Wyatt Kalynuk

Future Flyers Report: Wisconsin's Wyatt Kalynuk one of four prospects to watch in Big Ten

Future Flyers Report: Wisconsin's Wyatt Kalynuk one of four prospects to watch in Big Ten

It’s time for our weekly check-in on the Flyers’ prospects playing in the AHL, overseas and at the junior and college levels.

• The Flyers have some exciting young defensemen at the pro level. They also have some at the college and junior ranks.

Two that have received a lot of attention are Cam York and Egor Zamula. York was the Flyers' first-round pick this summer and is in his freshman year at Michigan, while Zamula is a near-point-per-game 19-year-old playing for the WHL's Calgary Hitmen.

Another defenseman to keep tabs on his Wyatt Kalynuk, who the Flyers selected in the seventh round of the 2017 draft. The junior at Wisconsin had a goal, eight shots and seven blocked shots over two games against Notre Dame last weekend.

The 16th-ranked Badgers sport exciting underclassmen with Cole Caufield (2019 top-15 pick), Alex Turcotte (2019 top-five pick) and K'Andre Miller (2018 top-25 pick).

“The goal is to win a national championship," Kalynuk said this summer at Flyers development camp.

Kalynuk is a huge piece for Wisconsin. The 22-year-old has 10 points (two goals, eight assists) through 12 games.

"Probably my biggest strength is skating," Kalynuk said. "At Wisconsin, getting bigger, stronger and faster just improves it even more.

“I would consider myself a late bloomer, but it’s not a knock on me or anybody."

Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher checked out the Badgers last season in February. Wisconsin was playing Flyers prospect Tanner Laczynski and Ohio State. With Kalynuk, Laczynski, York and Bryce Brodzinski (2019 seventh-round pick at Minnesota), the Flyers will be watching plenty of Big Ten hockey this season.

Quick hits

• Goalie Kirill Ustimenko, a 2017 third-round pick, had a 32-save shutout for the ECHL's Reading Royals in a 1-0 win last Saturday over the Wheeling Nailers. The 20-year-old has a 2.57 goals-against average in 10 games (six wins).

• Isaac Ratcliffe has missed the Phantoms' last three games with an injury. The 2017 second-round pick is transitioning to the pro level with three points (one goal, two assists) in 12 games.

• Noah Cates scored his team-leading fifth goal in Minnesota Duluth's 3-2 win Saturday over Miami (Ohio). The 2017 fifth-round pick is a sophomore on the country's ninth-ranked team.

"We talk about him every day and we can't stop bragging about him," Flyers player development coach Kjell Samuelsson said this summer.

• Jay O'Brien, a 2018 first-round pick, is second in the BCHL with 40 points (15 goals, 25 assists) through 26 games for the Penticton Vees.

• Wyatte Wylie, another defenseman to watch, is a point-per-game player right now with five goals and 14 assists in 19 contests for the WHL's Everett Silvertips.


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

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

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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