On the ice, hockey is on hold. But off it, the Flyers are busy thinking about their future.
That was evident in their recent signing of forwards Wade Allison and Tanner Laczynski, two of their top 10 prospects.
That pair is part of a talented development system which was ranked No. 8 out of 31 National Hockey League teams by The Hockey News’ recently published “Future Watch’’ edition.
The Flyers received a strong grade of B+ and it’s easy to see why.
Players such as forward Morgan Frost and defenseman Cam York look like NHL sure-shots. And defenseman Yegor Zamula could be a darkhorse along the lines of a Philippe Myers.
Recent Flyers’ drafts have produced the likes of budding stars Travis Konecny, Ivan Provorov, Travis Sanheim and Carter Hart.
The rapid progress of current prospects Frost and Joel Farabee appears to indicate the Flyers are still headed in a positive direction.
“I think the most exciting part is we have a lot of different types of players in our system,’’ says Flyers assistant GM Brent Flahr, who oversees the scouting department. “Hopefully as they continue to develop they will give us some depth, not just the Farabees and Frosts but some of the other guys as well.’’
The top 10 prospects:
>1. Morgan Frost, C, 20, 6-0, 180 pounds, Lehigh Valley Phantoms, AHL: Frost got off to a roaring start in his initial NHL trial by scoring goals in his first two games for the Flyers. But since then, he has yet to get a goal. However, he’s played well for Lehigh Valley and was named to the AHL All-Star Game. “He’s learning the pro game is not as easy as junior,’’ Flahr says. “I think he understands the AHL is going to be a bit of a grind.’’
How acquired: 2017 NHL Entry Draft, 1st round (27th overall).
>2. Cam York, D, 19, 5-11, 175 pounds, University of Michigan, Big 10: Although he’s battled some injuries the first half of the season, the Anaheim, Calif. native has established himself as an above-average defender who reads the play very well, maintains a good gap and uses his speed to create offensive opportunities. “He’s just a really intelligent player,’’ Flahr says. “Elite skater, patient with the puck. He needs to get stronger.’’
How acquired: 2019 NHL Entry Draft, 1st round (14th overall).
>3. Yegor Zamula, D, 19, 6-4, 170 pounds, Calgary Hitmen, WHL: “He (Zamula) is just a very smart player,’’ Flahr says. “He’s intelligent, can play on the power play, good shot. Improving every year.’’ Flahr notes that Zamula might have been overlooked at the draft because he was a bit underweight. “He had a great World Juniors and terrific training camp (with the Flyers),’’ Flahr says. Zamula recently underwent back surgery and the Flyers are hoping he can be back to full strength in time for the start of 2020 training camp.
How acquired: Free agent, signed Sept. 20, 2018.
>4. Isaac Ratcliffe, LW, 21, 6-6, 208 pounds, Lehigh Valley Phantoms, AHL: The London, Ont. native has put together strong showings at the last two Flyers’ training camps and his combination of size and good skating make him an attractive prospect. “There are not that many guys that big with the skill set he has along with the shot and ability to score,’’ Flahr says.
How acquired: 2017 NHL Entry Draft, 2nd round (35th overall).
>5. Wade Allison, RW, 22, 6-2, 205 pounds, Western Michigan University, NCHC: Allison plays a physical style and as a result has been banged up the last couple seasons. But it doesn’t sound like he’s going to compromise that attitude and he continues to play with an edge. It’s what makes him effective. Healthy (for now) the production is starting to pick up. It sounds like he’s fully recovered from the torn ACL sustained his first season along with lesser injuries.
How acquired: 2016 NHL Entry Draft, 2nd round (52nd overall).
>6. Bobby Brink, RW, 18, 5-8, 159 pounds, University of Denver, NCHC: Good hockey sense, strong compete level, noteworthy instincts. Needs to get stronger.
How acquired: 2019 NHL Entry Draft, 2nd round (34th overall.
>7. Tanner Laczynski, C, 22, 6-1, 190 pounds, Ohio State University, Big 10: Captain, go-to guy, can play center or wing, real leader.
How acquired: 2016 NHL Entry Draft, 6th round (169th overall).
>8. German Rubtsov, C, 21, 6-0, 203 pounds, Lehigh Valley Phantoms, AHL: Reliable on defensive side of puck; working on pace of play, offense.
How acquired: 2016 NHL Entry Draft, 1st round (22nd overall).
>9. Wyatt Kalynuk, D, 22, 6-1, 180 pounds, University of Wisconsin, Big-10: Terrific skater. Captain of team, mature, looking to improve strength.
How acquired: 2017 NHL Entry Draft, 7th round (196th overall).
>10. Jay O’Brien, C, 20, 5-11, 184 pounds, Penticton, BCHL: Bounce-back year after struggling with Providence College. Finding the net again.
How acquired: 2018 NHL Entry Draft, 1st round (19th overall).
Allison signed: The Flyers signed Allison to a two-year entry level contract on Friday. It pays him $832,000 per year plus a $92,500 signing bonus for a total of $925,000. In his four-year career at Western Michigan, Allison recorded 45 goals, 52 assists for 97 points in 106 games.