Felix Sandstrom

Flyers development camp: 5 observations from 5-on-5 scrimmage

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Zack Hill, Len Redkoles/Philadelphia Flyers

Flyers development camp: 5 observations from 5-on-5 scrimmage

VOORHEES, N.J. — Flyers Skate Zone featured a full house Saturday night as 2019 development camp culminated with a 5-on-5 scrimmage.

Fans packed the practice facility and Gritty even checked out the team's future by making an appearance.

Team Orange notched a 3-2 win over Team White in a fun, up-and-down game.

Let's get into five observations from the night:

1. Center of attention

German Rubtsov looks the part. 

From a physical standpoint, many of the prospects in camp still looked like kids, but Rubtsov did not. He is filled out and stands like an NHL center. He also plays like one with his hockey IQ and how he commands the pace.

The 2016 first-round pick stood out in all aspects, from positioning to using his body to make plays under control in a game that understandably had a frenetic style at times.

"He looks good," Flyers player development coach Kjell Samuelsson said. "He's healthy, he's fit and he can play."

He's on the Flyers' radar (see story).

2. That's some line

Team Orange sported a first line of Isaac Ratcliffe, Morgan Frost and Bobby Brink.

Not bad, right?

This year, Ratcliffe scored 50 goals, Frost had 109 points and Brink became a second-round pick.

The group was impressive Saturday. Ratcliffe scored a goal and Brink netted the game-winner. On Brink's goal, Ratcliffe started the play with a nice reverse pass in transition. Frost had an assist and created a ton of chances, to no surprise.

Ratcliffe and Frost were a part of the same 2017 draft class and have become great friends.

"That's really been a goal since draft day," Ratcliffe said of playing alongside Frost. "That was the first time I met Morgan, too, went up to the box there at the draft after the second round earlier in the day. That was the first time we said hi together. We kind of laughed about playing together one day on a line for the Flyers. To get a first taste of it today was pretty exciting and fun."

After the game, each player on both teams had the opportunity to take a shootout shot.

Frost wowed everyone with this:

He really likes that move.

3. There goes that Cam

Cam York is a smooth and dynamic skater. Just with his size, mobility and puck-handling, he sort of reminds you of Shayne Gostisbehere. York is 5-foot-11, 174 pounds, while Gostisbehere is 5-foot-11, 180 pounds.

Moving the puck means better possession and playing less defense.

At one point during the first of the two periods, York carried the puck into the offensive zone and kept it on his stick as he surveyed his options. If you didn't know, you'd think he was a forward on that play.

"Mobile defensemen," Samuelsson said, "that's today's hockey."

4. Seventh-round sleeper

Keep an eye on Wyatt Kalynuk in 2019-20. He'll be a captain on a talented Wisconsin team that is adding 2019 top-15 draft picks Alex Turcotte and Cole Caufield.

Kalynuk is an excellent skater with good size (6-1/181).

He's come a long way since being taken in the seventh round of the 2017 draft. After 25 points in 37 games as a sophomore, he appears primed for a breakout junior season with the Badgers.

5. King Felix

Felix Sandstrom was impressive all camp, in the 3-on-3 tournament and the 5-on-5 scrimmage.

The 2015 third-round pick is 22 years old and put up a 2.16 goals-against average this past season playing against men in the Swedish Elite League.

He'll be with AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley in 2019-20. You never know, he may be needed sooner rather than later with the Flyers to help Carter Hart and company.

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Future Flyers Report: German Rubtsov's season is over

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AP Images

Future Flyers Report: German Rubtsov's season is over

Before this week begins, it’s time for our weekly check-in on the Flyers’ prospects playing in the AHL, overseas and at the junior and college levels.

• Just when German Rubtsov was again making waves down on the farm, it’s all over. Rubtsov will have shoulder surgery and miss the rest of the season, per the Inquirer’s Sam Carchidi.

Rubtsov suffered the injury on this hit during the Phantoms’ 5-4 win Nov. 16 in Providence:

With that, Rubtsov’s first season in the AHL ends after just 14 games, and it was a productive 14 too. He scored six goals and 10 points and finished with a plus-3 rating. It’s a shame because the 20-year-old started to flash the offensive flair to his game that we didn’t really see during his time in major juniors after his 2016 draft year. Now, Rubtsov will rehab and recover and shift his focus to 2019-20. But his brief showing should leave us optimistic about Rubtsov’s future.

• Felix Sandstrom is quietly having a solid rebound season with HV71, though the overall numbers suggest otherwise. But once you peel away at the onion, you can see the progress.

Sandstrom allowed two goals on 25 shots in a 2-1 loss Thursday and his season save percentage is now .897, which is not fantastic by any means. But he does have a respectable 2.53 goals-against average in nine games, and if we break down his numbers by game, we can see why his percentage is as low as it is: two games in which he allowed five goals, on Sept. 20 and Oct. 25.

Take those two performances out and Sandstrom rocks a strong .927 save percentage in seven games. In those seven games, he’s allowed just 13 goals — two goals in six and one in the other.

The overall view paints a better picture for Sandstrom, and while Carter Hart gets the spotlight, we can’t count Sandstrom out as being the savior in the net this Flyers team so desperately needs.

• To cap off the featured section of this report, we’re going to talk a little bit about Morgan Frost because times right now in the NHL have everyone frustrated and disinterested.

Frost again is having a dominant season in the OHL and on Saturday night, the centerman recorded a junior career-best five assists in Sault Ste. Marie’s 7-4 win over Owen Sound. He had more assists than the Attack had goals. Frost was the first Greyhounds forward to have a five-assist game since Dustin Jeffrey did it Oct. 7, 2007.

The 19-year-old has 10 points during his current four-game point streak, 13 in his last seven and 46 points in 26 games. He’s in a three-way tie for the lead in the OHL scoring.

Quick hits
• Wisconsin defenseman Wyatt Kalynuk has now gone four games without a point but still leads the Badgers with 11 points this season. ESPN’s John Buccigross sung high praise of not just Kalynuk’s offensive game but his defensive game too, via the Courier-Post’s Dave Isaac:

He’s been Wisconsin’s best player! Skating is a huge strength. He’s calm on the ice and has a great hockey sense. Offense is what people notice, but he’s sneaky tough. Tough around the net and has a great willingness to block shots. Awesome on the power play. Has great knack for getting pucks thru traffic — not easy to find blueliners that don’t just bury them into the shin pads.

• Some positive news on the Jay O’Brien front as the 2018 first-round pick returned to the ice Friday after his second injury of the season kept him out three weeks. Both injuries are believed to be concussions, which is a scary start to his collegiate career. He’s pointless in seven games.

• Tanner Laczynski’s three-game point streak ended Saturday. Laczynski recorded five points during the streak. The Ohio State forward has 12 points in 11 games in his junior season.

• Isaac Ratcliffe had two goals Friday, another Saturday and Sunday. He has 19 goals and 30 points in 25 games.

• Matthew Strome had a three-point game Saturday eight points in his last four games. The Hamilton winger has 28 points in 25 games this season.

• 2018 fourth-round pick Jack St. Ivany had a two-assist game Saturday for Yale and now has five points in seven collegiate games.

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Future Flyers Report: Morgan Frost picks up where he left off

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Zack Hill/Philadelphia Flyers

Future Flyers Report: Morgan Frost picks up where he left off

Welcome back to the return of the Future Flyers Report, a weekly column tracking the development of Ron Hextall’s master experiment. With the Flyers’ season opener in Las Vegas 10 days away, expectations for the NHL club are higher.

But there remains a heavy pot of prospects worth following. Carter Hart turns pro. Joel Farabee and Jay O’Brien begin their collegiate careers at rival schools in Hockey East.

The CHL opened its regular season last week, and international leagues are also underway. It’s September, and that means hockey is back. As another NHL season filled with surprises, disappointments and Dave Hakstol lineup decisions creeps up on us, let’s dig a bit into the future.

• Let’s begin with Morgan Frost, who was returned to the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds last Tuesday, one day before the OHL season opened, after just one preseason game with the Flyers.

Frost didn’t waste much time cracking the scoresheet in 2018-19, registering a primary assist in the Greyhounds’ opener last Wednesday against Saginaw in a 5-2 loss.

After Friday’s game was postponed, Frost jumped right back into the fray with his first multi-point game of the season in Sault Ste. Marie’s 6-0 win over the North Bay on Saturday.

He also added a secondary assist on the Greyhounds’ final goal of the season. It’s an encouraging two-game start for Frost, who has won over 61 percent of his faceoffs as well.

While Frost didn’t make the Flyers, it wasn’t for a lack of opportunity. He had that in the rookie game and the preseason tilt he played in, but he didn’t move the needle enough to stick around.

Still, Frost figures to have another monster season in the OHL. It will be his last. He turns pro in 2019-20 and he’ll have much higher odds of being an NHL player next season.

• While most eyes will be on Hart in Lehigh Valley, Felix Sandstrom remains a goalie to watch overseas. He has a lot to prove this season after a difficult 2017-18 campaign (see story).

Sandstrom, now with HV71, has three games under his belt thus far. He allowed two goals on 34 shots in his first game on Sept. 15 in a 3-1 loss to Färjestad. He struggled Thursday, allowing five goals on 28 shots against Linkoping but rebounded with a 23-save, two-goal effort Saturday.

If all goes according to plan, Sandstrom will come to North America next season.

Quick Hits
• Matthew Strome picked up his first points of the season Saturday with a two-assist game in Hamilton’s 4-2 win over Barrie.

• Marcus Westfalt, the Flyers’ seventh-round pick from June’s draft, has a goal and three assists in five games for Brynäs IF in the J20 SuperElit.

Isaac Ratcliffe (Guelph, OHL) has an assist in two games, Wyatte Wylie (Everett, WHL) has an assist in one game, Maksim Sushko (Owen Sound, OHL) has an assist in two games.

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