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May 08, 2024

Flyers prospect check: Oliver Bonk, London Knights reach OHL Championship Series

Oliver Bonk's power-play prowess helped push the Knights to the OHL's final round, and Matvei Michkov is over in Russia working out in Flyers gear.

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Oliver-Bonk-London-Knights-OHL-Flyers-Prospect.jpg Anne-Marie Sorvin/USA TODAY Sports

Power play specialist Oliver Bonk.

First of all, Matvei Michkov working out in a Flyers shirt from earlier this week:

Make of that what you will. 

And read about where his current NHL timeline might stand HERE.

OK, on to some other Flyers prospects who are still skating...

Knights in shining armor

Oliver Bonk, Denver Barkey, and the London Knights put away the Saginaw Spirit, 4-2, in their Western Conference final series to move on to the OHL Championship. 

Barkey, one of last summer's two third-round picks, is up to 16 points (3 goals, 13 assists) in the OHL Playoffs, including three helpers across Game 5 and the series-clinching Game 6 against Saginaw.

Bonk, last summer's 22nd overall pick, meanwhile has put up 8 points (4 goals, 4 assists) and a plus-12 rating on the back end, with all four of his goals coming on the power play, which is tied for the OHL Playoff lead between London teammate Jacob Julien and North Bay's Owen Van Steensel. 

Bonk is a smooth skater who can jump up from the blue line and contribute offensively, so the Knights got experimental with their power play setup keeping that in mind. They moved him into the bumper position while on the man advantage to get him closer to the net, compared to where a defenseman typically lines up by the point over top, and it paid off big time. 

The 19-year old potted 24 goals for the Knights during the regular season, of which 15 were scored on the power play (nearly 63 percent) all while "Bumper Bonk" became a rallying point for the team and its fans.

And in this past conference final series, Bonk netted two more (key) power-play goals back-to-back in Games 4 and 5. 

The Flyers' power play was notoriously abysmal this past season and will be in bad need of elite puck movers and shooters to make a difference on it as the club continues to build. 

Hopefully Bonk can be a part of that puzzle in a few years' time. 

The Knights will face the Eastern Conference champion Oshawa Generals in the OHL's final round, with Game 1 set for Thursday night in London. 

Phantoms on the brink

After the Lehigh Valley Phantoms swept the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in the first round with a few key names to the near future playing a factor, they just as quickly found their backs to the wall in the AHL's Calder Cup Playoffs. 

In the second-round, best-of-five series, the Hershey Bears took the first two games right away, leaving the Phantoms coming back to Allentown fighting to keep their season alive for Game 3. 

They'll do so, however, having only tallied two goals for the series so far –getting outscored 7-2 across Games 1 and 2. 

One of those goals was big defenseman Hunter McDonald's first as a pro though, so there's that at least. 

It was a good look to sneak down toward the net and draw a checker away, and a great reaction to capitalize on all the chaos in front to just get a puck on and see what happens. It worked out there. 

Still, the Phantoms are skating with their season on the line now coming back home. 

Game 3 is Wednesday night in Allentown.

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