Watching Noah Cates bud into the top line center, has been nothing short of amazing. Cates’ development has skyrocketed him quickly to the top line on the Flyers. John Tortorella has had nothing but praise for him this season. He has been his go to guy earning minutes on every unit of this team.
Cates has shown that he can be the top line center for this team for the future and has created depth with Sean Couturier, Scott Laughton and Morgan Frost at the center position.
Cates has received a lot of comparison to Couturier. Cates, in his first full year at 77 games, has 12 goals and 23 assists for 35 points. In Couturier’s first full year in 2011-2012, he had 13 goals and 14 assists for 27 points. While Couturier was much younger and came from juniors, Cates’ development can be hugely attributed to the NCAA and the game of hockey at the collegiate level.
It’s much different than playing in juniors, but a lot of this also has to be due to Cates’ hard work and ultimately the drive and ambition to be an extremely important piece to the puzzle moving forward. Having Couturier back with the team has also been huge for Cates development having a similar player teach him some tips and tricks from a vet.
Having both on the bench next season is going to only improve Cates’ play even more. With Couturier on the bench, he will see things in game between him and the other centers and will be able to pass his wisdom down. I think having Cates as the top line center will help Couturier get back into the flow of the game.
Noah Cates has been trusted to go against the top lines and top scorers of opposing teams. The fact that Cates is a +6 with only 12 PIM is an amazing feat. It tends to take young players time to adjust to the speed of the NHL game, but the college game has become similar to the NHL game, which most likely allowed Cates to be more NHL ready and developed.
The biggest argument against Cates has been where he was drafted, but you can’t always say a later draft pick won’t develop. There are so many intangibles that go unseen, and Cates has so many that has allowed him to excel. If Cates can play similar or better for the Flyers next season, than he truly is a diamond in the rough.