January 31, 2019
The NHL's trade deadline is less than a month away, and the Flyers are doing everything they can to avoid being totally gutted and torn apart in a fire sale.
Prior to Thursday night's tilt in Boston, the Flyers had won five straight games and inched closer to playoff relevancy — though they still trail the Blue Jackets by 11 points for the final wild card spot. Hardly insurmountable, it's still incredibly unlikely that Philadelphia will find a way to both close that gap AND leapfrog five other teams ahead of them in the Eastern Conference standings.
Which means Wayne Simmons, Jakub Voracek, Radko Gudas, and others may be on the trade block in February — and some new blood may find its way onto the ice at the Wells Fargo Center.
All of that serves as a pretext for us to take a look at the Flyers top prospects and how they're currently performing in the minors, in college or in juniors. Here's a round up:
Joel Farabee, LW, Boston University
Farabee will turn 19 next month and is in his freshman year at BU. Philly's 14th overall pick last summer, the winger has 20 points in 23 games. He's started to turn it on offensively: his most recent highlight was a two-goal output against fledgling Arizona State last week. More impressive, he scored a hat trick in the first period of a World Juniors game in an 8-2 win over Kazakhstan before the team lost in the Gold Medal round to Finland.
Carter Hart, G, Flyers
Hart was Philly's No. 2 prospect heading into the season so we'll keep him here — though it's not hard to see his impact on the NHL level has been immediate. The 20-year-old has won his last four starts in the NHL and is 7-5 overall with a .922 save percentage and 2.53 goals against average though 13 games.
Philippe Myers, D, Lehigh Valley
The big 6-foot-5 defenseman is making his NHL case in the AHL. Myers, 21, is the second-leading scoring defender with 28 points through 45 games and is the Phantoms' leading blue liner in plus/minus this season.
Morgan Frost, C, Sault Ste. Marie
Performance in the Ontario Hockey League may not exactly be a reliable predictor of a prospect's ability to perform in the National Hockey League, but Frost's numbers in the midst of his fourth season with the Greyhounds is impressive. In 40 games the 19-year-old has 78 points, good for 24 more points than any other offensive player this season. He has 31 goals and 47 assists and a plus-25 differential, which is second-best in his league.
German Rubtsov, C, Lehigh Valley
The 20-year-old Russian didn't get much ice time this season. Season-ending shoulder surgery back in the fall cut his 2018-19 short to just 14 games, during which he scored 10 points.
Jay O'Brien, C, Providence College
Another of the Flyers' first round picks from a year ago, O'Brien is struggling to make the adjustment from high school to college. He has just four points through 16 games. His most recent goal, ironically enough, came two weeks ago against BU and Farabee.
Mike Vecchione, C, Lehigh Valley
Soon to be 26, Vecchione is playing okay but not spectacularly in the AHL. He has 25 points, including 10 goals in 45 games this season. While he does have a little NHL experience from a year ago, he's becoming more of a player who adds depth than the upside of a top 10 prospect (which he was entering the season).
Isaac Ratcliffe LW, Guelph
Though not quite as impressive as Frost, Ratcliffe — Philly's 2017 second round pick — has been dynamic in the OHL as well. The 19-year-old has 56 points in 45 games, good for a spot in the top 25 in scoring in the league.
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