Maksim Sushko

Flyers roster cuts: Matthew Strome, Maksim Sushko, Wyatte Wylie back to junior clubs; Liam Hughes released from tryout

Flyers roster cuts: Matthew Strome, Maksim Sushko, Wyatte Wylie back to junior clubs; Liam Hughes released from tryout

The first round of cuts are in.

The Flyers on Monday returned left winger Matthew Strome, right winger Maksim Sushko and defenseman Wyatte Wylie to their junior clubs, while goalie Liam Hughes was removed from his amateur tryout.

The OHL season begins Wednesday night and the WHL kicks off Friday night.

Strome, a 2017 fourth-round pick, is set for his fourth junior campaign with the Hamilton Bulldogs. The 19-year-old scored 37 goals and 68 points over 65 regular-season games in 2017-18, before helping lead Hamilton to an OHL title (see story).

The Bulldogs' title defense starts Friday night against the North Bay Battalion.

Sushko, also a 2017 fourth-round selection, is headed for his third junior season with the OHL's Owen Sound Attack. In 2017-18, the 19-year-old netted 60 points (31 goals, 29 assists) in 60 regular-season games, putting up a plus-13 rating.

The Attack play Thursday night when they take on the Barrie Colts.

Wylie, who was a fifth-round pick of the Flyers this past summer, is a former teammate of goalie prospect Carter Hart. The righty-shot blueliner will be back with the WHL's Everett Silvertips for a third year. Last season, the 18-year-old put up 31 points (six goals, 25 assists) in 72 regular-season games. Over the Silvertips' run to a WHL title game appearance, Wylie was a plus-12 in 22 playoff contests.

Everett opens the 2018-19 schedule Friday night against the Vancouver Giants.

Hughes, a camp invite, is a 19-year-old goalie who has played for the WHL's Edmonton Oil Kings and Seattle Thunderbirds over the past two seasons.

The Flyers' roster is down to 53 players and it must be trimmed to 23 by the Oct. 4 season opener.

Here are the remaining players:

Forwards (32)
Travis Konecny, RW, No. 11
Michael Raffl, RW, No. 12
Sean Couturier, C, No. 14
Jori Lehtera, C, No. 15
Wayne Simmonds, RW, No. 17
Nolan Patrick, C, No. 19
Taylor Leier, LW, No. 20
Scott Laughton, C, No. 21
Dale Weise, RW, No. 22
James van Riemsdyk, LW, No. 25
Claude Giroux, RW, No. 28
Colin McDonald, RW, No. 36
Corban Knight, C, No. 38
Tyrell Goulbourne, LW, No. 39
Jordan Weal, C, No. 40
Phil Varone, C, No. 44
Cole Bardreau, C, No. 42
Mikhail Vorobyev, C, No. 46
Danick Martel, LW, No. 48
Greg Carey, LW, No. 52
Oskar Lindblom, LW, No. 54
David Kase, RW, No. 57
Nicolas Aube-Kubel, RW, No. 62
German Rubtsov, C, No. 63
Radel Fazleev, C, No. 65
Morgan Frost, C, No. 68
Mike Vecchione, C, No. 74
Pascal Laberge, C, No. 75
Isaac Ratcliffe, LW, No. 76
Carsen Twarynski, LW, No. 81
Connor Bunnaman, C, No. 82
Jakub Voracek, RW, No. 93

Defensemen (16)
Radko Gudas, No. 3
Travis Sanheim, No. 6
Robert Hagg, No. 8
Ivan Provorov, No. 9
Christian Folin, No. 26
T.J. Brennan, No. 43
Andrew MacDonald, No. 47
Shayne Gostisbehere, No. 53
Zach Palmquist, No. 58
Mark Friedman, No. 59
Reece Willcox, No. 60
Philippe Myers, No. 61
Yegor Zamula, No. 70
David Drake, No. 72
Frank Hora, No. 73
James de Haas, No. 77

Goaltenders (5)
Michal Neuvirth, No. 30
Alex Lyon, No. 34
Brian Elliott, No. 37
Anthony Stolarz, No. 41
Carter Hart, No. 79

More on the Flyers

End to End: Flyers' most under-the-radar prospects

End to End: Flyers' most under-the-radar prospects

This week, Sporting News ranked the farm systems of all 31 NHL teams.

The Flyers, impressively, came in at No. 2, as general manager Ron Hextall has tirelessly restocked the franchise's prospect pool.

In light of the rankings, we'll take a look at some of the Flyers' prospects the next few days.

Going End to End today are NBC Sports Philadelphia's John Boruk, Tom Dougherty and Jordan Hall.

The topic: The three most under-the-radar prospects in the system.

Boruk

1. Mikhail Vorobyev
The 21-year-old center and Flyers' fourth-round pick has progressed nicely in the three years since he was drafted. However, he started raising eyebrows during last year's training camp and preseason, and it will be intriguing to see where Vorobyev is at next month. His playmaking ability, vision and awareness are his greatest strengths, and clearly Vorobyev looked as if he had the all-around game necessary to play in the NHL. He needs another season with the Phantoms before we can consider a jump to the NHL. 

2. Connor Bunnaman
There’s not much about Bunnaman’s game that really jumps out and grabs your attention, but he’s the type of player and personality that makes an NHL locker room better. The Flyers' fourth-round selection in 2016 captained the Kitchener Rangers to a deep run in the OHL playoffs before losing to Morgan Frost and Sault Ste. Marie in double overtime of Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals. Bunnaman has the frame to transition to wing coupled with a strong net-front presence. He wasn’t a prolific scorer in four years with Kitchener, so a role as a bottom-six forward could be his ticket to the NHL.

3. Reece Willcox
If you recall last season, there was a stretch of games in November when the Flyers were so decimated by injuries on the blue line they had to call up Will O’Neill from Lehigh Valley just to have six healthy bodies on defense. It was an unusual situation and one you don’t expect to repeat itself, but in a similar event, I can see Willcox earning a potential call-up. He just signed a two-year extension and the right-handed defenseman, 24, now has two full seasons with the Phantoms under his belt after four years at Cornell. If the Flyers are pressed for a last-minute replacement, Willcox is a veteran presence who can handle the responsibilities.

Dougherty

1. Tanner Laczynski
The 2016 sixth-round pick has turned heads at Ohio State and was in the Hobey Baker conversation last season. Perhaps he's not so much "under the radar." He's on it now. That could turn into a problem when trying to sign him, but it appears like Laczynski could be on his way from a late-round pick to a legitimate NHL prospect.

2. Wyatt Kalynuk
Another late-round draft pick with a chance to turn into something. Kalynuk had a breakout campaign at Wisconsin in his freshman season. Given his situation at Wisconsin — the coaching staff, etc. — I think Kalynuk has a very real chance at developing into an NHL defenseman some day.

3. Mark Friedman
I don't think Friedman has a high NHL ceiling. Probably projects as a sixth/seventh defenseman. But I always liked his game, his skating and the fact that he's a righty. Had a pretty strong college career at Bowling Green. Seemed to get it as his first professional campaign progressed. I wouldn't put high expectations on him, but a quality depth defenseman is fair.

Hall

1. Noah Cates
The 19-year-old is a skilled winger with nice size (6-1/180) and some razzle-dazzle to his game. He was taken in the fifth round of the 2017 draft at 165 pounds out of Stillwater High School, so not much was made of the pick. People are starting to know his name, though. He competed in the World Junior Summer Showcase and is headed to the national champs this upcoming season.

2. Maksim Sushko
The Belarusian plays with speed and a pursuit of the puck. His 2017-18 featured a four-goal game with the Owen Sound Attack in the OHL, where he put 60 points (31 goals, 29 assists) and a plus-13 rating in 60 regular-season contests. The 2017 fourth-round pick also had a strong World Junior Championships. Other wingers in the Flyers' system have garnered a bit more attention, but keep an eye on Sushko.

3. James De Haas
De Haas did not come to the Flyers' organization with a lot of hype. He was signed by AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley last summer. The 24-year-old is a 6-foot-4 defenseman who had an impressive development camp this summer and drew high praise from Hextall. "He's a big, strong, mature guy out there," the general manager said. "His leadership in some of the days, in some of the activities we had, was off the charts. It's kind of one of the things we look at. The steps he's taken the last 12 months, you go, 'Whoa.'"

More on the Flyers

Hextall's take on Flyers prospects at World Junior Championships

flyers-zack-hill-ron-hextall-ap-carter-hart.jpg
Zack Hill, Flyers/AP Images

Hextall's take on Flyers prospects at World Junior Championships

Flyers general manager Ron Hextall returned earlier this week from the World Junior Championships in Buffalo, New York, where he watched 14 games over a four-day period.

Here was his assessment Thursday of the four Flyers prospects at the tournament:

Carter Hart, goalie, Team Canada (2016, second round, 48th overall)
"I saw Carter once. He was good. It was the game after the USA game (an 8-0 win over Denmark). He didn’t have a lot of work, but he was good. He had some work in the third period.”

Stats: Four games, 3-0-1, 1.96 GAA, .920 save percentage

Maksim Sushko, winger, Team Belarus (2017, fourth round, 107th overall)
"Sushko was good. He’s big player on that team. They don’t have a ton of ability, so he plays a big role, probably a bigger role than he would play with another country, but he was playing 24 to 26 minutes. Too much for a forward, but he’s a big guy, a thick guy that can skate. He’s got good sense. He was on their power play, their penalty kill. He did a lot of good things and played well. He’s not going to be that type of player at the pro level. He could be more of a two-way guy that’s not expected to score, but you hope he can chip in. He did a good job, made a name for himself. Obviously we knew him taking him in the fourth round, but he made a good impression."

Stats: Six games, two goals, six assists, eight points, minus-1

German Rubtsov, center, Team Russia (2016, first round, 22nd overall)
"Saw him twice. Ruby was good. His game is very simple most nights. Plays a good two-way game. He seems to always be the third man high, which is a coaching thing. It’s not something that we’re going to correct or it’s up to us to correct. He’s got good skill, plays a lot on the power play. He was good. I think he had two points the one game I saw."

Stats: Five games, one goal, three assists, four points, plus-4

Linus Hogberg, defenseman, Team Sweden (2016, fifth round, 139th overall)
"Hogberg didn’t play very much, five to seven minutes, but he’s got great feet. He’s got a really good stick, really understands the game. The negative would be that he played five to seven minutes. The positive would be that he’s a fifth-round pick and he’s on the Swedish world junior team and that’s a pretty good team. So, we’re happy with him. I’d love to see him play a little bit more. He had one unfortunate play where he went in front of the net and it ended up in his net, but other than that, he played well. His skill set, his skating is very good."

Stats: Six games, no goals, no assists, plus-3