Philadelphia Flyers

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.

Gunn's bullet points: Run game comes alive and a kicker saves the day

Gunn's bullet points: Run game comes alive and a kicker saves the day

Five bullet points from the Eagles' 27-24 win over the Giants in their home opener (see breakdown).

• The smallest guy on the field was the biggest hero Sunday. Jake Elliott's 61-yard field goal on the final play of the game saved what could have been a disaster. Wide receiver Torrey Smith said, "We didn't even know he could kick it that far." Other players admitted they had hardly spoken to Elliott in the two weeks he's been here, but they would definitely go out of their way to exchange words with him in the future.

• Thirty-nine (39?!?!) rushing attempts in one game! The Birds had a grand total of 41 attempts in the first two games. The Giants came into this affair allowing 133.5 yards per game on the ground. The Eagles busted them up for 193. Wendell Smallwood told me, "We just knew where the holes would be after watching them on tape." Lane Johnson added, "We did a great job of mixing up our runs inside, outside, mix directions and delay runs."

• The Giants' trio of Odell Beckham Jr., Brandon Marshall and Sterling Shepard combined for 24 catches, 278 yards and three touchdowns. They killed the Eagles on slant routes. Considering how depleted the Eagles' secondary was, Jalen Mills said they wanted to keep everything in front of them. When I asked cornerback Patrick Robinson why they played Beckham so much in single coverage, he responded, "We didn't think he was that healthy, but in the second half, we found out otherwise."

• As if the Birds' defense wasn't banged up enough going into this game, they lost Fletcher Cox and Jordan Hicks along the way. Safety Rodney McLeod, who was a scratch for this game, told me he will be ready for Philip Rivers and the Chargers next week.

• Numerous players said they were proud of the way the team came together in unity in response to President Trump's comments. Alshon Jeffery told me, "It doesn't make a difference if you're black or white, we are all in this together."

Flyers camp notes, quotes and tidbits: Roster chatter, Nolan Patrick's status, more

Flyers camp notes, quotes and tidbits: Roster chatter, Nolan Patrick's status, more

VOORHEES, N.J. — The Flyers play a preseason back-to-back set when they visit the Rangers on Monday, then host them Tuesday.

With such a schedule setup, head coach Dave Hakstol already has two lineups in mind as the Flyers continue their evaluation for the opening night roster. The training camp roster is technically at 29, but with three players injured (Cole Bardreau, Colin McDonald, Anthony Stolarz), it's actually at 26 and must be down to 23 by the Oct. 4 season opener.

The obvious roster hopefuls are forwards Nolan Patrick, Oskar Lindblom, Scott Laughton, Taylor Leier and Mike Vecchione, and defensemen Robert Hagg, Sam Morin and Travis Sanheim.

"Everybody that's here is still in the mix," Hakstol said after practice Sunday at Flyers Skate Zone. "I said it a couple days ago, this is when the competition gets pretty high."

If Sunday's practice combinations are any indication of what Monday's lineup will look like at Madison Square Garden, Travis Konecny, Vecchione, Leier and Lindblom will be extras. They were the four-man rotational line Sunday.

Hakstol said there could be some differences from the groupings Sunday when it comes to Monday's game. However, he does hope to play each bubble player at least one of the two games. So whoever sits Monday is more than likely to play Tuesday.

Eyes on Patrick
Patrick is feeling better and better.

After assisting Shayne Gostisbehere's overtime winner in Wednesday's 3-2 preseason split-squad win against the Islanders, Patrick played 16:50 Thursday in the 2-1 OT loss to the Bruins at TD Garden. The No. 2 overall pick saw some power-play time, had a few shots on goal and a pair of takeaways.

"Last game was the most comfortable I've felt," Patrick said Sunday.

He's now played in three preseason games, as well as the rookie game.

Patrick centered Jordan Weal and Wayne Simmonds on the second unit at practice, a spot in which suits his strengths playing between two finishers with a good blend of ways to score.

Look for that line to stick Monday.

"We've only had one game together, but I think Simmer's obviously a top player in the league, he was an All-Star last year, he can put the puck in the net and make plays," Patrick said. "So he's big down low to create space. Jordan's great offensively, he's got a lot of speed, so I just try to play smart and find them when they're open and make plays."

Sound with studs
Hagg has put together a strong camp and preseason.

The 22-year-old defenseman is well-groomed and prides himself on play in his own end. Playing alongside Gostisbehere doesn't hurt, either. It allows Gostisbehere to focus a bit more on producing offensively because Hagg understands his defensive role.

The last two days, Hagg has been paired with Ivan Provorov.

With those two, he isn't complaining and seems to relish being the complementary piece.

"They're pretty good guys to play with," Hagg said.

"I don't mind it. Let them do their job and I'm taking care of the defense, kind of what I did last year, as well. Start getting used to it and I don't have any problems with it.

"I think my best game is in the D-zone, shutting down guys, 1-on-1 battles. And then sure, I can follow up in the game and find some pucks here and there. But my main focus is to be good in the D-zone, take care of that and the rest will take care of itself."

Roster two cents
Vecchione has played only two preseason games thus far and he was among the four-man line at practice. He should play at least one of these games on the back-to-back, but at this point, he looks like he'll start the season at AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley. There just isn't a spot for the rookie forward right now and he won't be on the roster to be an extra man.

Laughton seems to be a safe bet to make the Flyers' roster. He's been playing in the exact role the Flyers are hoping for him and he proved growth to general manager Ron Hextall last season with the Phantoms.

Leier has done everything you'd ask for from a guy fighting for a spot. However, the numbers game likely pegs him at Lehigh Valley to start 2017-18.

Nonetheless, Hakstol has been impressed by the 23-year-old winger, who had a two-goal game Wednesday in the 3-2 split-squad win at the PPL Center.

"It's about playing his role, what his role is," Hakstol said. "Taylor's a responsible two-way forward. When he's been with us, he's played in that third, fourth-line wing type of role, he's killed penalties — that's his chair. He's done a good job of that so far in camp and that's why he's got himself solidly in the mix."

Can't get enough
Weal is always getting in extra work.

Ever since coming to the Flyers in the January 2016 Vinny Lecavalier trade, he is often the first player on the ice before practice even starts. On Sunday, he was the last one off of it with Konecny. Together, the two took in some bonus ice time.

The 25-year-old Weal just loves the rink and it's gotten him from lots of healthy scratches in 2015-16 to what should be a prominent role in 2017-18.

Quotables
"I think they're going to try to stick to it a little bit more. I don't mind it. It's like impossible to cheat now in faceoffs. But some guys, it's kind of a skill to be able to cheat in faceoffs. I don't know, I think they're going to stick to it, and if they do, it's good. Guys are going to be not trying to cheat because you want to stay in the faceoff dot. We'll see what happens."

- Claude Giroux on refs being stricter in the faceoff circle during preseason

"I had quite a few chances that game. Just being able to jump up in the rush at the right times. You're seeing a lot more in the NHL these days that a lot of the offense is being pushed from D-men getting up in the play and joining the rush and creating chances. That's something I've had as a part in my game all the way through my career. I'm just trying to bring that to this level."

- Travis Sanheim on his goal against the Bruins Thursday

Practice lines and pairings

Forwards
Claude Giroux-Sean Couturier-Jakub Voracek (more on this here).
Jordan Weal-Nolan Patrick-Wayne Simmonds
Jori Lehtera-Valtteri Filppula-Dale Weise
Michael Raffl-Scott Laughton-Matt Read
Mike Vecchione-Taylor Leier-Oskar Lindblom-Travis Konecny

Defensemen
Ivan Provorov-Robert Hagg
Brandon Manning-Shayne Gostisbehere
Travis Sanheim-Radko Gudas
Sam Morin-Andrew MacDonald

Current roster breakdown

Forwards (18)
Cole Bardreau (injured)
Sean Couturier
Valtteri Filppula
Claude Giroux
Travis Konecny
Scott Laughton
Jori Lehtera
Taylor Leier
Oskar Lindblom
Colin McDonald (injured)
Nolan Patrick
Michael Raffl
Matt Read
Wayne Simmonds
Mike Vecchione
Jakub Voracek
Jordan Weal
Dale Weise

Defensemen (8)
Shayne Gostisbehere
Radko Gudas
Robert Hagg
Andrew MacDonald
Brandon Manning
Sam Morin
Ivan Provorov
Travis Sanheim

Goalies (3)
Brian Elliott
Michal Neuvirth
Anthony Stolarz (injured)