Happy Friday, Philadelphia Flyers fans, and welcome to Rink Rats! Prospects Camp is upon us.
1) There is reason to be excited about the Phantoms, the Flyers AHL team. While the younger players may not contribute after the first drop of the puck, the anticipation of what these kids can do is appealing in itself. This upcoming season the Phantoms will have several new youngsters on the team.
Draft picks such as Anthony Stolarz, – who will not practice during prospects camp because of hip surgery – Robert Hagg and Taylor Leier will all don the Phantoms crest for the first time this fall. Players like Scott Laughton could make the Flyers roster but if GM Ron Hextall thinks Laughton needs more development, Laughton will be sent Lehigh Valley.
2) The Phantoms will finally return to Pennsylvania. For the past few years, the farm team has played its games in Glens Falls, N.Y. This was not the ideal destination for AHL veterans. The facilities were less than stellar and the distance from the Flyers made sending players up and down an inconvenience. With the Phantoms and Reading Royals, the ECHL affiliate, each of the farm teams are within two hours of Philadelphia.
3) After years of not being able to draft and develop capable defensemen, the Flyers now have a plethora of talent in their farm system. These players are likely two to three years away from becoming NHL regulars, but the effort to remedy the situation has been seen in the previous two drafts. Paul Holmgren and Ron Hextall have not only restocked the defensive pool, they have found a variety of defensemen.
Samuel Morin could develop into a solid defensive defenseman with some offensive upside. Shayne Gostisbehere is an offensive dynamo. Travis Sanheim seems to be a blend of the two with a high ceiling on both ends of the ice.