Welcome to this very special holiday edition of the Flyers Junior Hockey Prospect Report. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all our readers, and a very special Christmas and Holiday greeting to all of the amazing contributors over at www.brotherlypuck.com. Hopefully Santa was good to everyone (even a few of you that were on the naughty list) and you enjoyed all the best that this season has to offer.
Here in Canada, the World Junior Hockey Championship is a holiday tradition that lets hockey fans see the next wave of NHL stars strut their stuff on the international stage. TSN will once again broadcast every game of the tournament with millions of viewers expected for Canada’s opening game against the United States. To put this in perspective to our American readers, the WJHC is must see television for sports fans in Canada and is akin to watching NFL football on Thanksgiving. With all of the live streaming options now available, viewers from around the world can watch the best players under 20 years of age compete for international glory and give fans a chance to see some of the best draft eligible players for the upcoming 2020 NHL Draft.
The WJHC also gives fans of all NHL clubs an opportunity to see some of their teams prospects in action. After a 2019 tournament that saw the Flyers boast an NHL best 7 players participate, this year’s edition will see 4 Flyers prospects in action: Egor Zamula (RUS), Adam Ginning (SWE), Cam York (USA), and Bobby Brink (USA).
Lets take a quick look at each of these prospects and what can be expected of them in this tournament.
Egor Zamula (Russia)
Egor Zamula (D) – Calgary Hitmen (WHL)
Arguably, no prospect in the Flyers stable has had a better year than Zamula. Last year as an undrafted invitee to Flyers training camp, Zamula impressed the Flyers so much that they signed him to an entry level deal and returned him to the WHL. After another solid showing in camp this year, the 19 year old defenceman is averaging a point per game pace this season for the WHL’s Calgary Hitmen. Currently 5th in scoring among defencemen, Zamula has been especially impressive while on the top powerplay unit. He is big (6’4”) but he needs to fill in a bit as he weighs in at 176lbs. He isn’t the fastest player, but is very mobile for his size and will often straddle the blueline switching sides with his defence partner looking for lanes to get pucks on net. He is calm and confident with the puck and uses his size and reach to control the puck really well. He played with multiple defense partners in the Canada-Russia Showcase Series earlier this fall. He is a lock for a top 4 spot in Russia’s defence corps (maybe even top pair), and should see time on the powerplay. It will be worth watching if Zamula gets deployed with Montreal Canadians prospect Alexander Romanov, or if they will quarterback separate units.
Video of Zamula (#9) in action for the Calgary Hitmen:
Adam Ginning (Sweden)
Adam Ginning (D) – Linkoping (SHL)/HC
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|2019-2020 HC Vita Hasken (Allsvenskan)||17||0||4||4||-1||44|
Adam Ginning is a player that is a relative unknown amongst Flyers prospects. The 19 year old is a left shot defenceman who is 6’3” and 196lbs. He was drafted by the Flyers in the 2nd Round (50th overall) in the 2018 NHL Draft. Not known for his offensive production, Ginning is a stay at home type defender who is a decent skater. He is known to throw hits and is positionally sound in the defensive zone. He is by far better at the defensive aspects of the position rather than the offensive side of the game. He has scored 1 goal this season with Linkoping of the SHL, and has since been loaned to HC Vita Hasken of the Allsvenskan (lower tier of Swedish hockey). He has not scored a goal with HC Vita Hasken, but has tallied 4 assists and 44 PIMs in 17 games. Ginning has represented his country at numerous international tournaments. He captained the Swedish U18 team in 2017-2018 (GP 7 G1 A3 P4), and was on the 2018-2019 U20 World Junior team (GP 4 G0 A0 P0). As a returning player for this years WJHC, Ginning has been given the honor of being named Captain for this year’s tournament. Playing against the best players of his age group should not allow Ginning to all of a sudden discover the offensive side of his game. Any offense that he brings can and should be considered a bonus. Sweden has other players that are to be relied on to bring the offense. He should be deployed in defensive zone situations (especially on the penalty kill) and should see more heavy usage should Sweden have a lead and look to close out games in a shutdown role. It will be interesting to see if Ginning will be paired with the offensive minded Philip Broberg or perhaps Victor Soderstrom (who Arizona selected after swapping picks with the Flyers who ended up selecting Cam York in the 2019 NHL Draft).
Video of Adam Ginning fighting in the SHL:
Cam York (USA)
Cam York (D) – Michigan Wolverines (NCAA)
Cam York is an 18 year old left shot defenceman who was selected 14th overall by the Philadelphia Flyers. Many fans were initially excited as GM Chuck Fletcher announced that the Flyers selection was coming from the USNTDP, and then were stunned when York’s name was announced rather than Cole Caufield. Once that initial shock wore off, fans have come to know and understand why the Flyers selected Cam York instead. With the USNTDP, York consistently flashed his skating, hockey IQ, and offensive instincts. While he is by no means a negative in the defensive zone, York definitely brings more to the table with the offensive side of his game. He is comfortable skating with the puck on his stick, is very mobile, and makes great outlet passes. With the bumper crop produced by the USNTDP and a record number of selections in the 2019 NHL Draft, some wondered if York just looked better because he was surrounded by so much talent or if he actually was a critical piece of such a successful team. The Flyers obviously believed in the latter, stating that York was the defenceman that they targeted in the first round. York has been playing this season with the Michigan Wolverines as a freshman in the NCAA. While thus far accumulating 9 points in his first 14 games, York has shown that his offensive skills can translate into the college game. However, injuries have slowed York down this season as he has missed a few weeks with an ankle injury after his debut game. The injury lingered and York played through it with the ankle clearly not at 100 percent. While his play has been positive for the Wolverines, there is no doubt that York will be experiencing more bumps and bruises as he adjusts to the collegiate game and tests himself against older competitors. At the WJHC, there is no doubt that the skill level is there to be an impact player. However, the final exhibition warm ups have indicated that York may be used as a 7th defenceman. Other defenceman like Matthias Samuelsson and K’Andre Miller have an extra year of experience under their belt and will more likely be relied on to carry a larger role. York should still see some time at this tournament (especially on the powerplay) in order to gain more experience to come back as a veteran for next year’s tournament.
Video of Cam York from the 2018-2019 season:
Bobby Brink (USA)
Bobby Brink (RW) – Denver Pioneers (NCHC)
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Bobby Brink is an 18 year old right winger who was selected in the 2nd Round (34th overall) by the Philadelphia Flyers at the 2019 NHL Draft. Considered by many to be a first round talent, Brent Flahr and the rest of the Flyers scouting staff did not have to convince GM Chuck Fletcher too hard that selecting Brink was the right pick. Bobby Brink is a speedy, skilled winger, who handles the puck very well and is creative in the offensive zone. Brink’s full name is Bobby Orr Brink, as his dad was a huge Bobby Orr fan. His dad was also a massive Bobby Clarke fan, and debated with the idea of Clarke as his middle name before settling on Orr instead. Brink spent last season in the USHL with the Sioux City Musketeers. He had a nose for the net scoring 35 goals in 43 games. In addition to the 35 goals, Brink added 33 assists for a total of 68 points and was well over a point per game player. To challenge himself further, Brink joined the University of Denver to play with the Pioneers in the NCHC. As a freshman, Brink finds himself tied for the team lead in goals (7), and tied for second on the team in points (13). While many countries at this tournament have the philosophy that 19 year old players should make up the foundation of the team due to their experience, Brink’s creativity should allow him to land a top 9 spot on the right wing. Complicating things though is the recent addition of New York Islanders prospect Oliver Wahlstrom (a 19 year old returnee from last year), and the fact that Brink was used as the thirteenth forward in the final exhibition game for the USA. Brink should still be able to be a mainstay in the lineup; especially against teams that are difficult to break down defensively (such as Sweden, Finland, or Canada). The only question is whether it will be in more of a scoring role or a checking role as Brink will be expected to return in 2021 as a 19 year old veteran.
Video of Bobby Brink (#25) from the U18 tournament in 2018:
So there are the four Flyers prospects that are participating in the 2020 World Junior Hockey Championship in the Czech Republic. Good luck to all of them in the tournament, and enjoy watching what is sure to be some excellent hockey over the holidays!
Hope you enjoyed this special World Junior Hockey Championship edition of the Flyers Junior Hockey Prospect Report.
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Until next time from BrotherlyPuck.com,