Ask Zayde Wisdom himself and he’d be able to tell you that last season did not go the way he planned at all. A Flyers fourth round pick in 2020, he was unable to stick at the AHL level last season as he ended the season with the ECHL’s Reading Royals. It was a far cry from what he was able to do as an18-year-old in 2020. Due to COVID shutting down some of the junior leagues, Wisdom was granted eligibility to play in the AHL.
Wisdom made the most of his time there, appearing in 28 games while posting seven goals and 18 points. A shoulder injury and later surgery delayed him in 2021-22 as he ended up returning to the Kingston Frontenacs in the OHL instead of remaining with the Phantoms. He still managed to put up 38 points in 43 games, tied for seventh on the team. Wisdom added 15 points in 11 playoff games, good for second on the team.
Back for another season with the Phantoms this past year, Wisdom found himself unable to make the same kind of impact. He appeared in 45 games, only recording three goals and 10 points overall. Sent to the Royals on more than one occasion, Wisdom had one goal and five points in six games. He chipped in with four goals and eight points in 11 postseason games.
Jobs aren’t typically won or lost in rookie camp. But it is a good time for players to give the coaching staff a look at what they’ve been working on and the impact they can have. Wisdom has done just that at the Flyers rookie camp this past week. He’s easily been the group’s best player during their two games against the New York Rangers.
“His focus is to make our team,” Ian Laperriere said about Wisdom. “So far, he’s our best player right now. There’s other guys who need to be better and ‘Wis’ isn’t one of them. ‘Wis’ has been great since Day One. Good for him.”
From the get go, Wisdom showed his energy and competiveness. Not afraid to drop the gloves, Wisdom took on someone significantly bigger than him in Matt Rempe to kick things off on Friday. It was only a preview of what was to come. Wisdom was all over the ice in both games, creating opportunities and using his well-known physicality to get in on the forecheck.
Wisdom was rewarded for his efforts, scoring the Flyers only goal in a 3-1 loss on Saturday. After Matt Brown sent Denver Barkey into the zone, Wisdom went right to the net where he was able to accept the pass and beat Taylon Boyko for the goal.
“I feel like I kind of lost that last year where I was kind of shying away from the puck, shying away from the battle. That was the strongest part of my game I feel like. Getting back that confidence and heading back to the corner and standing in front and not caring how big they are.” Wisdom said about how his game has improved from last year.
Wisdom’s chances of stealing a spot with the Flyers this season is pretty slim with the players that are ahead of him. But with the likelihood of him taking on a bigger role with the Phantoms, there’s plenty of time for him to prove that he can be a valuable part of the NHL roster down the line. If Wisdom can bounce back from his tough season last year, it will go a long way to showing the organization that he is still a part of the team’s future. Rookie camp was the first step, now it’s off to main training camp.