VOORHEES, N.J. – In this age of high-tech video scouting, state-of-the art analytics and a geeky new look at the way hockey is played, one question is begging to be asked:
How the heck did a monster defenseman like Philippe Myers go undrafted?
Present that query and everyone in the Flyers’ brain trust just shakes their heads and looks at the floor.
Fact is, the 6-5, 209-pound native of Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada is the second-highest ranked prospect in the Flyers’ system, well ahead of players taken in previous high rounds of the draft.
That aside, Myers isn’t on a “I’m-going-to-show-you’’ mission. He just wants to make it through a season in one piece – which hasn’t been the case up to now.
If he does, then there’s a good chance you’re going to see him in a Flyers’ uniform sooner than later.
He managed to get into only 50 games with the Phantoms last year but produced 21 points, with a plus-12.
Over the past few years, he’s had to battle his way past hip surgery, a concussion and a nagging groin injury.
Through it all, he’s shown plenty of resilience and no doubt that has impressed Flyers management.
“It’s huge to keep a positive attitude and not get negative on yourself,’’ he said at Flyers’ development camp at the Skate Zone. “I think that’s honestly the biggest thing. Just to stay positive and keep working hard. Keep putting the effort in for the rehab and all.’’
With another towering defenseman, former first-round draft pick Sam Morin, on the shelf until February or later due to an ACL injury, Myers’ chances of seeing action with the Flyers might be even greater.
“I’m coming to the camp with an open mind,’’ he said. “Taking as much in as I can. We have a good staff here. They really know their stuff, so I’m just going to come here with an open mind and try to learn new things. Try to push for a roster spot here in September.’’
The scouting report on Myers has a lot of positives. Great reach, reads and reacts well, plus his skating is a big plus.
Kjell Samuelsson, the defense guru who is overseeing the backliners in camp, says Myers looks completely healthy and that he “stuck out to me’’ during camp drills. He adds that Myers’ AHL experience is serving him well.
Samuelsson maintains that Myers, now 21, is pretty much over any attitude he might have had about going undrafted.
“I think he had that when he first showed up here in camp, but I think he as well as everybody else read the papers,’’ Samuelsson said. “I think he understands he’s a pretty good player. Right now, he’s just one of the other prospects.
“I don’t know how he was overlooked.’’
A healthy Myers is a formidable player.
“I think before Christmas it was a little disappointing with all the injuries and stuff but I think I progressed pretty smoothly after Christmas and the playoffs,’’ he said. “I’m pretty happy with the way the season went. By all means I’m not satisfied but I’m pretty happy in general with how it went.’’
In the Phantoms’ long playoff run to the conference finals, Myers produced seven points in 13 games.
The experience, especially registering a record 66 minutes in that crazy five-overtime game, should be helpful moving forward.
“It was huge,’’ said Myers, who wants to start the season at around 220 pounds. “It’s a different game in the playoffs. Guys finish with hits every time, every single shift. Guys are going hard. There’s a lot more pressure, too. I was happy with the way that it went.’’
Myers doesn’t lose sleep over his “undrafted’’ status. At some point, all that will be forgotten.
“I’m the same person I was undrafted,’’ he said. “I try to stay off the social media stuff. Try to just focus on myself. I know it’s not a good thing to get wrapped up in all of that stuff. I’m just trying to focus on myself and try to get better as a player.’’
I saw him at development camp the other day and last year and he looks as ready to play in the NHL as Sanheim (maybe even more so based on his size and the fact that he shoots right-handed.) His speed impresses me the most.
He will be playing for the Flyers sometime this season, even if he doesn’t make the opening roster.