Sunday Number: Flyers prospects getting recognition

MOSCOW, RUSSIA - DECEMBER 15 : Sergei Plotnikov (16) of Russia in action against Oskar Lindblom (26) of Sweden during the Euro Hockey tour Channel One Cup match between Sweden and Russia at the VTB Ice Palace in Moscow, Russia, on December 15, 2016. (Photo by Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
MOSCOW, RUSSIA - DECEMBER 15 : Sergei Plotnikov (16) of Russia in action against Oskar Lindblom (26) of Sweden during the Euro Hockey tour Channel One Cup match between Sweden and Russia at the VTB Ice Palace in Moscow, Russia, on December 15, 2016. (Photo by Sefa Karacan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images) /
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The Philadelphia Flyers have finally built a great minor league system, and national media members have noticed.

A great hockey team is like a good bowl of stew. It takes a lot to make a stew, but the two most important things are patience and fresh, high-quality ingredients. Fortunately, the Philadelphia Flyers appear to have both. Before the 2013 draft, which saw them select Samuel Morin and Robert Hagg in the first two rounds, the Flyers had one of worst minor league systems in the NHL. Their top defensemen prospects were Oliver Lauridsen and Erik Gustafsson, which is really all that needs to be said.

In the four years since, the Flyers have slowly acquired more and more talented prospects through the draft. Now, that commitment to restocking the cupboard is finally paying off in the eyes of the national media.

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The Flyers managed to place a solid six players in Corey Pronman’s recent list of the top 100 prospects (Insider) in the NHL for the upcoming season. Nolan Patrick led the group of skaters at #5 overall, followed in order by Philippe Myers, Oskar Lindblom and Travis Sanheim. Carter Hart and Felix Sandstrom both finished in the top 10 of Pronman’s separate goalie rankings, and German Rubtsov received an honorable mention.

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Six doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s important to reflect on how far the team’s minor league system has come in the past few years. Pronman’s list doesn’t even include the young players who have already made their Flyer debuts, such as Travis Konecny, Shayne Gostisbehere, Ivan Provorov, and the aforementioned Morin and Hagg.

The Flyers’ rebuild hasn’t gotten nearly the attention that the Sixers’ Process has, but the results, on paper at least, are almost as impressive. The Flyers defense is going to be a force to be reckoned with for years. Patrick and Konecny both look like top-6 material. And out of Hart, Sandstrom, and the already-arrived Anthony Stolarz, the Flyers are bound to have at least one starting goaltender who can provide a level of stability that the organization hasn’t seen in decades.

Next: Three Flyers games to look forward to next year

In other words, it’s an exciting time to be a Flyers fan. With homegrown studs on the way at every position, the Flyers truly look ready to begin the long trek upwards into Stanley Cup contention.