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January 18, 2020

Flyers prospect watch: Jay O'Brien putting on offensive show while others look to make a name

Flyers NHL

The Flyers currently reside in a familiar place, on the playoff bubble.

And though the team has shown thus far it's capable of playing top tier hockey, it's also shown it has some growing and perhaps changing to do before it becomes a true Stanley Cup contender.

As we try to do a few times during the season, let's take a brief look into the future, as we peak at the recent accolades of 10 prospects in the Flyers' system who are currently playing the best. A few of the players we break down below will be familiar to fans — some will be new names. It will be interesting to see how many of these youngsters will be playing for the Orange and Black the next time Philly vies for a championship:

(Note: The list below does not spotlight top prospects like Cameron York, who have struggled, or Sam Morin, who have been injured)

1. Jay O'Brien (C) Penticton Vees 

O'Brien, Philadelphia's first round pick from two years ago, has had a busy two years as a Flyers' prospect. He struggled with injuries and saw himself suspended for off-ice issues as a Providence Friar in 2018-19 and is now slated to suit up for Boston University. But in British Columbia, the America has been absolutely lights out this season.

In 35 games for Penticton, the 20-year-old is back on track and slaying BCHL goaltending, with 50 total points (17 goals). This after going scoreless in seven games for Team USA and creating just seven points in 25 games as a freshman at Providence. O'Brien is on the upswing and listed as the top Flyers prospect right now by Elite Prospects.

2. Wyatte Wylie (D) Everett Silvertips 

In addition to having what is undeniably an awesome name, Wylie joins a list of formidable recent defensemen prospects for the Flyers as the No. 2 entry on our list. The 6-foot former 5th rounder has 37 points (10 goals) in the competitive Western Hockey league, the most of any non-winger on the Silvertips.

3. Yegor Zamula (D) Calgary Hitmen

Another WHL defenseman, Zamula has 28 points in 28 games. The native Russian is productive to be sure, and at 19 he has a lot of potential. He also has size, at 6-foot-3, 191 pounds. 

4. Mason Millman (D) Saginaw Spirit

Millman is a fourth-round pick who the Flyers selected just a year ago. He's leaped forward in his brief time as a prospect, with 27 points in 38 games in the OHL. Last year, also for the Spirit, Millman posted 25 points over an entire 66-game season.

5. Yegor Serdyuk (RW) Victoriaville Tigres

An 18-year-old winger drafted by the Flyers in the sixth round a year ago, Serdyuk has wasted no time. He has 11 goals and 13 assists so far in juniors, continuing the production scouts hoped to see after watching him two years ago score 70 points in 36 games as a 16-year-old.

6. Tanner Laczynski (C) Ohio State

The first of a group of college skaters, Laczynski is at home in the Big 10 averaging a point per game thus far for the Buckeyes. Drafted back in 2016, expect to see him climb the minor league ranks quickly when he graduates.

7. Noah Cates (LW) Univ. of Minnesota-Duluth

Cates is a big 6-foot-2 winger showing vast improvement in his second college season. After nine goals and 23 points as a freshman, the former fifth-round pick already has found nylon 11 times and will eclipse his 2018-19 point total soon.

8. Mikhail Vorobyov (C) Lehigh Valley Phantoms

Vorobyov made the leap to the NHL last year and didn't adjust quickly, scoring just one goal and one assist in 20 games. This year, too, the 23-year-old has struggled a bit, with three points in 15 games. He has, however, excelled in the AHL where he has 18 points in 24 games and is plus-7 when on the ice.

9. Bobby Brink (RW) Univ. of Denver

Small, at just 5-foot-8, Brink was the team's second rounder last summer and he's quickly shown he could be worthy of that choice. At Denver as a freshman, the teenage winger has 17 points in 22 games. 

10. Morgan Frost (C) Lehigh Valley Phantoms

Frost is the most exciting player in the Flyers' pipeline and he's already made an impact in the pros, scoring seven points during a brief 18-game stint. He'll no doubt be back soon, but he's on our list because he's been light's out all year. In Lehigh Valley he has 17 points in 24 games, including a two-goal output back on Wednesday.

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