The Flyers have a history of establishing historic trios, three separate forces uniting to form legendary lines that fans still fondly remember years later. Whether it be the L-C-B Line in the 1970’s, the Crazy Eights Line in the early 1990’s, the Deuce’s Wild Line in the mid-00’s, and most famously the Legion of Doom in the late 90’s.
Fast forwarding to 2022, It’s been quite awhile since the Flyers have had a line dominate the NHL. The most recent example happened in 2011-12 when the trio of Scott Hartnell, Claude Giroux and Jaromir Jagr put on a show. It led to (at the time) Giroux’s best season, Hartnell’s best goal and point totals of his career, and one of Jagr’s better seasons during his second NHL run.
As the current roster boils in mediocrity, the attention has been focused on prospects, and even though the pool is shallow, there are a few names rising to the top; 2020 first round pick Tyson Foerster, 2022 first round pick Cutter Gauthier and 2020 fifth round pick Elliot Desnoyers. Individually, they all seem to have the potential to be offensive threats at the NHL level, but their ETA to the NHL appears to all be around the same time, within the next few years, meaning they could unite and dominate together.
20-year-old right wing Tyson Foerster was a key member of Team Canada’s win during the 2022 World Juniors, which took place during the summer after being re-scheduled thanks to a covid outbreak during the original slate last winter. He scored three goals and six points in seven games and took home a gold medal for his efforts.
It’s quite the shot of adrenaline right before NHL training camps open, and all eyes will be on Foerster and his potential of making the main roster. His nose for the net and booming one-timer on the powerplay will be enticing features for a team whose projected offensive outlook isn’t overly spectacular.
Even if Foerster starts the season in the AHL, where he’s already gotten his feet wet with 20 points in 33 games over the last two seasons, his first NHL recall shouldn’t be too far away, especially if the Flyers predictably flounder.
20-year-old Elliot Desnoyers was also a member of Team Canada’s gold medal team, but he only registered a single assist playing a depth role for the squad. His incredibly impressive junior career post-draft gives everyone reason to be hopeful. He scored 42 goals and 88 points in 61 games during 2021-22 and 63 goal and 137 points in 98 games in two seasons since he was drafted in the fifth round in 2020. He has transitioned his game mainly to playing center (which in the grand scheme of things for the Flyers would be huge if he can succeed down the middle) but he has experience playing on the left wing for much of his young career.
He’ll make the jump to the professional level this season, likely playing in the AHL, and whether or not he can maintain his scoring touch at a higher level will be the main question regarding Desnoyers.
Cutter Gauthier already has lofty expectations at just 18 years old. He was drafted fifth overall in 2022 and already has an impressive size at 6’2 and 200lbs. He’s a natural winger that the Flyers intend to shift to center during his college career to better address a hole for his NHL future.
He has expressed interest in only playing one season at Boston College then making his jump to the professional level during the 2023-24 campaign. So he could get his feet wet with the Phantoms first, but he more than likely has his sights set on NHL action next season as apart of the opening night roster in 2023.
Foerster will more than likely see NHL minutes in 2022-23 with a full time main roster jump in 2023-24, Gauthier will show up in 2023-24 as well which puts them on the same path to break in together, with Desnoyers not too far behind provided he can succeed with the Phantoms during 2022-23.
It’s been a while since things have gone right for the Flyers, and hopefully they’re due for some good karma coming their way. The franchise has done a much better job drafting under Brent Flahr and Chuck Fletcher than they did under the previous regime, so maybe this batch of prospects provides the franchise-altering talent the organization has been promising the fans for almost a decade now.
Right now, it’s pretty clear the Flyers intend on Gauthier and Foerster being the next power couple in Philly. Whether or not Desnoyers is the Renberg to their Lindros and LeClair has yet to be determined, but it’s a very real possibility that the Flyers have their new kid line that can produce at a high level for the next decade.
If all three of them hit their ceilings in the NHL, put the league on notice because the Philadelphia Flyers will be back with a vengeance with a new boom period in their history.
By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)
photo credit: nbcsports.com / phillyvoice.com / dobberprospects.com