Carson Briere

5 Flyers takeaways: Focusing on the prospects

5 Flyers takeaways: Focusing on the prospects

VOORHEES, N.J. — The group of prospects making up 2019 Flyers development camp is an impressive one.

General manager Chuck Fletcher, who has worked in the NHL since 1993, said it's the most talent he's ever seen in a development camp. Assistant general manager Brent Flahr didn't disagree.

After Day 4 Friday of the five-day camp, let's look at a prospect-centric five takeaways, with a focus on forwards:

1. One-and-done kid

Joel Farabee really stands out and he happens to play the one position in which the Flyers appear to have an opening. 

When projecting the Flyers' 2019-20 lineup at forward, the team's top six looks full. The fourth line very well could be in place with Michael Raffl, Scott Laughton and Tyler Pitlick. However, a third-line winger is clearly needed.

And here's Farabee, a 19-year-old goal-scorer with length, speed and the traits to play anywhere in the lineup along the wing.

"You watch a Joel Farabee, you watch the way he thinks the game, especially the small area hockey games out there — he's a guy that I can imagine you put him with NHL players, he can play," Flahr said. "Whether he's physically ready or mentally ready to handle the grind of an NHL season, I'm not sure. I'm not sure that's realistic."

Farabee is a bit wiry. He said this week he's around 6-foot-1, 175 pounds. The 2018 first-round pick proved he was ready for the pro level after an award-winning freshman season at Boston University.

While Fletcher said it's ideal for prospects to see developmental time in the AHL, he didn't rule out the possibility of a youngster winning a job in camp.

What Fletcher adds or doesn't add during the free agency period starting Monday will mean a lot for Farabee's chances. But if there's a prospect that seems most poised and fit to fill a roster need on opening night, it's Farabee.

2. Remember Rubtsov

When asked if there were any prospects in development camp that could challenge for a job in training camp, Flahr did not hesitate to mention German Rubtsov.

The 2016 first-round pick is strong, advanced and possesses the hockey IQ of an NHLer. He's a center that thinks defense first. When he pushes the puck, he can score, too. The 21-year-old raced out of the chute with AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley last season, scoring six goals and 10 points in 14 games before a shoulder injury ended his season.

"Rubtsov's a guy that you watch him in certain drills defensively — our coaches, they like a lot of things that he brings," Flahr said. "Something that maybe people won't watch first glance, but you watch, he's always above the puck. He's always responsible. He's always in position. A lot of those things young players have to learn, he does well."

If Rubtsov can start quickly with the Phantoms again, he'll be on the radar throughout 2019-20.

"Another young guy that needs time and experience," Fletcher said, "but a smart hockey player, physically strong, has good skill and we believe he has a bright future."

3. A shade of Wade

Wade Allison has all the goal-scoring tools, from a craftiness around the net to a powerful shot. He's shown plenty during development camp and the right winger will be a player to watch as a senior at Western Michigan (if he returns to school, which seems likely).

As a sophomore for the Broncos, Allison was rolling with 15 goals and 15 assists in 22 games before tearing his ACL. The 2016 second-round pick is still not quite 100 percent. If/when he returns to full health, there's a ton of promise.

Allison was one of two prospects (Isaac Ratcliffe being the other) to score four goals in the 3-on-3 tournament Friday at Flyers Skate Zone.

4. Following O'Brien

Wherever Jay O'Brien plays in 2019-20 — it could be in the BCHL or at Boston University — he'll be worth watching after the 5-foot-11, 185-pounder endured a rough 2018-19, resulting in his transferring from Providence.

The 2018 first-round pick suffered injuries and had a difficult transition to the Division I level.

O'Brien is a positive kid and ready to take his growing pains in stride. The size, strength and physical aspects of the game are important in his growth because when he has daylight, he can do damage. 

Nate Leaman, a national title-winning head coach, called O'Brien's skill set "elite."

"He's always been a competitor, he likes to play with pace," Flahr said. "A lot of things that he needs to work on are strength related. He's not the biggest body. Stepping in from high school into the college level, it's a challenge. It's not easy. It doesn't matter how good you are. I think he learned that. It's probably the first time in his career that he went through any adversity at any level."

5. Just like his dad

A stick tap for Carson Briere, who showed his game Friday. He scored a nice goal during a drill in the morning and tallied three markers in the 3-on-3 tournament.

Briere isn't the biggest or fastest, but he's skilled with the puck and scored 44 goals in the NAHL last season.

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Mr. Playoffs, just like Danny Briere? Carson Briere all about getting better in Flyers orange

Zack Hill, Philadelphia Flyers/AP Images

Mr. Playoffs, just like Danny Briere? Carson Briere all about getting better in Flyers orange

VOORHEES, N.J. — When you hear the name Briere around Philadelphia, it would make sense to think back to "Mr. Playoffs" himself, Danny Briere. But when the list of prospects was released just a few days prior to kicking off this year’s Flyers development camp, a different Briere caught everyone’s attention.

Carson Briere, one of three sons to the former Flyers' center, received an invitation to attend camp but his dad made it known right away that he had no influence on the decision.

“[Assistant general manager Brent Flahr] reached out to me and asked if Carson would be interested," Briere said Wednesday.

"It was out of the blue, I didn’t expect it. It was pretty cool for me, too, but I’m sure it was really special for him. He grew up here, he grew up with the Flyers. For him, I’m sure it’s special — a special time this week.” 

More recently, Briere spent the majority of his past two seasons with the Johnstown Tomahawks. While it took him a while to get the hang of things, once he found his groove, the 5-foot-9 19-year-old was nearly unstoppable.

His numbers speak for themselves as Briere led his team in points (44 goals, 45 assists) and had 20 more goals than the next-closest player on the team. His 89 points were good enough for second most in the entire NAHL. 

A family affair for the Brieres 

It’s safe to say that the hockey gene runs strongly within this family, considering all three brothers took up the sport that their dad made a career out of, but Carson Briere said that there was definitely added pressure when he was younger just because of the name across his back every time he hit the ice. However, once he got older, not worrying about it became the key to focusing on the sport itself. 

Carson Briere didn’t hold back from speaking about some of his past struggles he had on certain teams, being cut from a few and feeling like he did not deserve to play on them. However, he showed a great deal of maturity with what he said next, acknowledging that he was aware of such issues and how he could have worked harder. He took the time to slim down and get in better shape, changing both his mentality and outlook on the game and becoming much more confident.

Regardless of the highs and lows of his hockey past, having someone who had gone through similar situations there to support him along the way was always beneficial for him.

“I’m definitely lucky to have him as a dad and guide me through my hockey career," Briere said. "It's definitely made it a lot easier for me.” 

(Zack Hill/Philadelphia Flyers)

So what’s next for Carson Briere? 

“I’m just trying to get better, I’m taking it one day at a time," he said. "I don’t think there’s any pressure — if I don’t make it, I don’t make it. If I do, I do. I’m just trying have some fun and get better at hockey and have it translate from college and we’ll see from there.” 

Briere is committed to Arizona State University, a Division I school where he will be able to advance his career even further.

Arizona State was always an enticing choice, considering he's from Scottsdale, Arizona — just one town over from where the school is located. While he never visited the campus in person, Briere was able to talk to his future Sun Devils coach Greg Powers a few times and the two had some great discussions. Since being from the area, Briere knew the kind of weather and atmosphere in Arizona, but his dad still sent him photos and videos of the campus just in case.

Briere was assigned No. 90 for development camp, but when asked about sporting or even requesting his dad’s old Flyers No. 48, he said: “Maybe in college — we’ll see.”

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5 observations from Flyers development camp: The Morgan Frost show, Cam York loves Gritty, more

5 observations from Flyers development camp: The Morgan Frost show, Cam York loves Gritty, more

VOORHEES, N.J. — Flyers development camp was in full swing Tuesday.

Let's get into five observations from Day 1 of the five-day camp:

1. That's cold

Morgan Frost, one of the organization's top prospects, picked on a practice player in net during an afternoon shooting drill. Frost buried three shots top shelf all in a row. He then chatted with the goalie afterward in a friendly manner.

The 20-year-old center rotated to the next station and delivered another clinic. There's a reason he recorded back-to-back 100-point seasons to finish off his junior hockey career. He puts the puck where he wants it to go.

Frost's speed and skill will be tested at the pro level. How quickly his game translates will be interesting to watch.

"I don't think I really need people that are telling me I can't do it at the next level to motivate me," Frost said. "It's motivating enough for yourself to try to be the best player you can be."

2. Mr. Playoffs Jr.

Seeing the name Briere on the back of a Flyers jersey is commonplace in the Delaware Valley.

Flyers fans are getting the chance to see it again on the ice.

Carson Briere, the son of beloved former Flyer Danny Briere, is a development camp invite. 

His father was on hand Tuesday and signed a few autographs early in the morning as he entered the practice facility.

Briere caught up with assistant general manager Brent Flahr and took in much of the action, even watching the defensemen while his son was on the opposite ice with the forwards.

Carson, a 5-foot-9, 181-pound forward, had himself a heck of a season with the Johnstown Tomahawks of the NAHL, a Tier II junior league. The Arizona State commit scored 44 goals and 89 points in 59 regular-season games. 

3. 'Gritty's a beauty'

Philly is going to like Cam York.

The 2019 No. 14 overall pick has a smoothness to him, on and off the ice.

The 18-year-old defenseman also has bushy red hair. Some folks in the Twittersphere have likened him to Gritty.

"I saw a few things where they were comparing me to him," York said with a smile. "It's all good. Gritty's a beauty, so I take it as a compliment."

This kid gets it.

4. Yo, Yegor!

A defenseman to keep an eye on throughout the 2019-20 season — even training camp, actually — is Yegor Zamula.

He's really tall and long. His story and potential feel Philippe Myers-esque (see story).

His skating is impressive for a guy his size. He'll obviously have to get much stronger, but he's only 19 and the upside is evident.

5. Joel ready to roll

One-and-done Joel Farabee will be pushing for the Flyers' roster during training camp after a standout freshman season at Boston University and signing his entry-level contract in March.

Everyone is now facing the challenge of impressing a mostly new coaching staff and general manager Chuck Fletcher, who will be entering his first full season with the Flyers.

Farabee, a slender goal-scoring winger, is ready to embrace that challenge.

"I think it bodes well for me," Farabee said. "I can play a lot of different styles, a lot of different roles on a team, so I think that helps me. I'm really excited to meet the new coaching staff. I think all of those guys have had really successful careers so far, so it'll be interesting to talk to them and get feedback from them."

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