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July 08, 2024

5 Flyers thoughts: Jett Luchanko, Egor Zamula sign as dev camp wraps

Luchanko put some of his touted skating on display before leaving Flyers Development Camp with his entry-level contract signed. Now it's on to training camp in September.

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FlyersDevCampBreak2024.jpeg Nick Tricome/PhillyVoice

The Flyers' prospects huddle up after an on-ice session ends during the team's development camp in Voorhees last week.

Flyers Development Camp wrapped on Saturday night with a prospect scrimmage that offered fans their first good look at 13th overall pick Jett Luchanko, as well as check-ins on how far other notable names like Oliver Bonk, Denver Barkey, and Hunter McDonald have come along. 

Also, there was some Matvei Michkov talk, because even though he wasn't there, he is on his way over, and the Flyers' staff seems to have a good feeling that having him in the lineup on opening night is going to be special.

But there's going to be a solid couple of months of quiet between now and the start of training camp in September. Here are a few loose ends to catch up on from dev camp until then...

Luchanko signs

Luchanko closed out the week at dev camp by putting pen to paper on his three-year, entry-level contract.

The 17-year old center, who the Flyers made the 13th overall pick in the NHL Draft a couple of weeks ago, will be heading back to the Guelph Storm in the OHL for this upcoming season and is still looking at a couple more years of development, at least – the contract doesn't go into effect until he turns pro either in the NHL or the AHL.

But his tools, mainly his speed and instincts, are all there and are all promising. You could see it in the drills the prospects were running through this past week. Moreover, and noting that it was only a scrimmage, you could see how he reads the ice and utilizes it all to his advantage during the skate from Saturday night.

Check out the archived livestream below if you have an hour or two to burn:

"This is summer hockey, but I think you saw in probably small amounts his details to his game, his speed, the skill that he has," assistant GM Brent Flahr said after Saturday night's scrimmage. "Just a very mature game for a young player."

So does Zamula

Egor Zamula signed before the holiday weekend was out, too – to a two-year, $3.4 million deal ($1.7 million per)

The 24-year old defenseman out of Russia has been a project for the organization for the last several years, but he really found his footing in the NHL with this past season, skating 66 games in a depth blue-line role with five goals, 16 assists (21 points) and a plus-3 rating at an average 16:03 of ice time. 

He looked way more comfortable with the puck on his stick, walking the blue line to help the Flyers maintain possession, and checking down in their own end away from it, which all mostly held up as his role in the lineup gradually became more and more regular. 

So when he approached restricted free agency this offseason, it always felt like a matter of when he would sign rather than if. 

How much more there is to Zamula's game will have to be seen, but for now, he figures to slot right back into one of the spots on the bottom defensive pairing, leaving the sixth and final one to be left on a rotation of Rasmus Ristolainen (if healthy), Erik Johnson, Ronnie Attard, and Adam Ginning – at least on the immediate projection based on who else is fluctuating in between the NHL/AHL roster bubble.

Here's a quick look:

Cam York Travis Sanheim 
Nick Seeler Jamie Drysdale 
Egor Zamula Rasmus Ristolainen 

RESERVES: Erik Johnson, Ronnie Attard, Adam Ginning, Emil Andrae

MORE: Oliver Bonk is working to become a much more complete defenseman

The next project

Sam Morin was asked about second-round defenseman Spencer Gill on Friday and his face lit up. 

A big, lanky defenseman out of Rimouski who isn't shy about getting physical? 

Obviously, Morin, the former Flyers defensive prospect turned player development coach, shares a lot in common with Gill in that regard – Morin was a big and promising first-round defenseman for a long time out of Rimouski before repeated knee injuries completely derailed his playing career. 

So upfront, there's a lot of intrigue for Morin there, but also a lot of potential in Gill's skating and puck-moving ability, too. 

"I like his game a lot," Morin said Friday. "A lot of poise, really good with the puck. He's really skinny, right? He's going to need to gain some weight, you can tell on the ice. But for me, he's a really good project for us, and the coaching staff there in Rimouski is really good, so they did a really good job with him. I saw him at 16 and his game got a lot, lot better. So yeah, I'm really excited for him, honestly."

Morin was in town for dev camp but is based out of Quebec, so he said he intends to check in with Gill around once a month to work on a few things once the 17-year old returns to Rimouski in the QMJHL. 

Otherwise, Morin, who was developed within that same junior club, is trusting the coaching staff there to keep moving Gill along, because much like Luchanko, it's going to take him some more time – likely a few years just given the nature of the defensive development pipeline.

Open more doors

Princeton women's hockey head coach Cara Morey has been aiding the Flyers' development camp for the past several years and was back on the ice in Voorhees once again this summer. 

At the same time, the Seattle Kraken announced that they were promoting Jessica Campbell up from their AHL affiliate to join Dan Bylsma's staff as an assistant coach in the NHL.

Campbell will be the first woman to coach behind a bench in NHL history, and that's a big door that suddenly opened. 

Said Morey"Just really awesome to see more doors open for us, because mostly in my profession, it was U.S. college hockey then it grew a little bit and they started paying Canadian college hockey, now we have the pro league (PWHL), and now maybe we've got some more doors. So for me, it's just our profession is now expanding and there are a lot more doors open when really, it was 36 of these jobs in the whole country. It's growing, so it's great."

Campbell was part of a Coachella Valley staff under Bylsma in the AHL that guided their team to back-to-back Calder Cup Final appearances, and now that she is making the move up, she will be overseeing the Kraken's forwards and their power-play unit. 

As for Morey, she'll be returning to Princeton for a 14th season, and her eighth as the program's head coach. 

She said on Friday when she met with the media that she's happy with where she is, but noted that coaching at the college and pro ranks is always a fluid situation. 

And that with Campbell's hiring, it just became a bigger and more visible pool, which long-term will do good for everyone.

Powell's power

Flyers fifth-round winger Noah Powell is an aggressive power forward who broke out to a 43-goal year in the junior USHL this past season. 

He's also been hearing-impaired since birth. 

The 19-year old said he does wear hearing aids under his helmet and has gotten pretty good at reading lips over the years, but he admitted that he does have to make sure he's paying close attention and often double-check with what his coaches are saying as he parses out all the noise that floods into the rink during a typical game.

But he makes it work, and that he can, carries its own special impact. 

Before Saturday night's scrimmage, Powell met with Snider Hockey student Howard James, a young player who also has a hearing impairment. Powell gifted James with an autographed Flyers shirt and hat, as well as offered him and his family advice and support on how to process all the sound that comes through on the ice.

It's a gesture that in the long run, can go a long, long way.

Powell then went on to nearly pull this off in the scrimmage:

So he's got some silky mitts on him, too. 

MORE: How Denver Barkey became 'the guy' in London

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