2021 TSP: Philadelphia Flyers Prospects

2021 Philadelphia Flyers Prospects

Welcome to the 2021 Top Shelf Prospects series. As we go through the Summer of 2021 LWOH will be featuring a team-by-team look at the top prospects in the NHL. You can find all the articles here.  Since we had an extensive NHL Draft preview, we will not be reviewing the players who were drafted in the 2021 draft, as there have been no games since then, and our reports on them will not have changed. Today, we look at the 2021 Philadelphia Flyers Prospects.

What we will be doing is linking you to those articles, as well as taking a look at prospects that were acquired before this year’s draft; their progress, and their chances of making the 2021-22 roster of the NHL team in question. We will also bring you one sleeper pick – a player who was either drafted in the 4th-round or later, or was an undrafted free agent signing who we pick as our dark horse to make the NHL. For those wondering, the cut-off for what is or isn’t a prospect is typically about 50 NHL games played (including playoff games) or is 25 years old. These are not hard or fast rules though, and we may make some exceptions depending on the circumstances.

2021 Philadelphia Flyers Prospects

Flyers Off-Season

After missing the playoffs in 2021, the Flyers were determined to improve the roster and ensure that doesn’t happen again. They made a number of moves, acquiring defencemen Ryan Ellis, Rasmus Ristolainen, and Keith Yandle. Upfront, they moved out long-time Flyer Jakub Voracek, trading him to Columbus for Cam Atkinson. The Flyers also added veteran centres Derick Brassard and Nate Thompson. In goal, backup Brian Elliott left as a free agent. He is replaced by former San Jose Sharks starting goalie Martin Jones.

2021 NHL Draft Picks:  Samu Tuomaala, Aleksei Kolosov, Brian Zanetti, Ty Murchison, Ethan Samson, Owen McLaughlin
Graduations: Samuel Morin (age), Carsen Twarynski (expansion)

 

Top Philadelphia Flyers Prospect: Cam York

Defence — shoots Left
Born May 1st, 2001 — Anaheim Hills, California
Height 5’11” — Weight 174 lbs [180 cm / 79 kg]
Drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers in the 1st round, #14 overall, at the 2019 NHL Draft

York finished up his career at the University of Michigan with an impressive sophomore season. He put up four goals and 20 points in 24 games before signing his first pro contract. York also helped Team USA to the World Junior Gold, putting up six points in seven games. After signing, York played three games with the Flyers. He also had eight games with Lehigh Valley, putting up two goals and five points in the AHL.

Skating

York is a very good skater. He has good but not great speed and acceleration in both directions. However, it is his outstanding edgework, agility, and pivots that really set him apart. York’s footwork allows him to maintain good gap control in the defensive end. It also allows him to make quick movements in the offensive zone, helping him get open to receive a pass when he does not have the puck or to create a shooting or passing lane with it. It is this strong skating ability that gives York the ability to play a strong two-way game. He is also strong on his skates. York has good balance, helping him to battle in front of the net and on the boards. As he matures physically, this should continue to improve.

Offensive Game

York’s biggest asset is his hockey sense. He usually makes smart decisions both with and without the puck. York joins the rush and pinches at the right times. He also makes the right breakout pass and can skate the puck out of danger when necessary. This allows him to create offence while still maintaining his defensive responsibilities. York has excellent vision and the passing skills to quarterback the power play. He can put the puck through tight spaces and can set up teammates on both his forehand and backhand. He sees and anticipates the movements his teammates will make.

York also has a hard shot but needs to get better at getting it through shooting lanes and on the net. While his skating gives him the ability to create those shooting lanes, he sometimes rushes to get a shot off and does not always take advantage of his abilities. Being a little more patient would help him here. York likes to sneak down from the point and use his wrist shot from the top of the faceoff circles. With the quicker release, he is more effective with his wrister. By getting his shot off faster he avoids shot blocks and also fools goaltenders.

Defensive Game

York’s strong skating ability allows him to maintain gap control, and to keep opponents to the outside, playing a strong defensive game. His quick stick poke checks opponents and creates turnovers. He also reads the play well and his positioning is strong. His ability to move the puck up the ice quickly helps to clear the zone and minimize the opponent’s zone time. York could stand to play a bit more physically involved though.

Projection and Comparison

York could develop into a top pairing defender with the ability to move the puck up the ice, create offence from the back end, and quarterback the power play. Some time in the AHL may be valuable though. York will get the opportunity to play over 20 minutes a game and be used in all situations, something that is unlikely to happen on the rebuilt Flyers blueline. However, this will likely not be a long AHL stint, he could be up if injuries occur and be a full-timer before the end of the year. If not, 2022-23 is definitely his time.

 

#2 Prospect: Morgan Frost

Center — shoots Left
Born May 14th, 1999 — Aurora, Ontario
Height 5’11”– Weight 185 lbs [180 cm/84 kg]
Drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers in the 1st round, #27 overall, at the 2017 NHL Draft.

Frost made the Flyers out of training camp and appeared poised to make an impact. Unfortunately, he suffered a dislocated shoulder in the second game of the season and needed season-ending surgery. It was a lost year of development for the 22-year-old.

Skating

Frost is a very good skater. He has good top-end speed as well as very good acceleration. His first step is excellent. Frost beats other skaters to loose pucks in the offensive and neutral zones. He can also beat defenders to the outside and cut to the net. Frost’s lateral agility and edgework are also very good. If Frost catches a defender flat-footed, he can cut extremely quickly and attack the open lane created. He has gotten stronger in his lower body and improved his balance. Frost is also stronger on the puck. He can continue to improve these areas before he heads to the pros though.

Offensive Game

Frost uses his speed, quickness, and agility to really challenge defenders in one-on-one situations. He is extremely hard to contain off the rush, as he can use his skating to create openings. Frost also recognizes that if a defender is playing a little bit too far off of him; he can slow up. This creates both passing and shooting lanes which he can take advantage of. He sees the ice extremely well and anticipates the movements of his linemates. As such, he makes smart plays with the puck and sets them up for scoring chances. He can also create in the offensive zone, especially on the power play where he is able to quarterback the play from the point.

While Frost is more of a playmaker than a goal scorer, he has the soft hands and quick reflexes to finish plays in close to the net. He also has a good accuracy as well as a quick release and can score from the slot. Frost really improved his wrist shot and slap shot over the last couple of seasons. By getting stronger, he has added power to his shot.

Defensive Game

Frost uses his speed to be a menace on the penalty kill. His ability to read plays and pressure the puck allows him to play a strong game in his own end of the rink at the junior and AHL levels. He hasn’t really been given this type of responsibility at the NHL level yet, but may get there as he continues to develop. When a turnover is created, Frost transitions quickly from defence to offence. Frost is willing to support defenders down low and has gotten stronger over the years. It remains to be seen though if it is enough to contain bigger forwards on the cycle. He is also good in the face-off circle.

Outlook

After making the Flyers out of training camp last year, Frost will look to do the same this year. Now, 22-years-old his time to make an impact in the NHL is here. With the turnover in the Flyers lineup, there will be a spot available to him if he earns it in camp.

 

#3 Prospect Tyson Foerester

Right Wing/Centre — shoots Right
Born January 18th, 2002 — Alliston, Ontario
Height 6’2″ — Weight 194 lbs [188 cm/88 kg]
Drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers in the 1st round, #23 overall, at the 2020 NHL Draft

With the OHL season never getting started, Foerster went to the AHL last season. He was very impressive as a teenager with 10 goals and 17 points in 24 games.

Skating

Foerster has some good aspects to his skating but needs to work on his speed and explosiveness. His top-end speed allows him to keep up with the play, but he would be even more dangerous if he had another gear. Foerster could also be a little quicker with his first step and his acceleration. He is strong on his skates though. It is tough to knock him off the puck and he uses his body to protect the puck in the cycle game. This area of his game will improve as he gets stronger. Foerster is also good on his edges and has excellent agility. This allows him to slip away from defenders both with and without the puck.

Offensive Game

Foerster is a pure sniper. He has a tremendous arsenal of shots. He likes to get into the left circle on the power play, where he can wait for a teammate to set him up. Once the puck gets to him, he can unleash a tremendous one-timer. His wrist shot and release are also amongst the best in the draft. The shot is powerful and the release is lightning quick. He can pick corners with ease. Foerster also has a good snapshot and can score with his backhand as well. He has a knack for finding the soft spot in the defence when he does not have the puck. This allows him to prepare for the shot.

Foerster is also a capable passer and puck handler. He can control the puck down low and can make quick moves on a defender to open up space to make a pass or get his shot off. His vision and passing skills are also good, as Foerster can find an open-teammate and hit them with a tape-to-tape pass to set up a scoring chance. He reads the play well and can anticipate where his teammates are headed. While Foerster is not a big hitter, he does do a good job of chasing down loose pucks and pressuring defencemen with the puck on the forecheck, helping his team to regain possession and creating scoring chances.

Defensive Game

Foerster is also a good defensive player. He supports against the transition game with effective backpressure and by being in the right position. His active stick cuts down passing lanes and can intercept passes, leading to turnovers and transition offence. Foerster uses his hockey IQ and ability to read the play in the defensive zone, as he is rarely out of position. He is committed to helping the defence down low when needed and has the size to help contain the opponent’s cycle game.

Outlook

Foerster projects as more of a winger than a centre going forward. His excellent shot and release can be deadly, especially on the power play. He could grow to be an effective winger at even-strength at the pro level as well. His game has a maturity to it already and his willingness to work hard is something coaches will love. The vast improvement in his game over the last two years also suggest that he is highly coachable. With 24 AHL games played last year, and with his impressive results, I would expect to see him back in Lehigh Valley, as he is ready for that level of competition. He’s likely a year or two away from challenging for an NHL spot.

 

#4 Prospect Wade Allison

Right Wing — shoots Right
Born October 14th, 1997 — Roland, Manitoba
Height 6’2″ — Weight 205 lbs [188 cm / 93 kg]
Drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2nd round, #52 overall at the 2016 NHL Draft

Alfter spending four years at Western Michigan, Allison finally made his pro debut last season. He was extremely impressive at both the AHL and NHL levels. He put up four goals and nine points in 10 games in the AHL, while also adding four goals and seven points in 14 games in the NHL.

Skating

Allison’s skating shows some good areas, as well as some areas he can continue to work on. After a knee injury in 2019, it has taken some time to recover, but is getting there. He has improved his speed and acceleration, as well as his first step. There is still some improvement possible with a good skating coach though. His agility and edgework are also a bit of a weakness. With quicker footwork he could be an even better offensive player, getting around defenders; and a better defender, keeping opponents in front of him. Allison is strong on the puck though and has good power and balance. He has the ability to fight through checks and get to the net.

Offensive Game

Allison plays a simple game, but a highly physical and highly effective one. He is a budding power forward, willing to throw hits on the forecheck, get involved in battles along the boards, and go to the front of the net. Strong and powerful, Allison uses his well-developed frame to dominate against his peers. As he has gotten stronger, he has shown that his game translates well at the pro level. That said, there is still room for even more improvement which will only help him. Allison has a strong and powerful wrist shot which he gets off with a quick release. He also finds openings to set himself up for a powerful one-timer. Allison scores goals in close to the net with quick hands and the ability to bury rebounds and get tip-ins.

Allison’s assists come from digging pucks out of the corners and getting them to teammates. However, he has shown improvements in both his passing and stickhandling. Allison now puts passes through tight areas and on a linemates tape. He can also open up bigger passing lanes with his quick changes of direction. He protects the puck with his size in the cycle game. While he can make a move on a defender, Allison is more likely to go through a defender, than try to go around him.

Defensive Game

Allison’s defensive game is also a bit of a work in progress. He works hard and is willing to battle in all three zones. Allison needs work on his positioning and can be beaten one-on-one due to his lack of footspeed and lateral agility. There are some things that can be helped with good coaching as well as continued improvements in his skating. Allison played centre earlier in his career but has settled in as a winger at this point. This is best as he will have less responsibility in his own end, and less of a requirement to come back as deep to support the defence.

Outlook

Allison looks ready for the NHL at this point. He will also have his 24th birthday early in the new campaign. He is ready to take on a bottom-six role in Philadelphia and could move up the lineup as he gains experience at the NHL level.

 

#5 Prospect: Yegor Zamula

Left Defence — shoots Left
Born March 30th, 2000 — Chelyabinsk, Russia
Height 6’3″ — Weight 177 lbs [191 cm / 80 kg]
Signed by the Philadelphia Flyers as an undrafted free agent, September 2018.

After fracturing a vertebra in early 2020, Zamula recovered in time to play his first pro season this past year. He put up six assists in 25 games with Lehigh Valley and was even given a two-game audition with the Flyers.

Skating

Concerns about skating were the major reason why Zamula went undrafted in 2018. He has greatly improved over the last three years, but there is still some room to grow. His stride is smooth and powerful and this gives him decent speed in both directions. If he can add some muscle in his lower body he can be even faster. Zamula has also improved his lateral mobility. This improved side-to-side movement allows him to walk the line and open passing and shooting lanes. However, he still has problems with lateral movement when facing particularly quick forwards. He is still a bit weak on the boards and in front of the net for his size. This is another area that can greatly improve as he adds muscle.

Offensive Game

Zamula is an excellent passer. This shows in his ability to start the transition game with a strong first pass. He can put the puck on the tape of a forward moving out of the zone and start the rush. Zamula can also hit a long breakaway pass, finding a forward getting behind the opponent’s defence. He also makes good passes in the offensive zone. With quick hands and his lateral movement, he can open up passing lanes and set up a teammate. He also has very good vision, finding those open teammates.

Zamula has a good point shot. His slap shot and one-timer show excellent power. Zamula also does a good job of adjusting to a pass if it isn’t quite perfect and still getting it off. He understands to keep the shot low and let his teammates get rebounds and deflections. Zamula has shown strong stickhandling as well. This allows him to skate the puck through the neutral zone and create off the rush and generate effective zone entries.

Defensive Game

Zamula’s long stick helps him to poke check opponents and break-up passes. He is very good at anticipating the play and creating turnovers. He is also strong positionally, keeping himself between his man and the front of the net. Zamula can stand to be a bit more physical though. He will win more battles in the corners and in front of the net if he adds that muscle to his frame. Zamula can also continue to work on his lateral agility in order to maintain better gap control and stay with quicker attackers.

Outlook

Signing Zamula during their 2018 Training Camp has turned out to be an absolute steal for the Flyers. The Russian defender has shown great improvement over the last three years, with Calgary in the WHL and with Lehigh Valley. As he continues to get more confidence in his body following the 2020 back surgery, he is becoming more confident and effective. Zamula needs a bit more work though and another season in the AHL is likely.

 

#6 Prospect: Samu Tuomaala

The Flyers drafted Tuomaala with the 46th overall pick in this year’s NHL Draft. Prior to the draft, we did an in-depth scouting report on Tuomaala. As no games have been played since that report; we will not repeat it. You can check out the report here.

 

#7 Prospect: Bobby Brink

Right Wing — shoots Right
Born July 8th, 2001 — Excelsior, Minnesota
Height 5’10” — Weight 163 lbs [178 cm/74 kg]
Drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2nd Round, #34 Overall, at the 2019 NHL Draft.

Brink put up two goals and six points in seven games for Team USA at the World Juniors, helping the team bring home a gold medal. However, he was not able to follow up his excellent freshman season in his sophomore campaign at the University of Denver. In 15 games Brink put up just two goals and 11 points.

Skating

Brink’s skating is good but there is still room for improvement in a number of key areas. His speed is slightly above average but he is by no means a speedster. While he can keep up with the play, there is little to set him apart from his peers at top speed. However, Brink has excellent acceleration. His first few steps are explosive and he can use those to get away from a defender or to win short races for loose pucks. He also changes speeds on the rush, which can be used to fool a defender.

Brink has good footwork and agility, allowing him to weave in and out of traffic and around defenders. He can make a cut on a dime. Brink has a low centre of gravity. This gives him good balance and allows him to be strong on the puck. He gets to the dirty areas of the ice and is able to fight through tight checking. However, Brink will need to continue to improve his core strength in order to win battles on the boards and in front of the net as he moves to the college level and eventually the pros.

Offensive Game

Brink is a sniper. He has a fantastic wrist shot and a lightning-quick release. It shows great power and is also deadly accurate. Brink has the soft hands to score in tight to the goal as well, with the hand-eye coordination to get deflections and pounce on rebounds. He is not afraid to battle for his position in front of the net. His slap shot and one-timer are also very good but he does not use them often, preferring to make use of his wrist shot. Brink shows a knack for getting himself open without the puck in order to take a pass and get that shot off.

While he is known for his goal-scoring, Brink also shows the ability to make plays. His stickhandling is good and he generates clean zone entries by carrying the puck through the neutral zone. He also can make plays in the cycle game. Brink has good vision and passing skills. He can set up teammates for quality scoring chances on both the rush and cycle.

Defensive Game

Brink works hard in the defensive end. He provides effective back pressure and supports his defence down low. He is good at reading and anticipating plays. Brink has strong positioning, cutting off passing lanes and creating turnovers. Once those turnovers are created, Brink is able to transition them into offence quickly. He is willing to get his nose dirty in the defensive zone and will battle for loose pucks. He also is willing to take a hit to make a play.

Outlook

Brink could develop into a top-six forward at the NHL level if he can reach his ceiling. It will take some time and given his lack of size, he will need to continue to add strength. Brink will be looking to take a big jump in production with the University of Denver in his third college season. He could sign with the Flyers in the spring and get into the AHL.

 

#8 Prospect: Zayde Wisdom

Right Wing — shoots Right
Born July 7th, 2002 — Toronto, Ontario
Height 5’11” — Weight 195 lbs [180 cm/88 kg]
Drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers in the 4th Round, #94 Overall, in the 2020 NHL Draft.

With the OHL season never starting, Wisdom played the season for Lehigh Valley. He put up seven goals and 11 assists for 18 points in 28 games.

Skating

Wisdom is a little undersized but makes up for it with his skating. He is a high-energy player who never stops moving his feet. He has very good top-end speed but could stand to work on his first few steps and his acceleration. Wisdom avoids defenders both with and without the puck thanks to his good lateral agility and edgework. He has good crossovers and accelerates out of his turns. Wisdom also has good lower-body strength. This helps Wisdom to fight through checks and he is tough to knock off the puck. He wins his battles along the boards and in front of the net.

Offensive Game

Wisdom does the dirty work on his line, getting in quickly on the forecheck, grinding for loose pucks in the corners and creating havoc in front of the net. He is an extremely hard worker, who chases the puck down, forces opponents into mistakes and creates chances. Wisdom brings his own offensive skills as well. He is a very good puck handler and is able to lead the rush through the neutral zone and produce effective zone entries. He keeps his head up and had good vision. Wisdom is a good passer, making a quick move to open up a passing lane and setting up a teammate for a scoring chance.

Wisdom can also score goals. He has good hand-eye coordination and quick hands. Wisdom uses these in front of the net to tip in teammates’ shots, pounce on rebounds and to one time passes to the back of the net. His soft hands also allow him to beat goalies in tight. He has an accurate wrist shot and gets good power on it from further out. He has improved his release, as it is much quicker than it was as a rookie, but could stand to improve a little more though. Wisdom has a knack for getting open without the puck. When he gives it up, he keeps his feet moving to find open ice and put himself in a position to take a pass from his teammates. Once he gets the puck, he fires it on the net quickly.

Defensive Game

Wisdom brings his intense work ethic to his own zone as well. He keeps his feet moving and is willing to support the defence with strong backpressure against the rush as well as plenty of support against the cycle game. He is willing to battle down low. Wisdom also helps to clear the front of the net. He is a smart player who puts himself in good positions. Wisdom uses his stick to cut down passing lanes. He is also able to create turnovers with a poke check. Once those turnovers are created, he is able to transition the puck up the ice quickly as well. Wisdom is also effective on the penalty kill.

Outlook

Wisdom still needs more development time. The Flyers will have the option to send him to the AHL or OHL next season based on how many games he played this year. If Wisdom is going to get top-six minutes, he should stay in the AHL, if not a year dominating the OHL would not hurt him.

 

#9 Prospect: Emil Andrae

Defence — shoots Left
Born February 23rd, 2002 — Västervik, Sweden
Height 5’9″ — Weight 181 lbs [175 cm / 82 kg]
Drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2nd Round, #54 Overall, at the 2020 NHL Draft.

Andrae played 31 games with HV71 in the SHL putting up 11 points. He was also loaned to Vasterviks in the Allsvenskan where he put up three goals and three assists for six points in 15 games. Andrae also played for Sweden at the World Juniors.

Skating

Andrae makes up for his lack of size with excellent mobility. He is an extremely fast skater in both directions. Andrae is explosive, with a good first step and excellent acceleration as well, allowing him to reach that top speed even quicker. However, it is his edgework and agility that is even better. He is able to manoeuvre through traffic both with and without the puck. Andrae’s pivots are extremely smooth. He can transition quickly from offence to defence and vice-versa. Andrae is very graceful. At times it appears that he is floating above the ice. Andrae will need to get stronger though. This will help his balance and help him to be stronger on the puck. His low centre of gravity is an advantage, but more core strength will help him adjust to the North American game.

Offensive Game

Andrae is willing to rush the puck up the ice and create plays. He is also willing to join the rush without the puck. Andrae has the stickhandling skills to compliment his skating ability. He is extremely creative and can make defenders look silly at times. He also has the passing skills to quarterback the powerplay from the point. Poised with the puck on his stick, Andrae moves well laterally, walking the line to open up shooting and passing lanes. His vision is very good, and he reads the play extremely well. Andrae can make a pass through a tight passing lane to set up a teammate for a scoring chance.

Andrae has a decent slap shot but prefers to sneak in from the point and use his wrist shot or snapshot instead. This is very effective as his wrist shot has good power. It also features a quick and deceptive release that gives goaltenders issues at times. Andrae keeps his shots low, helping them to get through traffic and giving teammates a chance at tip-ins and rebounds.

Defensive Game

Despite his size, Andrae is willing to throw hits and play a physical game in the defensive end, though there are questions how this will translate against men. He struggled at times in the SHL last year though Andrae is willing to battle in the corners and in front of the net. His ability to transition the puck up the ice quickly also helps prevent the opponent’s zone time. An active stick helps him to knock the puck away from opponents and create turnovers. He reads and anticipates the play well. Andrae sometimes gambles a bit too much in trying to push the offence though. This can leave him out of position and lead to an odd-man rush against when he gets caught up the ice.

Projection and Comparison

Andrae’s skating and offensive skills can help him to overcome the questions about his lack of size. Many smaller puck-moving defenders are succeeding in the NHL right now, and Andrae certainly fits that mould. He could become a second-pair defender with big offensive and top-unit power-play responsibilities if he is able to meet his potential. Expect him to spend next season playing in Sweden, getting time in the Allsvenskan after HV71 was relegated.

 

#10 Prospect: Jay O’Brien

Center — shoots Right
Born November 4th, 1999 — Hingham, Massachusetts
Height 6’0″ — Weight 174 lbs [183 cm/79 kg]
Drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers in the 1st Round, #19 Overall, at the 2018 NHL Draft.

After an unsuccessful start to his college career with Providence, and a “transfer year” in the BCHL, O’Brien had a better season with Boston University. He put up eight goals and 16 points in 16 games.

Skating

O’Brien is an excellent skater. He has very good top-end speed and reaches it in just a few strides. His first step is very quick and allows him to gain separation from his opponents. He can create odd-man rushes and breakaways with that speed. He also can beat defenders to the outside and get to the net. O’Brien also has very good agility and edgework. He beats defenders in one-on-one situations. He still needs to get stronger, especially in his lower body. This would make him stronger on the puck and improve his balance.

Offensive Game

O’Brien marries his excellent skating ability with good stickhandling. He is able to handle the puck at top speed and make moves on defenders. He has the skill to get by a defender, cut to the net, and the soft hands to beat the goaltender. O’Brien also has an excellent wrist shot. He can score from the top of the circles. His release is quick and is also deceptive for goaltenders. O’Brien has a knack for getting open and finding the soft spots in the defence. This allows him to get off a quick wrist shot or one-timer.

O’Brien is much more of a goal scorer than a playmaker at this point. However, he does have some decent playmaking ability. Off the rush, he uses changes in speed and quick cuts to open up passing lanes and get the puck to a linemate. He anticipates plays well and makes the smart pass. However, O’Brien doesn’t seem to be the type of passer to put the puck through really tight areas or have a lot of saucer passes. Instead, he needs to create the lane to make the play. With his skating and stickhandling, he’s been able to make that happen though.

Defensive Game

O’Brien works hard in the defensive zone. He is willing to backcheck and support the defence down low. However, playing in prep school hockey means that he hasn’t had the opportunity to work on his defensive fundamentals. Positioning and anticipation are areas that he has improved since being drafted. His two-way game really improved with Boston U.

Outlook

O’Brien is a project. He will need another year with Boston University and then a year in the AHL before he can be NHL ready. With his skating and work ethic, he can make it as a second or third line centre if he continues to improve.

 

Sleeper Prospect: Linus Hogberg

Left Defence — shoots Left
Born September 4th, 1998 — Stockholm, Sweden
Height 6’1″ — Weight 176 lbs [185 cm/80 kg]
Drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers in the 5th round, #139 overall, at the 2016 NHL Draft

Hogberg started the season in Sweden and put up two goals and 12 points in 27 games with Vita Hasten.  He also came over to North America and played 26 games with Lehigh Valley, scoring two goals and eight points in 26 games.

Skating

Hogberg is a smooth skater. He has a textbook stride, leading to good power and acceleration. His mobility is a key feature of his two-way game. He has good speed and acceleration in both directions. Hogberg also has very good lateral mobility. This allows him to maintain gap control and play an effective defensive game. He also has good edgework and pivots, allowing Hogberg to transition quickly from offence to defence and vice-versa. He could stand to add muscle to his frame though. Hogberg has some issues handling bigger power forwards and is not as physical as one would like in the corners and in front of the net.

Offensive Game

Hogberg has some offensive skill but is more willing to sit back defensively than to push the pace up the ice. He makes a good first pass out of the zone and keeps the puck moving in the offensive zone. However, he is pretty conservative, keeping the puck moving with the safe play rather than trying to be creative to create an offensive opportunity. He does a good job of moving laterally to open up passing lanes though. Hogberg also handles the puck well, allowing him to stickhandle and move the puck out of the defensive zone.

Hogberg could use some work on his shot. While he does a good job of getting it off and through traffic to the net, he lacks some power on his slap shot and one-timer. He is more effective when he sneaks down to the top of the faceoff circles and lets go of a wrist shot. The quicker release is more effective with goalies. However, he can still stand to use a bit more power as well.

Defensive Game

Hogberg has good positioning and gap control. His skating makes him tough to beat in one-on-one situations. He also does a good job of forcing attackers to the outside and into bad shooting areas. Hogberg reads the play well and uses a long and active stick to cut down passing lanes. He creates turnovers and can move the puck up the ice when he does. Hogberg is also willing to block shots. He could play more physically though. He is not one to throw big hits and could improve his ability to battle in the corners and in front of the net.

Outlook

Hogberg will likely start the season in Lehigh Valley again. He is getting close to NHL ready though as a 6th or 7th defenceman. The lack of physicality will likely always limit him, but he could carve out a journeyman type of career.

 

Other 2021 Philadelphia Flyers Prospects

The Flyers have plenty of depth in their prospect system.  Forward prospects to keep an eye on include Isaac Ratcliffe, Tanner Laczynski, Elliot Desnoyers, Matthew Strom, German Rubtsov, Connor Bunnaman, and Maxim Shusko. On the blueline, Ronnie Attard, Adam Ginning, Mason Millman, Wyatte Wylie, John St. Ivany, and Cooper Zech are worth watching. In goal, the Flyers have Samuel Ersson and Kirill Ustimenko.

 

Main Photo: EDMONTON, AB – JANUARY 05: Cam York #4 of the United States hoists the World Juniors trophy after defeating Canada during the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship gold medal game at Rogers Place on January 5, 2021 in Edmonton, Canada. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)


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