A few weeks back, we looked at the upcoming additions to the Phantoms lineup, shedding light on the defense, which was a major letdown during the 2019-20 season. First, Yegor Zamula and Wyatte Wylie were confirmed to make the professional jump. Now, Wyatt Kalnyuk, the Flyers’ seventh round pick in 2017, could be the next prospect added to the Phantoms blue line.
The Phantoms defense corps was decimated this season after Phil Myers was recalled by the Flyers in early November and TJ Brennan’s play fell off a cliff before he was eventually traded. Andy Welinski, their veteran addition over the summer was often injured and Chris Bigras, Nate Prosser, and Tyler Wotherspoon didn’t have the desired effect. Lead by 24-year-old Mark Friedman this season, it’s possible he could be make the Flyers roster next season depending on the fate of Robert Hagg and Justin Braun.
Kalynuk, who turned 23 in April, captained the University of Wisconsin in his junior year, opted to leave college and turn pro, though has yet to sign his entry-level contract with the Flyers organization. He recorded seven goals and 28 points during his third year, which was his career high. Kalnyuk stole the show during the 2019 Flyers development camp, when coaches and fellow players alike raved not only his defensive game but his offensive ability as well. His skating is his main highlight, which is crucial for a defenseman in 2020.
When he signs, he’ll join Zamula, Wylie, Prosser, Bigras, and Wotherspoon that will make up the Phantoms defense. Reese Willcox and Andy Welinski are both on expiring contracts, as is Friedman, though he is expected to re-sign with the Flyers.
Time will tell what a blue line injected with three rookies will look like, but after a disappointing 2019-20 season, talented youth could be just what the doctor ordered to alleviate the issues that plagued the Phantoms this season.
By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)
photo credit: madison.com