The Philadelphia Flyers were a team that failed to make the playoffs last season. Over the years, goaltending has been an issue for Philadelphia, yet Steve Mason is not at fault for the teams lack of success. The Flyers lack of puck moving defenseman and scoring wingers. In this article I will take a look at their prospects and where the Flyers are headed.
The Flyers defensive core is very mediocre. They have no big names on the back end like Doughty, Keith or Weber. Their core was composed of top 4 and top 6 defenseman who lacked in mobility.
2014-2015 defenseman: Braydon Coburn Traded to TB for Radko Gudas), Mark Streit, Michael Del Zotto, Andrew MacDonald, Luke Schenn, Nick Schultz, Nicklas Grossmann (recently traded to ARI) and Brandon Manning. Kimmo Timonen was arguably their best defenseman in 2013-2014, but he was traded to the Blackhawks before he could play one game with the Flyers in 2015.
Coburn and Streit were the ones who logged the most minutes, but that was the problem. All these defenseman should be playing top 4 or top 6 minutes. Schenn and MacDonald were often healthy scratches because of their lackluster play. The only positives on defense were Streit and Del Zotto, they could move the puck well and were offensive minded.
Over the years, Philadelphia has loaded up on defensive prospects, which is quite scary. Let’s take a look:
1. Samuel Morin: A very big defenseman who can play physically and models his game after Chris Pronger. Morin had 32 points in 38 games last year, he was also +26. For a stay-at-home defenseman like Morin, those are pretty good numbers. He will most likely play in the AHL next season.
2. Travis Sanheim: Probably a big surprise at the draft, as he was taken 17th overall. In 67 games this season, Sanheim was able to notch 65 points, including 15 goals. What is impressive about Sanheim’s statistics is only did he put those up as a defenseman, but he surpassed his career high by 36 points ! This is the type of player Philadelphia needs and I am sure all the fans are anxious to see him.
3. Robert Hagg: A little less hype for Hagg, but he was a steal in the 2nd round of the 2013 NHL draft. He can move the puck well and put up 20 points in the AHL this season. Hagg will most likely be a bottom pairing defenseman, but he definitely has the potential to become a great player.
4. Shayne Gostisbehere: He was a phenomenal player with Union College. Gostisbehere was a little bit of a surprise for most people, as he was only drafted in the 3rd round. He really stood out during the NCAA Frozen Four, he was signed to a contract shortly after and started to play in the AHL with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, where he had 5 points (5 assists) in 5 games. Unfortunately, he was injured for nearly the whole season.
5. Ivan Provorov: He was arguably the best player available at #7 overall this year. Provorov could end up being a steal for the Flyers, he had 61 points in 60 games as a defenseman, and was also a +36. Provorov will not be in the lineup come October, but many experts said he is smart defenseman with no holes in his game. He is very coachable and he has been in North America for many years. I believe he might be the best prospect for the Flyers and will surprise a lot of people in the future.
The Flyers also drafted Travis Konecny at #24 overall, most people thought this was steal. He was believed to be a top 15 pick at the draft, but some thought his previous injuries could be a concern. He is a small player, but is fearless and isn’t scared to carry the puck to the front of the net. He has very good hands and a fantastic shot. Konecny will definitely be a great addition for Philadelphia.
Scott Laughton is also in development, a two-way player who will soon have a permanent roster spot with the Flyers. Laughton was fantastic with the Generals.
I believe Ron Hextall is doing a fantastic job with the Flyers so far. He has been making smart trades and signings and is slowly turning this team around. If he could dump players like Lecavalier, Umberger and MacDonald, it would give some playing time for the youngsters. In a few years, Philadelphia should become a solid playoff team, the future is bright.
Brandon Murphy – @2murphy8