Alex Bump, Samu Tuomaala Turn Heads at Development Camp

MONTREAL, QUEBEC - JULY 08: Alex Bump, #133 pick by the Philadelphia Flyers, poses for a portrait during the 2022 Upper Deck NHL Draft at Bell Centre on July 08, 2022 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
MONTREAL, QUEBEC - JULY 08: Alex Bump, #133 pick by the Philadelphia Flyers, poses for a portrait during the 2022 Upper Deck NHL Draft at Bell Centre on July 08, 2022 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /

The Philadelphia Flyers hosted their development camp this week, and John LeClair and Patrick Sharp used their time to evaluate the prospects that the team has and where they might fit into the future of the organization. Some of these guys will continue to develop in college and junior ranks or foreign leagues. Others will spend time for some seasoning in the AHL level. Two names that stuck out though, were Alex Bump and Samu Tuomalaa.

This was an important camp for the new Flyers leadership team. Several players turned heads. Emil Andrae showed flashes of a bright future, although he did hit and injure Elliot Desnoyers at one point. Bobby Brink showed that he will challenge for a spot on the team’s roster this fall.

However, there were two prospects that really stood out as turning the heads of the Flyers’ management: Samu Tuomaala and Alex Bump. Alex Bump and Samu Tuomaala might be unknown to the casual fan, but they’ll be making names for themselves shortly.

Samu Tuomaala was the Philadelphia Flyers’ first selection in 2021; a second-rounder taken 46th overall. In the 2022-23 season, Tuomaala tied for the highest points-per-game in the Mestis with 1.55. The player he tied with, Rasmus Heljanko, is three years Tuomaala’s senior.

Samu Tuomaala’s numbers in Liiga, Finland’s top men’s league, were less impressive. Across three years, Tuomaala has managed just one goal and three points in 40 games. Sent on loan to Kettera in the Mestis, he flourished. Tuomaala scored 26 goals with 20 assists in 29 games, and added 19 points in 17 playoff games.

The scouting report on him had read:

"He reloads to swing wide on his team’s breakout, collects the puck in stride, accelerates through knee-over-knee crossovers, and drives play across the offensive blue line. Blink, and you just might miss him. Tuomaala has a wicked wrist shot, and he can get it off in-stride from either foot."

And this is what Flyers brass saw in camp this week. He has become more confident and a little more aggressive. Former Flyer Sami Kapanen, a fellow Finn, has said of Tuomaala that:

"“He feels like he has a better patience in the games. He’s not, every shift, expecting to score goals or having the offense. He understands it better now, reading the game, when to go for offense. I think the overall game, the defensive part of the game, has gotten better. He’s valuing it more, the little details, that are going to help a team win, so it’s not all about offense anymore.”"

Samu Tuomaala has said that his goal to start is to come over to North America this year and play for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms full-time. If his career keeps developing on this path, he could be a call up this season or next. He just turned 20 and his future looks bright.

Fifth-round picks generally have lower expectations placed upon them, but every now and then, a player comes out of the woodwork and surprises. Noah Cates presently looks like he is the best pick the Philadelphia Flyers made in the 2017 draft. Elliot Desnoyers, a fifth-rounder from 2020, has been steadily rising up the ranks. Sam Ersson was the Flyers’ fifth-round selection in 2018. Last year’s fifth-rounder, Alex Bump, has been making a name for himself during this week’s camp.

Alex Bump, a 19 year old forward, played in the USHL; first with the Omaha Lancers and then the Tri-City Storm. In three years, he scored 25 goals. Those aren’t exactly eye-popping numbers, but sometimes if a player is raw and developing, they need time. After all, he was a star hockey player in high school in Minnesota, and in 2020-21 Alex Bump was named the Associated Press’ Minnesota Player of the Year. About him, Dobber Prospects said:

"An average all-around forward who excels in particular playmaking/scoring skills but needs to work on becoming more well-rounded. His commitment to defense allows him to stay on the ice and participate in all situations."

Alex Bump is currently committed to playing in the University of Vermont for the 2023-24 season. This school has a good history with Flyers players, as both LeClair and Sharp attended Vermont in the past.

During camp, Alex Bump came in with a bang and may have ‘bumped’ up his stock in the eyes of team management. He scored a goal during the scrimmage and has caught the eye of Flyers personnel. Assistant general manager Brent Flahr described Alex Bump like this:

"“He’s one player, though, that has made huge strides physically from a year ago. Last year, he was kind of just a naïve high school kid that came in here. He did a year in the USHL and has put in his time wisely. His testing, I know from talking to the strength guys, from last year to this year, was one of the most drastically improved players. And you can see it. He’s just stronger on the skates. His skating still has to come a little bit, but his top-end speed is fine.”"

Alex Bump seems to be one of those players who is eager to work hard improve. This is a trait that Noah Cates also has. Following in the footsteps of Noah Cates would be a good early career trajectory for Alex Bump. Time will tell, but if he can continue on this path, he could have a bright future for Philly.

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