“Trust The Process” has become a staple for all Philadelphia sports on social media thanks to the 76ers. With an unfortunate losing culture in Philadelphia over the past couple seasons, all the focus has been on the 76ers “process.” In the meantime, the Flyers are slowly digging out of a cap space dilemma and taking their team in a new direction; all while keeping their playoff hopes high.
Unfortunately, the plan has been an up and downhill battle. The Flyers have missed the playoffs in 3 of the last 5 seasons after making the postseason 15 of 16 years since 1995. GM Ron Hextall has be known for staying conservative with his young talent, but it is time to let these kids loose and make some noise in the NHL. It’s time to #TTP, Trust the Prospects!
The average Philadelphia Flyers fan may know the prospect pool is deep, but do they truly know what is in store for this Franchise? With development camp and preseason underway, 215 Sports has a guide for you on what prospects you should look for to crack the lineup and wear orange and black for the 2017-2018 season.
#1- Nolan Patrick
Age - 18 Position - C
Shoots- Right Height, Weight - 6’2?, 199 lbs
Drafted - 1st Round, 2017 NHL Draft
The Flyers were gifted to receive Nolan Patrick as their 2017 first round pick when they moved up from #13 to #2 in the Lottery Draft. With a dangerous combo of speed, size, and skill; Nolan Patrick plays a powerful game as one of the most well-rounded skilled prospects across the board for all 31 NHL teams. (Welcome to the league, Vegas!)
Patrick was named the Western Hockey League’s Rookie of the Year in 2014-15 after tallying 56 points (30G, 26A) in 55 games. In 2015-2016, Patrick dominated the league with 102 points in the regular season, (41G,61A) 30 points in the postseason, (13G, 17A) and was named playoff MVP winning the 2016 WHL championship for the Brandon Wheat Kings.
In the 2016-2017 season with an abdominal injury, Patrick registered 46 points (20G, 26A) in 33 games; still finishing 10th in the league with 1.39 points per game. Patrick is projected to miss 4-6 weeks after having abdominal surgery 10 days before the draft but will be back and ready to go for the regular season opener.
Expecting a healthy recovery, Nolan Patrick should make the opening day roster securing one of the 4 center positions. I like Patrick on the 2ndline right out of the gate giving him top 6 talent to help him transition into the NHL. The future of the Philadelphia Flyers will be in this young man’s hands which is exciting to say the least.
#2 - Sam Morin
Age - 21 Position - D
Shoots- Left Height, Weight - 6’7?, 227 lbs
Drafted - 1st Round, 2013 NHL Draft
Sam Morin, the Flyers 2013 first round pick should have a major impact on the team this season. People were skeptical of his abilities in the NHL due to his longer development period but this is normal for big defenseman.
Have you missed the “Chris Pronger” presence on the ice? How about the fear of Zedeno Chara lined up for a slap-shot at the point? Sam Morin may be that player for the orange and black. The past 2 seasons developing with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms is a small sample of what is to come in the NHL. One of my favorite attributes to his game is nature of dropping the gloves. When you are 6’7’’, 230 pounds, he is there to inflict fear in the opposing team’s eyes and will make you pay if messed with.
Look to see Morin on the 2nd or 3rd pair with Travis Sanheim. The two of them have been a powerhouse in the AHL and continue to look for the same chemistry on the NHL level.
#3 - Travis Sanheim
Age - 20 Position - D
Shoots- Left Height, Weight - 6’4?, 200 lbs
Drafted - 1st Round, 2014 NHL Draft
Travis Sanheim was a shock to many when drafted by Ron Hextall in 2014. With some early criticism, it didn’t take long before his true potential was noticed. A dangerous offensive minded D-man put up 65 points (15G,50A) in 68 games for the Calgary Hitmen in the WHL the year after he was drafted.
After an injury that kept him off the ice for the 2015-2016 season, Sanheim in his first full year with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms tallied 37 points (10G, 27A)
Sanheim has a good chance to play on the Flyers as a 2nd or 3rd pair this season. When you think of the success of Ivan Provorov and Shayne Gostisbehere, you can add Sanheim to the mix for his high ability as a top NHL defenseman. Sanheim has an elite skating ability compared to one like Ivan Provorov, with an offensive playmaking ability of Shayne Gostisbehere.
#4 - Oskar Lindblom
Age - 20 Position - LW/RW
Shoots- Left Height, Weight - 6’0?, 200 lbs
Drafted - 5th round, 2014 NHL Draft
Oskar Lindblom's development with the Flyers has become nearly perfect. The Philadelphia Flyers 2014 5th round pick has played the last three seasons in the Swedish Hockey League and has transformed into an all-star potential NHL Winger. Give this power forward the puck and he will put it in the net.
In the 2016-2017 season, Oskar Lindblom was named the SHL’s best forward at 20 years old. His ability to make great passes in the offensive zone as well as a hard, accurate wrist shot helped Lindblom score 47 points in 52 games last season (22G, 25A); placing him 3rd in the entire Swedish Hockey League.
The all-star caliber winger should comfortably make the final roster this upcoming season; he is on the top of my radar. I expect Oskar Lindblom to be placed on the 2nd or 3rd line wing depending on how Dave Hakstol would like to play with the lines. Putting him on the wing with #2 overall pick Nolan Patrick and NHL All-Star Wayne Simmonds would give the Flyers a big, strong scoring line.