined.

As for Phase 2, here is a section from the NHL's memorandum:

We are continuing to monitor developments in each of the club’s markets, and may adjust the overall timing if appropriate, following discussion with all relevant parties.

As we have stated repeatedly, the health of the players and club personnel is our top priority, and that will dictate how Phase 2, and any progression thereafter, may evolve. We again emphasize that player participation in Phase 2 is strictly voluntary. In addition, clubs are not permitted to require players to return to the club’s home city so they can complete a quarantine requirement in time to participate in Phase 2.

Clubs whose local health authorities would allow for the reopening of club facilities will be required to consult with and seek approval from the league prior to any reopening of club facilities. In those jurisdictions which continue to restrict or prohibit such activity from occurring, and in order to address potential competitive concerns, the league will work with those clubs to facilitate alternative arrangements, if desired. Further, clubs are required to comply with the public health mandates and recommended best practices of the CDC and/or Public Health Agency of Canada (“Health Canada”) applicable to them and the facility in which Phase 2 activities are to take place, including any changes to such recommendations that may take place after the commencement of Phase 2.

Let's look at some of the key points from the league's memorandum, which you can read in full here.

Testing

Players and club personnel shall be administered laboratory-based RT-PCR tests 48 hours prior to anyone returning to their team's training facility. The testing "must be done in the context of excess testing capacity, so as to not deprive health care workers, vulnerable populations and symptomatic individuals from necessary diagnostic tests," the league stated.

To determine if this will be feasible in each club’s local market, clubs shall engage with your local health authorit(ies) (as well as any other applicable health authorities such as state, provincial or federal) to determine whether asymptomatic players and other club personnel are eligible under applicable regulations and local conditions to receive PCR tests, either publicly or privately, provided that doing so does not take testing resources away from publicly necessary testing.

If testing is not available at the start of Phase 2, players who wish to participate in Phase 2 activities and “Player Access” club personnel must self-quarantine for 14 days prior to entering the facility (or, certify that they have already served a self-quarantine for the prior 14 days in the club’s home market, in which event they will be eligible to enter the facility when Phase 2 begins).

Self-quarantine

Before being allowed access to club facilities, players and permitted personnel may be required to serve a 14-day self-quarantine period imposed by local health authorities, regardless of their mode of travel (private or charter travel).

Even if not imposed by the local health authorities, such individuals returning to the club’s home city by public transportation, including commercial air or rail travel, must serve a 14-day self-quarantine period post-travel before engaging in training activities at their club’s facility.

If players and personnel departed this week for their respective club's city, it would allow them access to the facility sometime in the second week of June, if the league has decided to implement Phase 2.

Permitted activities

Six players are permitted inside the facility per session, while coaches and hockey operations personnel will be allowed to observe "the player-only non-contact skates commencing on the later of the date on which the commencement of training camp is announced by the League or two weeks after the club’s commencement of Phase 2 activities," the league stated.

Skating will consist of non-contact sessions with appropriate social distancing.

When players are not participating in on-ice activities they will be permitted to utilize the club’s exercise and weight room equipment, or receive individual treatment from the club’s medical/training staff:

• Weight training that does not include the need for a spotter 
• Circuit-based activities such as resistance training
• Cardiovascular exercises and endurance training
• Rehabilitation and treatment for players with ongoing disabling injuries and for players with non-disabling injuries, may be provided as directed by club medical/training staff

What's next?

There is no firm date for Phase 2. But if the NHL implements it in early June, it could allow for eventual training camps in late June and a possible resumption of the season at some point in July.

That roadmap is in complete theory. The situation will continue to be a day-to-day process for the NHL. Things can change and there are still many obstacles but the detailed plan for Phase 2 is a potential step forward.

June is when the Stanley Cup is typically awarded and the month in which the NHL entry draft is normally held. The NHL will soon have decisions to make on the date of the currently-postponed draft. There could also be an announcement this week on the specifics of the 24-team format. Here's how it could look for the Flyers.

Subscribe and rate Flyers Talk: Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Spotify | Stitcher | Art19 | YouTube

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Flyers