pascal laberge

Morgan Frost showing his hands, Chuck Fletcher praises Egor Zamula, more on Flyers rookie camp

Morgan Frost showing his hands, Chuck Fletcher praises Egor Zamula, more on Flyers rookie camp

VOORHEES, N.J. — The games are about to begin.

Day 4 of Flyers rookie camp wrapped up Tuesday, setting the stage for Wednesday's prospects game at PPL Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania, against the Islanders.

Let's get into our latest five observations:

1. Chill in the air

Morgan Frost will be fun to watch Wednesday night and throughout the preseason.

When the 20-year-old center has time and space, he's super dangerous. But even when he's in tight and around the net, his hands are so impressive. He's brisk, instinctual and accurate, and it will be fascinating to see how quickly those strengths translate at the pro level.

In camp, he has centered two of the Flyers' other top prospects Joel Farabee and Isaac Ratcliffe. The trio's chemistry looks natural and don't be surprised to see that line in the rookie game.

"It should be awesome," Farabee said. "Playing with some really elite guys in our group here."

2. Don't ignore Egor

When general manager Chuck Fletcher was asked if any prospect has jumped out at him during camp, he mentioned Egor Zamula.

The 6-foot-3, 172-pound defenseman continues to turn heads with his progress.

The one guy, to me, that just keeps getting better every day is Zamula. He's an impressive young man. He has another year of junior, so he's not a candidate to make our team this year in Philadelphia. But I saw him last year play junior, watched him play in training camp with the Flyers last year and he just continues to get better and better. He has a tremendous package of size, skill and skating, and as he matures and gets stronger, he's going to be a pretty impressive player.

- Fletcher

Zamula (who said there's no Y needed in his first name) was an excellent discovery by Flyers amateur scout Mark Greig (see story). The 19-year-old went undrafted last summer, was invited to 2018 Flyers training camp and earned an entry-level contract.

He is no longer a raw prospect as he skates smoothly, covers ground and possesses great reach. The lefty shot scored 56 points over 61 regular-season games in 2018-19 with the WHL's Calgary Hitmen.

"Coming in here, he looks really comfortable," AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley head coach Scott Gordon said. "Obviously it's a nice find."

3. 'The best way to evaluate players'

A rookie game is a lot different from a preseason game.

However …

"A lot of these kids are coming in, they want to make an impression and games are the best way to evaluate players," Fletcher said.

The Flyers' GM has been pleased with the showing in camp.

"It's been great for Scott to start to work with them on some of the habits and things that we want our players in Lehigh to do this year," Fletcher said.

This is a talented rookie camp considering it features seven players with a shot at winning a season-opening roster spot on the big club.

4. On the Laberge of more?

The Phantoms will be loaded with experienced and young forwards in 2019-20.

One of those forwards to keep an eye on is Pascal Laberge.

The 2016 second-round pick has battled injuries throughout his early career, but in the 15 games he did play last season with Lehigh Valley, he scored five goals.

There's some offensive potential in the 21-year-old's game. 

5. The game

Gordon, who will coach the Flyers in the rookie game, said the team will dress 19 skaters and two goalies.

The Flyers will hold a morning skate from 10-11 a.m. at Skate Zone in Voorhees, New Jersey, so we'll know more then about the lineup. 

The game is at 7 p.m. and will be broadcast on NBC Sports Philadelphia+ (no live stream).

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5 prospects that flew under the radar during Flyers development camp

5 prospects that flew under the radar during Flyers development camp

When you think of the Flyers' top prospects, the names Morgan Frost, Isaac Ratcliffe, Felix Sandstrom and Joel Farabee are often the first to come to mind.

These prospects also happened to have the most buzz around development camp that officially wrapped up June 29.

The Flyers have one of the deepest prospect pools in the league and when looking a little deeper into the system, a few other names stood out during camp and should be on everyone’s radar for the upcoming season.

Here are five prospects that have been flying under the radar. 

German Rubtsov

Since being drafted by the Flyers in 2016, Rubtsov has flown far under the radar on the list of prospects and this most recent development camp was no different.

A season-ending shoulder injury with the Phantoms cut his first year pro short after just 14 games. What we did see in that short stint of games was one of the most consistent performances from any player on the team with 10 points (six goals, four assists).

After months of rehabbing and regaining his strength, Rubtsov was ready to bring his A-game to camp in late June.

It seems like everything is coming together for the center but the biggest takeaway was watching his ability to drive play. He is capable of making those around him succeed, as well, something that shows a lot of intelligence for the 21-year-old.

If Rubtsov can get back to the level of productivity we saw less than one year ago, expect him to make a big impact with the Phantoms — so much so that he would have a solid chance at making the short list of call-ups to the Flyers during the season.

Maxim Sushko

From Day 1 of development camp, Sushko made an impact.

The right winger drafted by the Flyers in 2017 was easily one of the strongest skaters that hit the ice, often leading his group in drills to help demonstrate to the newer prospects.

Fluid motions that lead to clean stops all while having clear control of the puck will certainly make any prospect stand out.

In his most recent season with the OHL's Owen Sound Attack, Sushko registered 51 points (18 goals, 33 assists). He is eligible to play for the Phantoms next season and could be a solid upgrade as a middle-six player.

Pascal Laberge

Laberge has had a difficult track record when it comes to staying healthy. His most recent injury came prior to the start of last season with the Phantoms — a hip injury that required surgery and kept him out for the first five months of the season.

With a significantly short first professional season, he had to make his mark at camp and show everyone just why he was selected 36th overall by the Flyers in 2016. 

Selflessness brings success for the 21-year-old center.  

While there is little hesitation to his game and he isn’t afraid to simply shoot the puck, he often trusts his gut by setting others up for solid scoring chances. Even if they don’t score, he is great at anticipating where the puck will be next and often gets to it first.

If Laberge can stay healthy for the entirety of the 2019-20 season, expect a huge turnaround in his play and confidence level. It wouldn’t be a surprise if a more active leadership role is taken by him, as well, since that is a position he often held in the past. 

Kirill Ustimenko

It's no secret that the Flyers have struggled in net consistently over the past few seasons, so having depth moving forward is a crucial element for success.

Luckily for the Flyers, Ustimenko has the potential to provide just that.

Ustimenko had a very calm presence between the pipes and his skill set really showed during the 3-on-3 tournament at development camp. The rink was split in half, meaning the turnaround time for the goaltenders was next to none.

Always prepared and confident moving from post to post, Ustimenko may be developing at a faster pace than many anticipated.

After recently signing his entry-level contract on May 1, he is set to join the Phantoms this upcoming season (see story)

Alex Lyon and Sandstrom are also set to be with the Phantoms but odds are the team won't run with three goaltenders and one may find himself with the Royals in the ECHL.

Bryce Brodzinski

After Brodzinski was just barely eligible for the 2018 draft and went unselected, the Flyers saw something in him and selected him 196th overall one year later in 2019.

While having played only 19 games in the USHL with the Omaha Lancers last season, Brodzinski made sure to bring his strengths that enticed the Flyers to draft him.

One word that would be able to describe him offensively: fearless. During the 5-on-5 scrimmage, he was able to make room for himself every time he entered the offensive zone. Oftentimes he’d find an open route to the net and while he didn’t crack the scoreboard, the chances he had didn’t go unnoticed. 

If able to translate his skills to the pro level, he has the chance to be a pure shooter anywhere in the offensive zone. 

Brodzinski may be one of the newer prospects in the system but has the potential to do great things once playing for the orange and black. Next up, he is headed to the University of Minnesota in the fall to play for the Gophers. 

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End to End: Flyers prospects with most to prove in 2018-19

End to End: Flyers prospects with most to prove in 2018-19

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 prospects with most to prove in 2018-19.


1. Nicolas Aube-Kubel 
Phantoms veteran forward Chris Conner was raving to me about how talented Aube-Kubel is and his ability to make plays. Depending on the night, those skills are clearly on display. He possesses a goal scorer’s mentality, strong skating and physically he has matured in two seasons in Lehigh Valley. However, Aube-Kubel struggles with consistency and in the AHL playoffs he was hardly noticeable, failing to register a single point in 10 games. It’s time for the Flyers' 2014 second-round selection to dial up his game this season while giving the coaches a long, hard look during training camp.

2. Tyrell Goulbourne 
Goulbourne still qualifies as a prospect after that nine-game audition in January last season. If you include his brief stint with the Reading Royals in the ECHL, Goulbourne has over 200 games of minor-league experience, so the time to take the next step is now. Goulbourne is one of those spark plug-type players that can infuse some energy when he’s on the ice. We saw that when he took his first shift in his first game against the St. Louis Blues as he leveled defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, which led to the game’s first goal. The Flyers need more of that this season from the 24-year-old forward, who plays a physical yet responsible game. 

3. Carter Hart
Hart made it clear when we talked in the PPL Center press box during the AHL playoffs that his goal is to make the Flyers this season — as a 20-year-old rookie. Lofty expectations for the top goaltender selected in the 2016 draft, but he’s set the bar high as he approaches his first year of professional hockey and has cited Carey Price as a career path he’d like to follow. So entering his first training camp with the Flyers, Hart has something to prove even if he doesn’t make the big club to start the season, and after talking to him recently, I think he’d appreciate being on this list.   


1. Pascal Laberge
There have been some speed bumps along the way in his young hockey career and for that, he deserves a pass. But it's safe to say this is an extremely important season for Laberge. He started to put together some consistency last season when he was traded to Quebec. Now he'll be with the Phantoms full-time. He has a chip on his shoulder and he needs to use it.

2. Philippe Myers
For Myers, it's not so much on the ice; it's more about whether he can stay on it. Myers is a top-level prospect with a bright future … as long as he can stay healthy. For me, that's the only thing preventing Myers from receiving serious NHL consideration now.

3. German Rubtsov
It seems as if many outside the Flyers' organization have soured on the former first-round pick, but Hextall appears high on Rubtsov. Rubtsov needs to show more aggressiveness in the offensive zone as he heads to the AHL. He's a smart player but a little too conservative offensively. He needs to prove he has another level in the O-zone.


1. Felix Sandstrom
The Flyers are loaded with goalie prospects and Sandstrom is coming off a difficult 2017-18 season plagued by an illness. Hextall and the Flyers are still high on the 2015 third-round pick, but this SHL season will be important for the Swede to show his ability again.

2. Mike Vecchione
Vecchione is a hard-working, well-polished forward who had a productive first season with AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley, scoring 40 points (17 goals, 23 assists) in 65 regular-season games. Some seem to overlook Vecchione when it comes to the Flyers' third-line center job. He'll have a chance to change that.

3. Isaac Ratcliffe
Ratcliffe is a 6-foot-6 winger with skill and touch, unique for a player his size. He scored 41 goals for the OHL's Guelph Storm in 2017-18. The 19-year-old's name is gaining buzz and Ratcliffe is eager to prove his strength can hold up against NHLers. He's set for another junior season but could be a quick riser to the Flyers.

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