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February 20, 2021

Flyers prospect watch: Injuries derailing several top young players, Cam York shines bright

Flyers NHL
Morgan_Frost_2_01132021_Flyers_Pens_Frese.jpg Kate Frese/for PhillyVoice

PHILADELPHIA, PA- JANUARY 13: Morgan Frost #48 of the Philadelphia Flyers warms up before the game against the Pittsburgh Penguins on January 13, 2021 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.

The Flyers are contenders — though they may be a little short-handed at the moment.

With COVID-19 making things difficult for Philly over the last week, you've no doubt heard about a few of their top prospects. David Kase and Maksim Sushko were deputized into duty to help the Flyers field a full roster in their first game back after over a week of postponements. And while they'll likely be sent back to the AHL before Philadelphia's next game, it's never a bad thing to give hungry young players a taste of the big leagues.

There are a lot of extremely talented youngsters in the Flyers farm of prospects — The Hockey Writers credit the team with having the eighth best in hockey. There has been a pretty bad streak of luck, however, with five of the top 12 players in the team's talent pool currently on the shelf due to injury.

As we'll do from time to time during the 2021 NHL season, here's a look at how the future stars of Broad Street are currently performing (the ranks are based on The Athletic's pre-season list):

1. Morgan Frost, 21, Winger

It's a shame we have to start things off so negatively, but Philly's top prospect by every measure is Morgan Frost, and he was hoping a call up to the NHL club would keep him there for a long time before a shoulder injury paused that goal. Shoulder surgery could force him to miss the rest of the year after just two starts in 2021. A healthy return in 2022 will have him start the year atop this list again. Let's hope some luck finds him then.

2. Cam York, 20, Defenseman

York, the top D-man in the system, is a left-hander who can score. Sound familiar? He just started his second season as a Michigan Wolverine and has three goals and 11 assists in 17 games so far. He is credited with plus-12 rating when he is on the ice, an impressive stat this early in the season. The team's first-round pick from 2019, York seems to have a knack for running the offense, starting rushes and making smart passes all over the ice. He's a few years away from playing with Ivan Provorov.

3. Bobby Brink, 19, Winger

Brink was the second-round pick the year York was drafted, and he's been having a solid season as a sophomore at the University of Denver. He's not blazing fast or overwhelmingly powerful — in fact he's the opposite. At 5-foot-8, 160 pounds he's quite small, and the kind of "David" character Philly fans will no doubt cling to if he can make the jump from college to the pros in the next few years.

4. Emil Andre, 18, Defenseman

Andre is another second rounder, and another undersized player at 5-foot-9. Currently playing in Sweden, the defenseman has been noted for his talent playing at the point, and setting up teammates for high danger scoring chances. He's raw but has elite potential, which is why he's fourth.

5. Yegor Zamula, 20, Defenseman

He's a big, Russian blue-liner who made his American pro debut recently with Lehigh Valley. There are some real high hopes that he is close to being able to make an impact on the Flyers club, as he could be called upon this season if the Flyers need some defenseman depth. However, they are more than likely hoping he shows he can be effective through a full season in the AHL after scoring an insane 84 points in 89 games with the Calgary Hitmen over the last two seasons.

6. Tyson Foerster, 18, Winger

This name might sound familiar — he's the team's first-round pick from this last draft and has been credited with one of the best shots in the entire draft. He is being fast-tracked, as a first-round pick should, and recently made his Lehigh Valley debut. However, he suffered a scary leg injury and his first season as a pro is definitely at risk. We should know more about the setback the next time we write in this space.

7. Samuel Ersson, 21, Goaltender

With 22-year-old Carter Hart the Flyers' franchise goalie, there isn't necessarily a high priority when it comes to finding a young No. 1 netminder right now, but that doesn't mean Ersson isn't extremely valuable to the organization. Playing over in Sweden, the former fifth-round pick has made a big jump this season boasting a .915 save percentage and 2.83 goals against average. At 21, it's possible he comes to the states sometime soon.

8. Wade Allison, 23, Winger

Allison is the third member of the Flyers' top 10 who is currently injured. The 23-year-old second-round pick from 2016 played all four seasons at Western Michigan and ankle surgery will postpone his pro debut. The Flyers are optimistic, if he recovers quickly, he can be on the NHL radar soon.

9. Noah Cates, 22, Winger

Cates is a big lefty forward drafted in the fifth round currently playing in his third season for Minnesota-Duluth. Last season, he had 14 goals and 19 assists in 34 games. 

10. German Rubtsov, 21, Winger

Rubtsov is an extremely talented scorer who has underachieved since being a first round pick for Philadelphia in 2016. Injuries have kind of stalled his development — he appeared in four NHL games and a handful in the AHL. He is currently on loan to the KHL, where it is hoped he'll re-discover his first round form. Good luck with that — in 45 games for Sochi this past season he has just 11 points, just three of them goals.

Here's the full top 20, with 2020-21 stats:

1. Morgan FrostNHLInjured
 2. Cam YorkNCAA17 G, 14 P
3. Bobby Brink NCAA11 G, 7 P
4. Emil AndreSweden 32 G, 8 P
5. Yegor ZamulaAHL3 G
6. Tyson FoersterAHLInjured
7. Samuel ErssonSweden32 G, 2.83 GAA
8. Wade AllisonAHLInjured
9. Noah CatesNCAA22 G, 15 P
10. German RubstovKHL45 G, 11 P
11. Tanner LaczynskiAHLInjured
12. Isaac RatcliffeAHLInjured
 13. Mason MillmanAHL1 G
14. David KaseCzech/AHL29 G, 29 P
15. Mark FriedmanNHL3 G
16. Ronnie AttardNCAA22 G, 17 P
17. Jay O'BrienNCAA10 G, 10 P 
18. Linus HögbergSwed/AHL30 G, 13 P 
19. Zayde WisdomAHL3 G, 3 P
20. Maksim SushkoKHL/AHL33 G, 5P 

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