Future Flyers Report: A look at how CHL prospects progressed as regular season ends

Future Flyers Report: A look at how CHL prospects progressed as regular season ends

Before this week begins, it's time for our weekly check-in on the Flyers' prospects playing in the AHL, overseas and at the junior and college levels.

In this week's report, we highlight the Flyers' prospects playing in the Canadian Hockey League as the OHL, QJMHL and WHL regular seasons come to an end. Let's dig in.

Philippe Myers, D, 20, 6-5/209, Rouyn-Noranda (QMJHL)
The trajectory Myers' development has taken since the Flyers signed him as an undrafted free agent in September 2015 has been astonishing. For all intents and purposes, the Flyers found themselves another first-round defenseman in Myers. If he would have entered the draft last season, many believe he would have been taken in the first round. This season didn't dispel that notion, either. Myers finished the 2016-17 season -- one mired with a couple concussions, one that cut his world juniors short -- scorching hot. The smooth-skating blueliner picked up a goal and two assists in three games last week, picking up a point in each game. He finished the season on a five-game point streak, compiling nine points during that span. In 34 games with Rouyn-Noranda, Myers reached double-digit goals (10) and picked up 25 assists. The 2-seeded Huskies will face the 15-seeded Halifax Mooseheads in the QMJHL playoffs, which begin this Friday night.

Pascal Laberge, RW, 18, 6-1/174, Victoriaville (QMJHL)
It has been a trying 2016-17 season for the Flyers' 2016 second-round pick. Last week, the regular season ended with Laberge serving a one-game suspension Friday and picking up a goal in Victoriaville's 5-3 win over Rouyn-Noranda on Saturday night. Laberge missed time this season because of a concussion and an illness and struggled to regain consistency throughout. He was a victim of a dirty headshot in October that forced him out of the lineup for a while. But Laberge did end his regular season well on a three-game point streak (one goal, two assists). In 46 games, Laberge had just 12 goals and 32 points, 36 fewer points in 10 fewer games than his total from the 2015-16 campaign. He'll have a chance to continue his recent momentum in the playoffs when the Tigres face Chicoutimi in the first round.

German Rubtsov, C, 18, 6-0/190, Chicoutimi (QMJHL)
Rubtsov missed the Saguenéens' final six games because of an upper-body injury but the Flyers' 2016 first-round pick is reportedly skating and will be reevaluated this week before Chicoutimi's first-round matchup with Victoriaville in the playoffs. If Rubtsov is unable to suit up in the postseason, his brief stint in the QMJHL was quite an impressive one. He registered 22 points in 16 games -- nine goals, five power-play tallies, and 13 assists. He was held pointless in just three regular-season games and had six multi-point contests.

Samuel Dove-McFalls, C, 19, 6-1/207, Saint John's (QMJHL)
The Flyers' 2015 fourth-round pick finished his 2016-17 season on a tear, picking up three assists in three games last week. Dove-McFalls had points in seven of his last eight games and 12 of the final 15 games of the regular season with five multi-point efforts and 17 points. He finished the season with 17 goals and 53 points in 65 games and a plus-21 rating. Saint John's is the top seed in the playoffs and will face Rimouski on Friday in the first round.

Carter Hart, G, 18, 6-1/181, Everett (WHL)
Another season in which Hart has put himself in the running for the CHL Goaltender of the Year Award, an honor he won last season before the Flyers plucked him in the second round of last June's draft. Hart helped Everett win the U.S. Division last week with three wins. Hart was rewarded with a night off in the season finale Sunday. Hart stopped 26 of 27 shots, 25 of 27 and 25 of 27 in three games last week, respectively. He finished the regular season 32-11-6 with a 1.99 goals-against average, .927 save percentage and nine shutouts. He led the WHL in goals-against average, save percentage and shutouts. Everett will play Victoria in the first round of the WHL playoffs, which begin Friday night as well.

Carsen Twarynski, LW, 19, 6-1/181, Kelowna (WHL)
Twarynski recorded four assists in three games last season as the Rockets ended their regular season with two wins and a loss. He finished the regular season with eight points -- two goals and six assists -- in the final seven games. Overall, Twarynski finished two points shy of his 2015-16 total with 43 points split between Kelowna and Calgary. He was traded from Calgary to the Rockets midseason. He had 22 points in 28 games with the Rockets, and 21 points in 36 games with the Hitmen. Kelowna faces Kamloops in the first round Friday.

Connor Bunnaman, C, 18, 6-0/183, Kitchener (OHL)
Bunnaman registered both of the Rangers' goals in their 3-2 overtime loss to Erie last Friday night. The 2016 fourth-round pick sent the game to overtime with 1:27 left in regulation, when he dove at a rebound and whacked it into the net for his 37th goal of the season. He was held pointless in Kitchener's 7-2 loss to Owen Sound on Saturday night in the regular-season finale. Bunnaman finished the season with 37 goals -- 16 power-play tallies -- and 52 points in 64 games. The Rangers have clinched the sixth seed in the Western Conference and will face either London or Owen Sound in the first round on Friday night.

Anthony Salinitri, C, 19, 5-11/170, Sarnia (OHL)
Salinitri finished his 2016-17 campaign on a roll, picking up three goals in two games last week, seven points in his final five games and 16 points in his final 15 games. Salinitri, a sixth-round pick in last June's NHL draft, potted a goal in Sarnia's 4-2 win over Windsor last Wednesday and netted a pair of goals in the Sting's season finale Friday against Guelph Storm, a 4-2 loss. His first goal Friday was a beautiful snipe from way out. Sarnia, which lost Travis Konecny this season to the Flyers, benefitted from a solid season from Salinitri, who finished the regular season with 28 goals and 30 assists in 66 games. His 58 points were third on Sarnia. The Sting will face off against 1-seed Erie in the first round of the playoffs.

Quick hits
Merrick Madsen led No. 2 Harvard to an ECAC Championship over the weekend with two stellar performances Friday and Saturday nights. Madsen stopped 24 of 25 shots in the Crimson's 4-1 win over No. 18 Quinnipiac on Friday, and 24 of 25 in a 4-1 win over Cornell Saturday in the final. Madsen was named the ECAC Tournament Most Outstanding Player. Harvard was awarded a 1-seed in the NCAA Tournament on Sunday and will face Providence Friday.

Tanner Laczynski scored one goal in four Big Ten Tournament games, as No. 13 Ohio State fell to No. 18 Wisconsin, 2-1, in the semifinals last Friday night. With Penn State beating Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game, Ohio State clinched a spot in the tournament. The Buckeyes will face No. 2 Minnesota-Duluth Friday in the West Region.

Cooper Marody picked up an assist in Michigan's 4-1 loss to No. 15 Penn State in the Big Ten Tournament. Marody's season is over. He finished his sophomore campaign with five goals and 10 assists in 18 games. He was academically ineligible during the first semester.

Wade Allison did not play as No. 8 Western Michigan was ousted from the NCHC Tournament on Friday night with a 5-2 loss to No. 3 Minnesota-Duluth. Allison was sent to the hospital on March 12 after a collision against Omaha in the quarterfinals. Allison's injury is not believed to be serious and he could play in the NCAA Tournament. WMU is in the East Region of the NCAA Tournament and will face off against Air Force on Friday.

Mark Friedman failed to register a point as Bowling Green fell to Minnesota Tech, 3-2, in the WCHA Championship Game Saturday. Friedman finished his junior season with eight goals and 18 assists in 40 games. There's been some chatter he could forgo his senior year.

Anthony Stolarz started one game last week, a 3-2 win over Wilkes-Barre Scranton on Saturday in which he turned away 37 of 39 shots, his strongest performance in a while.

• Phantoms goalie Alex Lyon started two of their three games last week, losing twice and yielding nine goals on 100 shots faced. He's started six of Lehigh Valley's last eight games and started three games in a row for the first time since Stolarz returned to the AHL.

Taylor Leier (suspected concussion) returned to the Phantoms' lineup on Saturday night for the first time since Jan. 28. He was pointless and a minus-1 in the Phantoms' 3-2 win.

Oskar Lindblom picked up two assists in Brynäs IF's 6-0 win over Linkoping to take a 1-0 lead in their best-of-seven SHL playoff series. Felix Sandstrom did not start in net.

There's a new game in town: The Philadelphia Rebels

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John Boruk/CSNPhilly.com

There's a new game in town: The Philadelphia Rebels

The opportunity to watch a Briere play again in Philadelphia will be an exciting reality for hockey fans this season.

No, Danny Briere isn’t coming out of retirement as the former Flyers forward has committed to handling the day-to-day operations of the organization’s newest ECHL team.  

However, Briere will be keeping close tabs on his younger son, Carson, who’s currently on the Philadelphia Rebels' 30-man roster and is setting his sights on making the team’s final cuts during training camp.

“It’s great,” Briere said Monday. “Growing up here for most of my life, I love Philly. It’s fun getting to play in the same city that [my dad] did. Whenever I think of him playing, I always think of that playoff run [in 2010] for the Flyers.”

After spending the past two seasons at IceWorks in Aston, Pennsylvania, the NAHL’s (North American Hockey League) Rebels are moving their operation to the Penn Ice Rink at the Class of 1923 Arena, where they made the formal announcement on Monday. It will be the organization’s third different home rink in the past four seasons after relocating from the Rio Grande Valley in 2015.

“It was a no-brainer,” team owner Marko Dundovich said. “When the opportunity presented itself, it was very easy. I think it will give the boys a better opportunity to play, get them seen and I think it’s going to continue to grow here, and our business and organization will do much better here.”

The Rebels and junior hockey simply didn’t attract a broad appeal in the Philadelphia suburbs like ownership had hoped, and as a result, attendance lagged as the team typically averaged around 125 fans a game.

“It was the first time we tried Junior A hockey here,” Dundovich said. “If we had a 300-, 400- or 500-person fan base, we would have been OK in Aston, but I think it was tough to sell a junior hockey ticket in Aston. It’s a difficult sell in a small town.”   

Conversely, hockey fans in Philadelphia haven’t had much of an alternative to the Flyers since the Phantoms left the city in 2009 for Glens Falls, New York. Rebels forward Aaron Maguyon, who stays with former Flyers captain Keith Primeau throughout the season, feels the team cannot only fill the 2,500-seat ice rink, but the players will greatly benefit from the college vibe.  

“I think it prepares us for the future and playing college hockey, for sure, so in that way, it’s like a sneak peek for what’s to come," Maguyon said. "I think it helps pull guys closer together. We have restaurants we can go to or just activities we can do in the city."

According to the league website, the NAHL set a new single-season NCAA record with 280-plus commitments, and the Rebels had 12 commit to Divison I programs. Head coach Joe Coombs has built a tier-II junior hockey powerhouse over the past two years. Last season, the Rebels finished with the NAHL’s best regular-season record, advancing to the championship game of the Robertson Cup in Duluth, Minnesota, where they came up short in a 2-0 loss to the Lone Star Brahmas. 

“This is business,” Coombs said. “Let’s bring the game to the people. Over the last two years, we struggled with our attendance. I didn’t even know this place was here — UPenn hockey rink — and we couldn’t think of a better venue right here in University City to try and market our brand of hockey and bring our game to the people.”  

And who knows? You might just see a few former Flyers in the seats, as well.  

NHL Notes: Penguins sign defenseman Brian Dumoulin to 6-year contract

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USA Today Images

NHL Notes: Penguins sign defenseman Brian Dumoulin to 6-year contract

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Brian Dumoulin has turned his steady play for the Stanley Cup champions into a new contract.

Dumoulin and the team agreed to a six-year deal on Monday that will run through the 2022-23 season and will pay him an average of $4.1 million per year.

The 25-year-old Dumoulin had three goals and 11 assists during Pittsburgh's run to the Cup this spring and hasn't missed a playoff game during the team's sprint to back-to-back titles.

Dumoulin averaged a team-high 21:59 of ice time this postseason, and his plus-9 rating was best among Penguins defensemen. Dumoulin was forced to take on a larger roll this spring after injuries forced Kris Letang to miss the playoffs.

Predators: Watson signs 3-year, $3.3 million deal
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Nashville Predators have signed forward Austin Watson to a three-year $3.3 million deal keeping him under contract through 2019-20.

The Predators announced the deal Monday.

Watson will earn $1 million this season, $1.1 million in 2018-19 and $1.2 million in the third year.

The 25-year-old forward is coming off his best season yet with Nashville. The 6-foot-4, 204-pound Watson had a career high with five goals and seven assists in 77 games this past season. Watson scored four goals and had nine points in 22 playoff games helping Nashville reach the Stanley Cup Final.

The 18th pick overall in the 2010 draft, Watson had three goals and 10 points in 57 games during the 2015-16 season.

Now, center Ryan Johansen is Nashville's lone restricted free agent awaiting a new deal.

Sabres: Okposo says he’s healthy after concussion
BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Sabres winger Kyle Okposo said he is fully healthy after a concussion led to sleeping trouble, significant weight loss and a trip to intensive care last March.

Okposo missed the final few weeks of Buffalo's season with a previously undisclosed illness. In a letter posted on the team's website Monday, Okposo said a routine hit in practice caused his mood to change and other problems that required hospitalization.

The 29-year-old said he lost his appetite, had a negative reaction to sleep medications and that at one point he weighed less than 200 pounds. He spent time in the Neuro Surgical ICU at Buffalo General Hospital to be stabilized. Okposo's playing weight is listed at 218 pounds.

Okposo played in a 4-on-4 summer league game in Minnesota with other NHL players last week and reported feeling great. New general manager Jason Botterill said Okposo was on track to be ready for training camp.

"I've worked with a lot of different people -- concussion experts and people who have dealt with concussions themselves -- and I feel confident in the fact that I can play hockey again," Okposo said in the letter. "In fact, I know I can play again. I know I can play and not worry about hitting my head, which is a major hurdle for someone who's dealt with this. If I didn't feel 100 percent right now, that probably wouldn't be the case."

Okposo's last NHL game was March 27 against Florida. He had 19 goals and 26 assists for 45 points in 65 games during his first season with Buffalo. He signed a $42 million, seven-year contract with the Sabres last summer.

NHL: Gamble to get back Hall of Fame ring
PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- A scuba-diving treasure hunter who found an American Hockey League Hall of Fame ring in one of New York's Finger Lakes is returning it to its owner.

Gary Gavurnik, of Auburn, New York, plans to return the prized ring to former AHL star Dick Gamble on Monday. Gavurnik found it with a metal detector in Canandaigua Lake over the Fourth of July weekend.

The 88-year-old Canadian-born Gamble starred for the AHL's Rochester Americans and retired early in the 1969-70 season. He was inducted into the AHL Hall of Fame in 2007.

Instead of wearing the ring, though, he gave it to his son, Craig, who wore it every day for seven years before losing it in the lake. He never told his dad and ordered a replacement.