Matthew Strome

Future Flyers Report: A closer look at the current Phantoms, NCAA and beyond

Future Flyers Report: A closer look at the current Phantoms, NCAA and beyond

It's that time again — our weekly Future Flyers Report has arrived checking in on the Phantoms, NCAA and beyond!

A look into the Valley

• It took 17 games since making the transition from the Hamilton Bulldogs to Lehigh Valley Phantoms, but Matthew Strome finally scored his first professional goal with the Phantoms on Nov. 29.

• That same night, Carsen Twarynski — after going three games without a point since being sent back down from the Flyers — had himself a three-point night (two goals, one assist), all coming in the second period within a 12-minute span.

Isaac Ratcliffe had his second two-point week of the season, registering a goal and an assist. Before his assist on Nov. 27, he went seven games without a point. He now has five points on the year.

• Mikhail Vorobyev is like a switch — he's on when he's with the Phantoms and off when he's up with the Flyers. It's possible he used up his last chance with the big club after underperforming time and time again, but he still finds success in Lehigh. Who knows, anything's possible. Vorobyev had two assists this past week, which brings him to nine on the season.

• I figured it’d also be fun to note that even though Morgan Frost has been up with the Flyers since Nov. 18, he’s still tied for fourth in points with the Phantoms on the season.

• There were a lot of expectations for Nicolas Aube-Kubel heading into the season. With new faces in the organization, he had the opportunity to come out hot and prove himself ... but he's fallen short early on. While he did tack on an assist Nov. 29, he finds himself with only seven points in 22 games.

• And while this isn’t a note on a prospect, Saturday’s win brought head coach Scott Gordon to 375 career wins, moving into eighth place for wins by a coach in AHL history!

The college kids are kicking it up a notch

• Still trying to decide what was better this weekend — Cam York’s power play goal or his celly afterwards. Even though he did score, Michigan wound up falling short on Nov. 30 in a loss to Wisconsin.

• Now, switching gears from York and Michigan’s loss, prospect Wyatt Kalynuk wound up scoring the tying goal late in the second period. He now has three goals on the season.

• Ohio State had a successful two-game sweep against Michigan State this weekend. On the back end of the weekend, Tanner Laczynski scored in the first period to give his team the lead. Zero hesitation and puck placement make this one heck of a goal.

• Bobby Brink and the Denver Pioneers had the weekend off but hopefully that won’t hinder the fact that he’s starting to heat up. After going five games without a point, he registered four last weekend (two goals, two assists) in two games. Let’s hope he can keep that rolling when he and the Pioneers face Arizona State in a few days.

A little deeper into the pipeline

• Egor Zamula cooled off a bit this weekend after having five points in the previous. Still, he tallied two points, both assists in Calgary’s 4-1 win on Nov. 29. Not only are the Hitmen dominating their division, Zamula ranks second among all defensemen in assists with 19 and fifth overall in plus-minus.

• Week after week Jay O’Brien continues to impress in the BCHL. With a two-assist night Nov. 30, O’Brien ranks second in the league in points with 45. He and the Penticton Vees going 2-1 on the week, they now have 47 points on the season and are sitting comfortably at the top of the Interior division by five points.

• Everett’s Wyatte Wylie had a rare weekend in which he didn’t register a single point. This is only the second time this season in which he has gone two games in a row without getting on the board.

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A farewell to the Hamilton Bulldogs, a transition to Lehigh Valley Phantoms and work on his skating all on Flyers prospect Matthew Strome's mind

A farewell to the Hamilton Bulldogs, a transition to Lehigh Valley Phantoms and work on his skating all on Flyers prospect Matthew Strome's mind

Matthew Strome has remained one of the most talked-about Flyers prospects since being drafted back in 2017. Being the third and final Strome brother to be drafted by an NHL team, all eyes have been on him with high anticipation for his professional debut.

His brothers Ryan (drafted fifth overall in 2011) and Dylan (drafted third overall in 2015) have been a huge help when it comes to questions, confidence — just about anything.

The youngest Strome was projected to go late in the first round during his draft year but wound up falling to the fourth and being selected 106th overall. This was his time to make a name for himself — and to show just what kind of damage he is capable of doing.

That's a wrap with the Bulldogs

In his fourth and final season in the OHL with the Hamilton Bulldogs, Strome certainly went out on a great note. His career high of 79 points (28 goals, 51 assists) was second best for the team. Those 51 assists also put him in the top 20 in the OHL (the only other Flyers prospect to make the top 20 was Morgan Frost, who led the entire league with 72 assists).

While it’s always the goal to go all the way in the playoffs, Hamilton's run ended abruptly after being swept in the first round by the top-seeded Ottawa 67’s.   

Strome took on a leadership role with his young and developing team, which meant a great deal to him — being able to have an impact on his teammates.

“I was comfortable there,” Strome said while at Flyers development camp. “I knew I wanted to play there when I started in the league and I wanted to finish there.”

A taste of the Valley

Strome was eligible to join the Phantoms following his time in the OHL. He was with the Flyers’ AHL affiliate team for its final seven games of the season, though he only dressed for six of them.

Getting used to the city and the rink — it was a big thing for me,” Strome said. “I’m just going to use that when I get there. It’s not going to be new for me since I’ve already had an experience there and I think that’ll help me a lot.

Though he tallied only two assists during the short stint, he also had the lone shootout goal that led the team to its final win of the season.

Making strides

Strome had an overall solid showing at development camp.

What he lacks in skating, he makes up for in physicality. Through the three development camps he's attended and his time in the OHL, he has grown in all aspects of his game. 

Strome has the ability to be lethal in front of the net. The combination of a quick release and accuracy of his shot should be a strong addition for the Phantoms.

In addition to his shooting ability, his size (6-foot-4/205 pounds) helps him with the physical side of his game. His ability to distance himself to get a shot off is only going to improve as his skating does as well.

What's next?

Strome is focusing on strengthening the one kryptonite of his game — skating. He will be taking the ice two to three times a week with Canadian Olympic figure skating icon Barbara Underhill. Underhill has worked with both NHL teams and privately with some of the league's top players, including John Tavares, Auston Matthews, Brayden Point and Brian Boyle to help improve their skating.

Knowing that this is the main area of improvement he needs to focus on while also seeking help to do so indicates Strome's strong sense of maturity at 20 years old. He targets what he wants to fix in his game and it's important to commend that at any level of the sport.

“It's been a knock on me my whole career," he said, "and I’m just trying to change that.”

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Future Flyers Report: Mark Friedman puts himself on the map

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Future Flyers Report: Mark Friedman puts himself on the map

Hockey games begin to matter Thursday night, when the Flyers open the regular season on a quick two-game West Coast road trip beginning in Las Vegas against the Golden Knights.

Before the season begins, it’s time for our weekly check-in on the Flyers’ prospects playing in the AHL, overseas and at the junior ranks. College hockey is still a few weeks away.

• The Flyers on Sunday trimmed their roster down to 29 players, which essentially was 24 because of injuries. The final roster cut will be announced today, but Sunday’s batch was notable.

Among the cuts was Mark Friedman, who turned a lot of heads in training camp and preseason. A 2013 third-round draft pick, Friedman likely worked his way up as a potential call-up option.

Friedman was always a standout during his five development camps because of his compete level. In training camp and preseason, that competitiveness really translated well this year.

The 22-year-old played a steady game in the preseason and avoided mistakes. At times, he outplayed veterans and deserved to stick around as long as he did. He put himself on the map.

In his second professional season, Friedman will be one of the Phantoms’ top defensemen this season. He had 16 points in 65 games during his first campaign in Lehigh Valley last year.

He’s a right-handed shot who skates well and moves the puck. Against the Bruins Saturday, he made small but strong defensive plays and bailed out his partner, Philippe Myers, a few times.

If injuries start to hit the Flyers’ blue line this season, Friedman might be atop the list of in-house candidates to come up. He appears more ready to handle an NHL workload than Myers.

• After going undrafted in June, Yegor Zamula earned himself an entry-level contract with the Flyers during training camp. Calgary GM Jeff Chynoweth told NBC Sports Philadelphia last week that he was surprised Zamula went undrafted because “there's a huge upside with Yegor.”

Calgary is still searching for its first win after four games. Zamula has yet to record a point but has nine shots on net in three games with a minus-4 rating. Still, the 6-foot-3 defenseman is someone to track. The Flyers may have themselves another Myers.

Quick hits
• A pretty solid start to the season for Everett defenseman Wyatte Wylie, who has five points in four games with 14 shots on net. Wylie had a two-point game Saturday.

• Morgan Frost had a goal and an assist Friday but was pointless Saturday for the first time this season. He has five points in four games.

 Isaac Ratcliffe continued his strong start this weekend, potting three goals and five points. He had a three-point game Friday. He has three goals and five points so far this year.

• Matthew Strome picked up his first goal of the season Saturday in a two-point game, then an assist Sunday.

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