In the curious move of running back a 25-win team, it means the Flyers have high expectations that the younger players on the roster will be difference makers. It’s a strategy the Flyers have deployed and failed with in the past, but this year they’re convinced it will be different. Now they restock the prospect pool as the last remaining Hextall-era players are flushed out, an influx of new bodies and fresh talent will have their chance to show what they’ve got in the never ending bid to save the Philadelphia Flyers.
Number 5: Tyson Foerster
Foerster’s NHL arrival is still up for debate, but if he does indeed make the jump to the NHL during the 2022-23 season, he is a player that seemingly has all the tools for success. He’s a big body, currently listed at 6’2, 195lbs, and possess a hell of a shot, especially on the powerplay, where he likes to take Ovechkin-like one-timers from the left circle. He underwent shoulder surgery early last season which stalled his development, otherwise he’d probably be a lock to start the season in the NHL. If he does start with the Phantoms, expect to see him sometime in the not-too-distant future if he plays well and the Flyers do not.
Number 4: Noah Cates
One of the more surprising late season adds was when the Flyers signed 2017 fifth round pick Noah Cates who had just wrapped up a successful college career at Minnesota Duluth. He was a ball of energy for the Flyers, the perfect amount of bottom six grit, top six scoring, and two-way defensive prowess that significantly raised his stock going into 2022-23. He had five goals and nine points through his first 16 NHL games and if he can maintain the energy and scoring touch, the Flyers may finally have hit on a diamond in the rough.
Number 3: Cam York
Cam York’s rookie NHL season didn’t exactly go as planned. Upon his recall to the NHL, he was strapped to Keith Yandle on the third pair, then was later elevated to the top pair with Ivan Provorov, but on his off side. He faired well all things considered, but it looks like he’ll be getting a much more favorable third pair LHD role next to Justin Braun to start the season. Less overall minutes and higher favorable deployment should let him get his legs going at the NHL level so he can properly transition to his first full season of action, and hopefully he’ll be better in the long run because of it. He seems like the guy that will be promoted up the lineup if or when injury strikes, but for now, sitting under Braun’s learning tree is the way things should go for the 21-year-old.
Number 2: Owen Tippett
Tippett originally seemed like an underwhelming return when he was acquired in the Claude Giroux trade, but he had a strong end to his season in Philly, and showed flashes of potential that left fans intrigued for next season. He scored four goals and seven points in 21 games after the trade, but he was much more dangerous and exciting than his point totals led to believe. He’s a big body with a hell of a shot, something that was on display that typically ended by hitting a comically high amount of posts, and if he can wrangle in that potential and become that middle-six goalscorer the Flyers need, it’d be a great development for the team.
Number 1: Wade Allison
All he needs is a chance in the NHL and for a freak injury to not strike and Allison will be a stud. He’s put on quite a show in Lehigh Valley for the last few seasons and carried that level of excitement during his brief stints of NHL action. A pair of freak injuries, one in development camp and the other in January, squashed hopes of success last season, but he did manage to post 10 goals and 17 points in 28 games with the Phantoms last season, as well as avoiding injury for the last two months of the campaign. He checks many boxes the Flyers are currently lacking, speed, agility, energy, happiness, so as long as he can make it through training camp and preseason unscathed, expect Allison on the opening night roster and success should follow close behind.
We’re quickly entering “put up or shut up” territory with Frost, who has been underwhelming since his jump to the professional level in 2019. He elevated himself to “mediocre” during the 2021-22 campaign, posting five goals and 16 points in 55 games playing all over the lineup. He appears to be the team’s 3C to start next season, so he’ll be tasked with improving his two-way play under new coach John Tortorella, and it doesn’t exactly feel like those two are bound to get along. Though, with Claude Giroux out of the picture, Frost may be the player with the best pure offensive ability on the roster, it’s just a matter of whether or not he can put the pieces together at the NHL level.
An offseason hip injury is definitely a setback for the 22-year-old winger. Brink seems like a wildcard for the Flyers. One of those guys that will either be a home run mega star or just a middling dude who can’t find the same level of production he did in college. He’s always been praised as a kid who “plays the right way” but has shown serious flashes of offensive potential, as referenced by his 57 points in 41 games at the University of Denver during the 2021-22 season. A player who won’t make many mistakes and can rely on his potential for years to come. He certain sounds like he’ll fit right in with this roster.
By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)
photo credit: Getty images