Which Young Flyers are Running Out of Time?

Mar 11, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Flyers left wing James van Riemsdyk (25) and center Tanner Laczynski (58) defend Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Jan Rutta (44) during the second period at PPG Paints Arena. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 11, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Flyers left wing James van Riemsdyk (25) and center Tanner Laczynski (58) defend Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Jan Rutta (44) during the second period at PPG Paints Arena. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /

When John Tortorella took over as head coach of the Flyers, he said that he would “play the kids.” He’s done that this year for two reasons. One, is that a lot of guys got hurt and he had no choice. Beggars can’t be choosers. But the other reason is that the team really needs to figure out who is worth holding onto and who has got to go.

The Flyers are a team in transition right now. They have a head coach finishing up his first year and a new general manager who has to evaluate the players he’s been handed. On the roster now, there are 10 players who are 25 or younger. Some of them may not be returning next year.

Of the guys who are under 25, some are sure locks to stick around. Carter Hart isn’t going anywhere unless Daniel Briere is blowing this team up and is going to get a massive haul in return. Noah Cates has played well as has Cam York. Owen Tippett is showing that he might actually belong in Philadelphia. That leaves us with six other players currently on the roster who have played with mixed results, both in this season and in previous years.

Wade Allison

Allison’s biggest problem is that he can’t stay healthy. Even Coach Tortorella said as much. In 2020-21, he came out firing. In 14 games, he had four goals with three assists. But he started that season on the injured reserve. He has torn his ACL while in college in 2018. He has had an MCL injury and two ankle injuries.

This year, the 25 year old has bounced around the top three lines as well as battling injuries. In 47 games, he has scored eight goals and notched five assists. There are flashes of potential there, but is he damaged goods?

If the Flyers gave up on Oskar Lindblom, they may give up on him. He may not be seen as worth it if he keeps getting injured and performing at a subpar level. If he is to stay in Philly, he needs to have a strong finish to this season.  — Chance of Remaining: 50%

Kieffer Bellows

He’s not shown enough to warrant staying around. He hasn’t performed at the NHL level and when assigned to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, he hasn’t performed there either. At this point, he is just here because injuries to other players require a body and the team isn’t rushing any prospects up while the AHL playoffs are looming. —Chance of Remaining: 10%

Joel Farabee

Farabee has had a down year this year. But he may be climbing out of it as he’s scored goals in each of his last two games. He’s been very streaky, mostly on the bad side of streaky. He has 11 goals with 18 assists in 69 games this year. But when you compare that to last year, he’s not far off. In 2021-22, he had 17G and 17A in 55 games. The year before, his best season, he had 20G and 18A.

So maybe he isn’t far off from what he was. However, it is concerning that in 2020-21, he played in just 55 games and had his best career numbers.  Maybe it is who he is paired with. Maybe he is the next Matt Read. Maybe he is stagnating. Maybe he’ll get better. And remember, he is coming off an injury.

A little while ago, there was a rumor that he was upset with Tortorella. Both he and the coach quickly dispelled that. But is there any truth to it? If Farabee wants to be back, he’ll be back. If he can get back to what he once was, he can be an important piece here moving forward. —Chance of Remaining: 95%

Tyson Foerster

The rookie has appeared in five games and has a goal with two assists. He’s only 21. If he isn’t on the Flyers in the fall, he’ll be in the AHL for some seasoning. He ain’t going anywhere. —Chance of Remaining: 100%

Morgan Frost

It’s taken a while, but Frost is starting to show why he was a first round pick. He is easily someone that the team could’ve given up on. He could’ve been a depth piece on another team or he could’ve been the next Patrick Sharp.

And that’s worth looking at. Patrick Sharp had just five goals to his name when he was 22 and spent his 23 year back in the AHL. After a few games in the next season, Bobby Clarke traded him away to Chicago where he became a major cog of the Blackhawks Dynasty.

Frost is 23. He’s starting to shake off the rust that he showed as a youngster. He’s gotten better and more confident as the year has gone on. He was drafted in 2017. He has outplayed Nolan Patrick. And while Noah Cates seems to be the steal of that draft for the Flyers so far, Frost may not be far behind him. —Chance of Remaining: 95%

Tanner Laczynski

Injuries have also sucked the life out of his career, much like Allison’s. His issues have been with his hips. He also spent three months out with a severe ankle sprain.

What’s more important is Tortorella doesn’t seem to be as high on him as some of the other guys. If any coach isn’t high on a player, that doesn’t bode well. The former sixth round pick looks as if time is not on his side. In 26 games this year, he has two goals with two assists.

Granted, he’s played on several different line combinations all season, but he hasn’t shown a whole lot. He’s averaging less than 10 minutes of ice time. In the recent game against Carolina, he played just 5:29. That’s not a good sign. —Chance of Remaining: 25%