Flyers

End to End: Which prospect are you most eager to see at Flyers rookie camp?

End to End: Which prospect are you most eager to see at Flyers rookie camp?

Throughout the offseason, we'll ask questions about the Flyers to our resident hockey analysts and see what they have to say.

Going End to End today are CSNPhilly.com reporters Tom Dougherty and Jordan Hall.

The topic: Which Flyers prospect are you most eager to see at rookie camp?

Dougherty
With rookie camp beginning Monday, the rookie game Wednesday and training camp Friday, there are a plethora of young players worth watching before the regular season begins. Let's stay away from Nolan Patrick and Oskar Lindblom. Even the defensive prospects, too. We're all going to have our eyes on Robert Hagg, Sam Morin, Travis Sanheim and Phil Myers.

The one prospect I am most looking forward to seeing during rookie and training camp is Russian center Mikhail Vorobyev, who popped at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championships. Vorobyev doesn't figure to factor into the forward competition this season, as it will be his first season in North America. Vorobyev will spend his first season in Lehigh Valley.

But there are plenty of reasons to watch Vorobyev. He was an unknown talent in Russia until the world juniors, and the Flyers selected him in the fourth round of the 2015 draft "probably because he was in Russia — he was hidden a little bit," GM Ron Hextall said in July. This will be our first chance to see Vorobyev in a competitive camp with the Flyers.

Vorobyev showcased a skill set that I don't think many of us knew he had over here during the world juniors, and the Russian factor was a part of it. In the KHL, he had a solid role as a 19-year-old with Salavat Yulaev Ufa, but it wasn't a role in which he was able to flash what he can do offensively. Once with his peers at the world juniors, he displayed playmaking and vision that created some buzz among Flyers fans.

What he will pan out as an NHL prospect still remains an uncertainty, but I believe he has the potential to blossom as a middle-six pivot. He's a player that I am going to keep my eye on this season at Lehigh Valley, and I think during camp, he'll be a prospect to watch — largely because we still haven't seen much of him.

Hall
Every which way, Sanheim looked like an NHL defenseman at July's development camp.

He has filled out physically, standing at 6-foot-4, 199 pounds. His offensive game is impressive, without a doubt his biggest strength. And his skating has improved to the point in which it looks fluid and natural.

Oh, and his confidence is not lacking — exactly what you want to see from the 21-year-old.

"I feel like I'm ready, I'm going to compete for a spot," Sanheim said in July. "Until somebody tells me differently, that's my goal. I'm coming to make the Flyers."

So I'm curious to watch Sanheim compete at camp and see how NHL-ready he looks with the Flyers' brass closely evaluating. With a little bit of time last season, the 2014 first-round pick grasped the learning curve at the AHL.

"He did a really good job last year from start to finish — got a lot better," Hextall said this summer. "The adjustment on the first month, month and a half, where he was going too much up ice, a little bit irresponsible and all of a sudden, a month, month and a half in, figured that part out. That was a huge step for him. He got better, he got better throughout the year and he needs to continue on that."

Morin and Hagg are the likely candidates to fill the Flyers' two open spots on the blue line, but Sanheim is out to prove he's just as much the part.

End to End: Will Carter Hart need a full season in the AHL?

End to End: Will Carter Hart need a full season in the AHL?

Going End to End today is NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Tom Dougherty and Jordan Hall.

The topic: Will Carter Hart need a full season in the AHL?

Dougherty
Flyers general manager Ron Hextall kept the door open, however slightest, at his end-of-season news conference for Hart to earn a spot with the big club in training camp. Knowing Hextall's past, it's hard to imagine a scenario where Hart breaks camp with the Flyers, but the 19-year-old is a special breed years beyond his age.

Hart closed the book on his junior career Saturday with his second CHL Goaltender of the Year award in three years, becoming the first goalie to win it twice (see story).

On paper, the Flyers have Brian Elliott and Michal Neuvirth under contract for 2018-19. Alex Lyon and Anthony Stolarz are restricted free agents, and one figures to move on from the organization this summer. My bet is on Lyon coming back and having first dibs at the NHL backup job if injuries hit the Flyers' crease.

But it's hard for me to sit here and say Hart has no shot at being in the NHL next year. I think he's going to do everything he can this offseason to push for a job, and I think if he's ready for one, he'll be here.

Do I think he needs a full season in the AHL? Probably not. If I were to bet, I'd put my money on him being with the Phantoms in October. But I've lost plenty of bets in my life. I think we'll see him with the Flyers at some point in 2018-19.

It's just a matter of when.

Hall
A full year in the AHL would be wise for Hart — and all signs point to that happening.

Last week, I asked Everett general manager Garry Davidson if he could tell Flyers fans one thing about Hart, what would it be?

Here was his response:

"I think they still have to be a little patient. He's just a 19-year-old, he's just played major junior, he's been very successful. But the jump from where we are to the pro game — whether it's either in the American league and then at the NHL level — is a substantial jump. He's going to need some time and I don't know how much time that will be, but we use the word here all the time — you've got to have patience."

That certainly jives with Hextall's approach to prospects. The Flyers have confidence in their current tandem, featuring two goalies in the final year of their respective contracts. And it seems Lyon, a restricted free agent this offseason, has earned himself a contract and the status of backup in case of an injury.

Hart very well could be the future and the Flyers won't mess with it.

2018 NHL draft position preview — Defensemen

ap_quinn_hughes.jpg
AP Images

2018 NHL draft position preview — Defensemen

We conclude our 2018 NHL draft position previews with a look at the top draft-eligible defensemen. We’ve already looked at centers, left wingers and right wingers. While the Flyers will likely draft a goaltender at some point, we are not previewing that position. It is highly unlikely they would select one in the first round with either of their two selections.

Rasmus Dahlin, 6-2/181, Frolunda (SHL)
Prospects like Dahlin come around once every so often and there is no question where the 18-year-old will be drafted. Dahlin will be a member of the Buffalo Sabres and become the first player born in 2000 drafted into the NHL. Dahlin is a special player with dynamic offensive ability and creativity. Dahlin will become just the second Swedish-born player ever drafted No. 1 overall, joining Mats Sundin, who was the first overall pick in 1989. Dahlin registered seven goals and 20 points in 41 games this season with Frolunda playing top-four minutes. He was an Olympian at 17 years old. His highlight reels have some bonker plays on them.

Draft projection: No. 1 overall

Quinn Hughes, 5-10/170, University of Michigan (NCAA)
Finishing as the sixth-best North American skater by NHL Central Scouting, Hughes is one of the top defensive prospects in a defense-heavy draft class. He should join a respectable list of Wolverines defensemen drafted high in the first round — Zach Werenski, Jacob Trouba and Jack Johnson. Had five goals and 29 points in 37 games during his freshman season at Michigan and has plenty of Team USA experience coming up in the USA National Team Development Program. An all-around defenseman who is an excellent skater and puck-mover.

Draft projection: Between Nos. 4-9

Adam Boqvist, 5-11/168, Brynas Jr. (SuperElit)
Another Swedish defenseman, Boqvist checks in as the second-best European skater by Central Scouting. The younger brother of Jesper Boqvist, who the Devils drafted with the 36th overall pick last year, Adam Boqvist has high-end offensive skill with a ton of potential. A little bit away from coming overseas and more of a long-term play but could blossom into a star blueliner. He averaged nearly a point per game with Brynas’ junior team, recording 24 points in 25 games and led the junior league among defensemen with 14 goals.

Draft projection: Between Nos. 4-9

Evan Bouchard, 6-2/193, London (OHL)
The OHL veteran finished as the fourth-rated North American skater by Central Scouting. Bouchard, in his third season with the Knights, had 25 goals and 87 points in 67 games this season. His 87 points led all OHL defensemen and was eighth among all players. He’s a right-handed shot who can quarterback the power play and owns a wicked slapper. Has decent size and strength and has a good hockey IQ.

Draft projection: Top 10

Noah Dobson, 6-3/180, Acadie-Bathurst (QMJHL)
Dobson finished as the fifth-best North American skater by Central Scouting, a three-spot climb from the midterm rankings. A right-handed shot, Dobson has been entrusted by the Titan to play against teams’ top players. He’s a strong two-way defenseman with good size, though he’s not a great skater. He had 69 points in 67 games with Acadie-Bathurst in the regular season, and while his points were down in the playoffs, he’s helped the Titan reach the Memorial Cup.

Draft projection: Between Nos. 8-15