Is Noah Cates best pick of the Philadelphia Flyers from 2017?

Philadelphia Flyers, Noah Cates (Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports)
Philadelphia Flyers, Noah Cates (Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports) /

Drafted 137th overall in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, Noah Cates snuck into the Flyers lineup last season after earning his 2-year entry-level contract. Everyone was zoned in on Morgan Frost and Nolan Patrick for the Flyers that when Cates’ name was called, most fans already tuned out.

Cates wasn’t exactly a guy ready for the NHL when he was drafted but he jumped Sushko, Strome and Ratcliffe to make this NHL roster, especially out of camp this rookie season. While the organization still has high hopes for Lycksell and Ratcliffe, Cates’ emergence came out of nowhere.

Cates has been playing at the highest level of Hockey for years. This same year, Cates played for the US Men’s Team for the 2022 Winter Olympics, but before that, he played for the US in the World Cup Juniors as well. Cates was named First-Team All-NCHC and 2nd-Team All-AHCA All-American.

Cates scored 5 goals and recorded 4 assists in 16 games for the Flyers after he finished his collegiate career at Minnesota-Duluth college brought up in many conversations for potentially making the roster in the new season out of camp as a winger. There was so much young talent vying for a roster spot and thanks to injuries, spots opened up.

Noah Cates has star written all over him on the Philadelphia Flyers

Needless to say, Cates made the roster and if you watched The Standard in the offseason, you would know that he is one of the guys who Tortorella wanted to see play. As the season has progressed, Cates has continued to improve and impress. Going from the 4th line center to becoming the mainstay on the top line as the center. Cates has become a go-to guy. Penalty killing, power play or extra attacker, Cates can do it all.

Watching Cates go up against top-line centers and play hard against them consistently is a huge positive for this organization considering they need to start developing some home-grown talent. Cates’ development is not done, and his ceiling appears to get higher and higher every game.  What makes him so good and so easy to develop is his willingness to learn and grow in the system Torts has put forward for his team.

The difference between Cates and his draft mates of 2017 is the simplicity of his game. Cates doesn’t go out and overthink plays. He goes out every shift, stays to the fundamentals and is able to contribute as such. This is the biggest reason why he has jumped Frost on the depth chart.

Not to mention his consistency game in and game out. Pairing his consistency with tenacity and perseverance to never give up on a play combined with a scrappy personality creates a player who has the drive and overall passion to want to win.

Cates may never be a prolific goal scorer, but pair him in the middle of Travis Konecny and eventually Cutter Gautier, this will be an extremely dangerous line of kids who play hard, play fast and play the game the way Torts wants it to be played. If Cates’ ceiling is anything close to a Sean Couturier-type player, this team is in good shape for the future.