The Philadelphia Flyers prospect cupboards are relatively bare in terms of top-end forward talent. They have very few prospects who project to be top six forwards. However, their prospect pool is loaded with bottom six potential. Here is a list of the way in which many of their prospects have fared so far this season. Note that this is not an exhaustive list of every Flyers forward prospect:
- Nick Cousins: So far, the Flyers 3rd round pick in 2011 has played well in his first year as a pro. He has centered the Phantoms first and second line this season. Kris Newbury is the Phantoms primary top-line center, but he has been called up to the Flyers on a couple of occasions. In his absence, Cousins has stepped up. Cousins has 3 goals and 6 assists for 9 points in 17 games. Cousins projects to be a third or fourth line center at the NHL level.
- Tye McGinn: Tye McGinn has shuffled between the Flyers and Phantoms quite a bit already in this young season. While on the Phantoms he has shuffled between the top two lines, but he primarily plays on Cousins’ wing on the second line. McGinn has 4 goals and 1 assist for 5 points in 13 games. It is obvious that the Flyers’ brass views him as a ‘top six or bust’ type of prospect due to the fact that they only call him up when a top six winger goes down and the fact that he is a better offensive player than some of their current fourth line players who stay with the team.
- Jason Akeson: Akeson played in the final Flyers game last season on the first line with Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek. Akeson had a goal and an assist in that game. So far this season Akeson is on the Phantoms top line and leads the Phantoms in scoring with 3 goals and 10 assists for 13 points in 19 games. Akeson has tremendous offensive skill, but his below average skating and the fact that he is undersized (5’10″, 190lbs) make his jump to a full-time NHL job even more difficult.
- Petr Straka: The Flyers signed Straka last season after he had a monsterous overage season in juniors. Straka has come to the Phantoms and played well. He has shuffled between the second and third line. So far he has 5 goals and 5 assists for 10 points in 17 games.
- Scott Laughton: The Flyers first round pick in 2012 has been making headlines with his domination of the OHL this season. The 19 year old center has 20 goals and 19 assists for 39 points in 23 games this season. Laughton captained the OHL team in the recent Subway Super Series in which representatives of the various CHL leagues played against the Russian junior team. In Laughton’s two Super Series games he was relatively quiet, notching only 1 assist in the second game. Scott Laughton’s progress/potential has been well-documented at Broad Street Buzz both here and here.
- Taylor Leier: Leier was the Flyers 4th round pick in 2012. Since being drafted, Leier has continued playing for the Portland Winterhawks of the WHL. Leier also competed in the Subway Super Series. He had a goal and an assist in the first game and was kept off of the score sheet in the second game. This season for the Winterhawks, Leier has tallied 19 goals and 16 assists for 35 points in 26 games. These stats look amazing, and they are impressive, but it must be remembered that Leier is 2-3 years older than a lot of his competition. Leier was also named the Winterhawks team captain on September 30th.
- Tyrell Goulbourne: The Flyers made the highly questionable choice of Tyrell Goulbourne in the 3rd round of the 2013 draft. Goulbourne has 3 goals and 6 assists for 9 points in 18 games this season for the Kelowna Rockets of the WHL. Goulbourne has also racked up 33 penalty minutes this season. On draft day he was widely compared to Zac Rinaldo, even by Paul Holmgren. His stats this season seem to confirm that assessment.
Thank you for reading. Tomorrow I will tackle the Philadelphia Flyers defenseman/goalie prospects.