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July 11, 2024

Flyers prospects: How close are Oliver Bonk, Denver Barkey, and more to the NHL?

Matvei Michkov is on his way, Jett Luchanko is going to take a while, but how close are other prospects like Oliver Bonk, Denver Barkey, Hunter McDonald, and even Alex Bump to cracking the NHL?

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Oliver-Bonk-Dev-Camp-Flyers-2024.jpg Nick Tricome/PhillyVoice

Flyers prospect Oliver Bonk's trajectory is taking him toward the NHL.

The Flyers held their annual development camp last week and left it with prospects having shown some dramatic improvements and points of progress that have them on various different trajectories. 

Matvei Michkov is coming over now, so there's no need to worry about that one anymore. Other notable names in the Flyers' system might soon be knocking on the NHL door after a bit more time in juniors or college, too, while others are going to need more reps and minutes to figure things out. 

And the goalies like Carson Bjanarson and Yegor Zavragin? Well, they'll probably be the very last to fully develop and break through as goalies often are. 

But as a means to gauge how close, or how far, the numerous Flyers prospects are to possibly reaching the NHL, here's a look at the organization's draft classes from the past six years, along with each pick's current team, level, and contract status...

(And a note before we get started: Hat tip to HockeyDB, Elite Prospects, and CapFriendly for keeping all the archived draft history and contract info. Thank you, CapFriendly. Goodbye, CapFriendly.)


Pos. Player RD (pk) Age Current Team Status 
C Jett Luchanko 1 (13) 17 Guelph (OHL) Signed (ELC) 
C Jack Berglund 2 (51) 18 Färjestad BK J20 (SWE) Unsigned 
D Spencer Gill 2 (59) 17 Rimouski (QMJHL) Unsigned 
C Heikki Ruohonen 4 (107) 18 U20 SM-sarja (FIN) Unsigned 
RW Noah Powell 5 (148) 19 Ohio State (NCAA) Unsigned 
RW Ilya Pautov 6 (173) 18 Krasnaya Armiya (RUS) Unsigned 
D Austin Moline 7 (205) 18 Northern Michigan (NCAA) Unsigned 

• Give this class a few years. Luchanko will have the cloud of being a reach at 13th overall over him for a while, but still only 17, he already has excellent skating and vision that he makes good use of across all 200 feet of the ice. Gill is a big, lanky, and physical defenseman who presents a promising project to Sam Morin and the Flyers' player development staff over the next several years. Likewise, Berglund is a big, puck-controlling/protecting center who is developing a solid all-around toolkit, but will need to work on his skating in the seasons to come. And Powell is a hard-skating power forward who is heading off to Ohio State for a bit, but can definitely flash some offensive skill himself.

Still, they're all going to need time.


Pos. Player RD (pk) Age Current Team Status 
RW Matvei Michkov 1 (7) 19  Flyers (NHL)Signed (ELC) 
 D Oliver Bonk1 (22) 19 London (OHL) Signed (ELC) 
 G Carson Bjarnason2 (51) 19 Brandon (WHL) Signed (ELC) 
G Yegor Zavragin 3 (87) 18 SKA-Neva (RUS) Unsigned 
C Denver Barkey 3 (95) 19 London (OHL) Signed (ELC) 
C Cole Knuble 4 (103) 20 Notre Dame (NCAA) Unsigned 
LW Alex Ciernik 4 (120)19 Nybro (SWE) Unsigned 
D Carter Sotheran 5 (135) 19 Portland (WHL) Unsigned 
C Ryan MacPherson 6 (172) 19 New Hampshire (NCAA) Unsigned 
D Matteo Mann 7 (199) 19 St. John (QMJHL)/
Reading (ECHL) 

• ICYMI: Michkov is coming over

Bonk looked like a much more complete and smarter defenseman in development camp, and while he's more than likely looking at one more year in London, he might not be all that far off. "He looks like he's played pro hockey already," Riley Armstrong, the Flyers' director of player development, said last week at camp.

Barkey, the other piece to the London duo, is likely headed back to the Knights, too, but this time with another (arguably better) shot at making Canada's World Junior roster after his offense spiked from missing the cut last year.

Ciernik verified during camp that concussions were what took away a huge chunk of his season last year, but the Flyers are still big fans of his game and are hoping that a bounce-back season in Sweden this year will set the stage for a jump over to North America – presumably to start playing in the AHL with the Phantoms. 

"You watch him in drills, he's got an elite skillset as far as his edges, his hands, his ability when he has time and space, he's got the puck on a string," assistant GM Brent Flahr said on Saturday. "I think he's at a younger stage in his game. He's gonna hopefully have success this year and grow his gameplay with the Elite League, have success, and then bring him over. He has a longer path. We knew that when we drafted him, but he's got lots of tools to work with, for sure."

MORE: Luchanko, Zamula sign, other Flyers thoughts as dev camp wraps


Pos. Player RD (pk)  AgeCurrent Team Status 
LW Cutter Gauthier 1 (5) 20  Anaheim (NHL)Traded 
RW Devin Kaplan 3 (69) 20 Boston (NCAA) Unsigned 
 LW Alex Bump5 (133) 20  Western Michigan (NCAA)Unsigned
D Hunter McDonald 6 (165) 22 Phantoms (AHL) Signed (ELC)
RW Santeri Sulku 7 (197) 20 IPK (FIN) Unsigned 
RW Alexis Gendron 7 (220) 20 Phantoms (AHL) Signed (ELC) 

Gauthier happened. He's in Anaheim now. A year has already burned off of his entry-level contract just from playing one game last season with the Ducks. It's what it is at this point.

Bump had a big freshman season at Western Michigan with 14 goals and 36 points through 38 games, and after three development camps since he's been drafted, Flahr seemed very impressed with how far the 20-year old winger has come.

"I look at players at different levels who have been here a number of times before but a guy like Bump, for me, every year he's been here you see a dramatic improvement," Flahr said Saturday. "He looks like an NHL player to me going forward. He's an exciting guy."

He just can't sign until his college career wraps up.

• It's no secret: The Flyers really like McDonald as a big, stay-at-home, throwback-type of defenseman. He'll have a spot on the Phantoms this year, and whether he makes the move up to the NHL sooner or later will probably come down to how well his skating and speed of decision-making develop.

"He's a throwback," Nick Schultz, the Flyers' assistant director of player development, said last week. "You see kids now, I think we lack the physicality around our net and playing hard in the corner, that just comes natural to him. That's the way he plays... He plays hard. He makes it hard on forwards cutting to the front of the net, in the corners, and I think the difference from him from maybe the old-school D like that is that he can skate. He's an unbelievable skater."


Pos. Player RD (pk)  AgeCurrent Team Status 
RW Samu Tuomaala 2 (46) 21 Phantoms (AHL) Signed (ELC)
G Alexei Kolosov 3 (78) 22 Phantoms (AHL)  Signed (ELC)
D Brian Zanetti 4 (110)21 SCL Tigers (SUI)  Unsigned
 D Ty Murchison5 (158) 21Arizona State (NCAA) Unsigned 
D Ethan Samson 6 (174) 20 Phantoms (AHL) Signed (ELC) 
C Owen McLaughlin 7 (206) 21 North Dakota (NCAA) Unsigned 

Tuomaala definitely has the makings of a great winger. The 21-year old can fly up and down the ice, and snap off a lightning-quick shot before you can even blink. He just still needs to figure out how to wrap that all together into a consistent package. He had it in stretches last season on the way to scoring 15 goals and 43 points for the Phantoms, but did slump down the stretch of the regular season. He's likely looking at more reps in the NHL. 

Kolosov is signed and did come over late last season from Belarus to join the Phantoms, but went back home for the summer and has stayed there since. The 22-year old netminder wasn't at development camp, and what exactly his situation is isn't entirely clear. GM Danny Brière and the organization have been holding to the position that Kolosov will return to play for the Phantoms this season. However, that doesn't exactly feel certain.


Pos. Player RD (pk) Age Current Team Status 
RW Tyson Foerster 1 (23) 22 Flyers (NHL) Signed (ELC) 
D Emil Andrae 2 (54) 22 Phantoms (AHL) Signed (ELC)
RW Zayde Wisdom 4 (94) 22  Phantoms (AHL)Signed (ELC) 
 LW Elliot Desnoyers5 (135) 22 Phantoms (AHL) Signed (ELC) 
RW Connor McClennon 6 (178) 22 Univ. of Alberta (USports, CAN) Never Signed

Foerster earned a full-time NHL role last season and netted 20 goals, even while he was sticking to a defense-first approach. He's a Flyer, and will be an important one moving forward. Former GM Chuck Fletcher hit on this one, but when it came to preserving picks or at the very least maximizing their value in trades between here and in 2021...yeah, not so much. 

Andrae made the team out of camp last season, but was quickly overwhelmed by the pace of NHL play and got sent down to the Phantoms for steadier minutes and reps. The 22-year old Swede can be an effective puck-moving defenseman, but just needed time to adapt to the pace of the North American game and the dimensions North American-sized rink. He might still need more for this coming season, but it stands to reason that another NHL look for him will open up soon.

MORE: How Jett Luchanko's speed makes him 'a special player' and key to the Flyers


Pos. Player RD (pk) Age Current Team Status 
D Cam York1 (14)23 Flyers (NHL) Signed 
RW Bobby Brink 2 (34) 23 Flyers (NHL) Signed 
 D Ronnie Attard3 (72) 25 Phantoms (AHL) Signed 
D Mason Millman 4 (103) 22 Reading (ECHL) Unsigned 
 RW Egor Serdyuk6 (165) 23 Metallurg (RUS) Never Signed 
G Roddy Ross 6 (169) 24 Univ. of Saskatchewan (USports, CAN) Never Signed
RW Bryce Brodzinski 7 (196) 23  Minnesota (NCAA)Never Signed 

York has developed far enough along to be a top-pairing defenseman alongside Travis Sanheim, and he's still growing when it comes to his game. Brink made the team out of camp last year, needed to go back down to the AHL for a bit, but then came back and has shown flashes of some effective offensehe also just re-upped on a two-year deal. And Attard has been on the NHL/AHL bubble for a bit now, but did get time with the Flyers toward the end of last season and could make a push to stick to the roster with a good training camp in a couple of months. 

So that's one regular defenseman, a winger who can hang in the NHL but is still finding his footing, and one more blueliner looking for that last breakthrough. Not too bad, but the back half of the 2019 Flyers draft class ended up a wash. 

MORE: How Denver Barkey became 'the guy' for the London Knights

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