Future Flyers Report: Shorthanded in net, Phantoms on brink of elimination, lose Alex Lyon

Future Flyers Report: Shorthanded in net, Phantoms on brink of elimination, lose Alex Lyon

The Future Flyers Report lives to see another week.

Before this week begins, it's time for our weekly check-in on the Flyers' prospects still playing in the AHL playoffs, SHL final, and the CHL playoffs. There is not much promise left for the Phantoms, while a pair of Swedish prospects find themselves tied in the SHL final. 

Alex Lyon, G, 24, 6-1/201, Lehigh Valley Phantoms (AHL)
The Phantoms are on the brink of elimination after losing Games 1 and 2 of their best-of-five series with the Hershey Bears last Friday and Saturday night, and things do not appear to get any easier for Lehigh Valley. Lyon needed to be helped off the ice with 11:22 left in the third period of Lehigh Valley's 5-4 loss to the Bears on Saturday night. Hershey forward Travis Boyd made incidental contact with the Phantoms' goalie. Lyon could not put weight on his right leg, according to Highland Park Hockey. With Lyon out for the rest of the Hershey series, Lehigh Valley's season could come to an end Wednesday night. Already down Anthony Stolarz, the Phantoms would likely turn to Martin Ouellette as their starter instead of forcing Carter Hart into an impossible situation facing elimination. Before suffering his injury, Lyon stopped 10 of 13 shots against the Bears. He was excellent in Game 1 Friday night, turning away 20 of 21 shots but the Phantoms lost, 1-0, in overtime.

Carter Hart, G, 18, 6-1/181, Everett (WHL)
As expected, Hart joined the Phantoms last week for Lehigh Valley's playoff run. He did not dress in either Game 1 or 2 against Hershey. Hart told CSN's John Boruk last Wednesday that Montreal's Carey Price and Washington's Braden Holtby are two of his favorite goalies and that he has studied both of their games. Phantoms coach Scott Gordon raved about the structure in Hart's game. "More times than not, the puck will hit him and he'll have the appropriate response after the save is made to make the next save," Gordon said.

Oskar Lindblom, LW, 20, 6-1/192, Brynäs IF (SHL)
Lindblom has had a quiet SHL final for Brynäs IF, which finds itself tied, 2-2, to HV71 after four games in its best-of-seven series. Last week, Brynäs won Game 2, 3-2, in overtime Tuesday, Game 3, 4-3, in OT on Thursday and lost, 6-4, in Game 4 on Saturday. Lindblom was pointless in all three games and was a combined minus-4 in Games 3 and 4. He did register 10 shots on goal and was credited with seven hits last week. Through four SHL final games, Lindblom has just one goal and is a minus-6. Game 5 is Monday.

Felix Sandstrom, G, 20, 6-2/187, Brynäs IF (SHL)
Sandstrom started just one game last week for Brynäs. The 20-year-old goalie stopped 14 of 16 shots in 63:19 during Brynäs' 3-2 OT win last Tuesday. He missed Game 3 on Thursday because of an illness. David Rautio got the start Thursday and Saturday. If fully recovered from his illness, Sandstrom should be back in net for Game 5 on Monday.

Connor Bunnaman, C, 19, 6-3/214, Kitchener (OHL)
The Flyers signed Bunnaman to an entry-level contract last Friday. He was the team's fourth-round pick (109 overall) in 2016. He scored 37 goals and 52 points as an 18-year-old this season with the Rangers, up from 19 goals and 38 points in 2015-16. He turned 19 on Easter. An interesting observation from CSNPhilly.com contributor Ryan Bright, Bunnaman was drafted at 6-foot-1, 207. He is now listed at 6-3, 214.

Philippe Myers, D, 20, 6-5/208, Rouyn-Noranda (QMJHL)
Myers' junior season is over. The 6-5 defenseman joined the Lehigh Valley Phantoms during their playoff run. He did not play in Games 1 or 2 over the weekend. It is unlikely he will play at all during the AHL postseason unless the Phantoms have to deal with injuries. Rouyn-Noranda lost its playoff series with Chicoutimi in five games last week. Myers had a goal and was a minus-5 in five playoff games against the Saguenéens. He had nine points and finished as a minus-2 in 13 playoff games. As a 20-year-old, he is no longer eligible for juniors. He will turn pro next season, either playing for the Flyers or the Phantoms.

Carsen Twarynski, LW, 19, 6-2/198, Kelowna (WHL)
Twarynski is the Flyers' lone CHL prospect still playing, as Kelowna is tied, 1-1, in its best-of-seven series with Seattle in the WHL Conference Finals. Twarynski was pointless in both Games 1 and 2 for the Rockets. Through 12 playoff games -- he was suspended one game -- he has three goals, two assists, a game-winning goal and 15 penalty minutes. Kelowna and Seattle face off on Tuesday night in Game 3 in Kelowna.

Future Flyers Report: What impact will Anthony Stolarz's season-ending injury have on future?

Future Flyers Report: What impact will Anthony Stolarz's season-ending injury have on future?

The Future Flyers Report lives to see another week.

With the AHL regular season now over-- spoiler alert: the Phantoms clinched a playoff berth -- and the CHL and SHL playoffs ongoing, there is still plenty of hockey to discuss.

So before this week begins, it's time for our weekly check-in on the Flyers' prospects still playing. This week, we'll feature a goalie who suffered a season-ending injury and a pair of Swedes who find themselves in the SHL final.

Anthony Stolarz, G, 23, 6-6/210, Lehigh Valley (AHL)
While the Phantoms clinched their playoff ticket last Wednesday night with a 2-1 shootout win over the Wilkes/Barre-Scranton Penguins, they did so at the expense of Stolarz, who suffered a serious lower-body injury and was seen on crutches after the game.

After Lehigh Valley clinched home ice in the first round last Friday with a comeback 5-4 win over Providence, coach Scott Gordon confirmed Stolarz will miss the postseason and will be out three-to-four months, according to Highland Park Hockey's Tony Androckitis.

With his season over -- one that saw a few call-ups and NHL games -- Stolarz now heads into the summer with several questions to be answered. Since the Flyers re-signed Michal Neuvirth, they now have the option to protect either Neuvirth or Stolarz in the expansion draft, which will take place from June 18-20, but selections will be announced June 21.

Expansion draft aside, there are other questions surrounding Stolarz and the Flyers' goaltending situation in 2017-18. Despite re-signing Neuvirth, Hextall and Steve Mason both did not shut the door on Mason coming back next season last week, though Mason made it clear he's not open to returning if it was another season of platooning in net.

Mason also made it known that he is open to mentoring a young goalie -- such as Stolarz -- and understands the Flyers have a few kids coming up in the ranks; he just doesn't believe platoons work with goaltenders and rightfully pointed to Tampa and St. Louis as examples.

All signs still point to Mason leaving, however. Hextall said he believes Neuvirth will bounce back after a tough 2016-17, and gave pause when asked if he believes Stolarz will be ready for a full-time NHL backup job, leaving the door open for the team signing a short-term veteran backup netminder. There is also the slim possibility Hextall brings back both Mason and Neuvirth, promising Mason the No. 1 job. The answers to these questions will begin with the expansion draft because the Flyers have to protect either Neuvirth or Stolarz. If Neuvirth is unprotected and Vegas drafts him, it would then be likely Hextall tries to re-sign Mason. If Stolarz is unprotected and Vegas drafts him, Stolarz leaves. Then there's the possibility Vegas stays clear of both goalies no matter who's unprotected.

Goaltending will once again provide plenty of entertainment as the offseason approaches. There are several different scenarios that could play out that directly impact Stolarz. For now, though, the 23-year-old will spend the summer rehabbing his lower-body injury.

Stolarz finished 18-9-0 with a 2.92 goals-against average and .911 save percentage and one shutout in 29 games with the Phantoms this season. It was an up-and-down campaign in Lehigh Valley, but he did perform well in an extremely small sample size with the Flyers.

Oskar Lindblom, LW, 20, 6-1/192, Brynäs IF (SHL)
As expected, Lindblom will be coming to North America full-time for the 2017-18 season, Brynäs IF coach Thomas Berglund confirmed to Swedish newspaper Expressen. Flyers general manager Ron Hextall said last week that Lindblom has "come a long way since his draft year," and hopes the Swede will be here competing for a spot in training camp.

On the ice last week, Lindblom played a major factor into Brynäs IF beating Frölunda, 4-3, in seven games to advance to the SHL final, which began Sunday with HV71. Lindblom picked up two assists in Brynäs' 6-0, Game 6 win over Frolunda last Wednesday. He had a goal in Brynäs' 5-2 loss in Game 1 of the final against HV71 on Sunday.

But it was his performance in Game 7 on Saturday that stood out most, as he registered two goals and an assist in Brynäs' 3-1 series-clinching victory. He helped Brynäs take a 1-0 lead in the opening minute, throwing a shot off Frölunda goalie Johan Gustafsson's pads, leaving a rebound for Juuso Ikonen to put in. He then scored his first of the game, backhanding a rebound past Gustafsson to put Brynäs up, 2-0. With Brynäs up, 2-1, Lindblom capped off his game with a wicked wrister past Gustafsson to secure the win for Brynäs.

It was the type of effort Brynäs has come to expect from Lindblom this season. The winger has consistently been the team's best player and one of the SHL's top players all season long.

"A fantastic player who has had a grim development this year," Berglund told Expressen. "I've never seen a player who had such a development. He really has gone from strength to strength, both as a player and as a person."

Felix Sandstrom, G, 20, 6-2/187, Brynäs IF (SHL)
Sandstrom deserves just as much credit for Brynäs IF's advancing to the SHL final as Lindblom does, as the goaltender came up with two enormous performances in goal in Games 6 and 7 to help Brynäs come back from down, 3-2, to win the series, 4-3. Let's highlight his Game 7 performance, an effort that saw Sandstrom turn away 37 of 38 shots in a high-pressure situation. He consistently answered the bell, positioned himself well and didn't bend in a win-or-go-home game. His lone blemish saw a puck bounce off his own defenseman. An incredibly impressive performance for a 20-year-old in that situation, especially considering he pitched a 32-save shutout in Game 6 down 3-2 in the series.

Carter Hart, G, 18, 6-1/181, Everett (WHL)
Hart will get a taste of professional postseason hockey … at least as a backup. Hart joined the Phantoms on Sunday, according to The Everett Herald's Jesse Geleynse, on an amateur tryout contract (ATO). He will back up Alex Lyon in the postseason. It's unlikely he will play, however. With Hart's season coming to an end after Everett was swept by Seattle in the second round of the WHL playoffs, Hart was free to Lehigh Valley on the ATO. Hart finished the 2016-17 season 32-11-6 with a 1.99 goals-against average and .927 save percentage with nine shutouts. He led the WHL in GAA, save percentage and shutouts. He was named the WHL Western Conference Goaltender of the Year. He was one of two WHL goalies on Team Canada during the world junior championships.

Quick hits
Philippe Myers was pointless in three games for Rouyn-Noranda last week. The Huskies were 1-2 in Games 3, 4 and 5 against Chicoutimi. They face elimination Monday in Game 6.

• Saint John swept Val-d'Or in its second-round series and is now 8-0 in the postseason. Samuel Dove-McFalls had an assist in both Games 3 and 4 and a goal and two assists in four games vs. the Foreurs. His team will face either Rouyn-Noranda or Chicoutimi in the semifinals.

Carsen Twarynski picked up a goal in Kelowna's 7-2 win over Portland last Wednesday. He was suspended for the Rockets' 6-2 win in Game 5 Friday. Kelowna faces Seattle next.

Mark Friedman made his professional debut in the Phantoms' regular-season finale Saturday night. Friedman registered an assist and finished as a plus-3 in Lehigh Valley's 4-1 win over Binghamton that clinched the Phantoms 101 points on the season.

• The Phantoms will face the Hershey Bears in the first round beginning Friday night. This is the first 100-point season for Lehigh Valley during the 76-game season era. The last time the Phantoms had a 100-point season was 2004-05 when they won the Calder Cup.

Travis Sanheim played a key role in Lehigh Valley's comeback win last Wednesday against Providence that clinched the Phantoms' playoff berth, picking up two assists.

Future Flyers Report: Alex Lyon helps Phantoms inch closer to playoff berth

Future Flyers Report: Alex Lyon helps Phantoms inch closer to playoff berth

The Flyers' season ended Sunday night, but hockey is still being played. The AHL regular season is wrapping up this coming weekend, while the CHL and SHL playoffs are still ongoing.

So there will be at least one more Future Flyers Report after today. With that said, 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 check in on the Phantoms' playoff push, how Harvard fared in the Frozen Four and see how the Flyers' CHL prospects are doing in the playoffs. Let's dig in.

Alex Lyon, G, 24, 6-1/201, Lehigh Valley Phantoms (AHL)
For a while there, it appeared as if Lehigh Valley would have no problem clinching a playoff berth, but that hasn't been the case over the last few weeks. The Phantoms' postseason push has been slowed down by inconsistencies and a difficult Atlantic Division. However, the Phantoms' magic number to secure their playoff spot is down to one point with three games left, and a big reason why was Lyon's performance in net in a 4-2 win over Springfield on Saturday night. The 24-year-old netminder turned away 44 Thunderbird offerings and allowed just two goals in an outstanding effort. It was Lyon's second start last week, as he allowed three goals on 29 shots in a 3-2 OT loss to Hershey last Wednesday. 

Merrick Madsen, G, 21, 6-5/190, Harvard (NCAA)
Madsen's junior season came to an end last Thursday when the three-seeded Crimson fell to two-seeded Minnesota-Duluth, 3-2, in heartbreaking fashion during their Frozen Four semifinals matchup. Madsen turned away 36 of 38 shots against the Bulldogs but surrendered the game-winning goal with 26.6 seconds left in regulation -- a tough pill to swallow for Madsen, who made several big saves during the semifinal match. Regardless of the bitter end, Madsen's junior season was a highly successful one. He finished the season with a 28-6-2 record in 37 games played and a 2.10 goals-against average, a .923 save percentage and three shutouts. His .848 winning percentage finished the season second in the nation behind Minnesota-Duluth's Hunter Miska. He's a finalist for the Ken Dryden Goaltender of the Year Award, the top goalie in the ECAC, and an all-Ivy League first teamer.

Samuel Dove-McFalls, C, 19, 6-1/207, Saint John's (QMJHL)
One of just four Flyers prospects remaining in the CHL playoffs, Dove-McFalls scored the game-winning goal at 9:38 in overtime in Saint John's 2-1 victory over Val-d'Or in Game 1 on Friday. He was held pointless with four shots on goal in the Sea Dogs' 4-1 win in Game 2 Saturday night. In six playoff games, Dove-McFalls has just two points with 20 shots and a plus-3 rating. Dove McFalls, a 2015 third-round draft pick, has until June 1 to sign an entry-level contract before Flyers lose his exclusive rights, according to CapFriendly.com.

Philippe Myers, D, 20, 6-5/209, Rouyn-Noranda (QMJHL)
Myers continued to produce for the Huskies last week. In Rouyn-Noranda's 5-2 first-round series-clinching win over Halifax last Monday, Myers got the Huskies off to a 1-0 lead with a power-play blast. He later added an assist on the Huskies' fourth goal. Rouyn-Noranda scored Chicoutimi in the second round, and Myers had an assist in the Huskies' 6-2 win Friday in Game 1. The Saguenéens won Game 2 Saturday. The series resumes Tuesday.

Carter Hart, G, 18, 6-1/181, Everett (WHL)
After a 64-save, five-overtime win to send Everett to the second round last Sunday night, Hart and the Silvertips find themselves in a 2-0 hole to the Seattle Thunderbirds after dropping Games 1 and 2 on Friday and Saturday night. Hart yielded seven goals in the two games, allowing three on 33 shots in Game 1 and four on 15 shots in Game 2. The Silvertips will look to get back in the series Tuesday night when the series resumes.

Quick hits
• After an impressive first-round series performance, Carsen Twarynski is pointless in two games against Portland in the second round. Kelowna, however, is up 2-0 in the series.

German Rubtsov's season is over with a broken hand, Chicoutimi announced last week.

Robert Hagg picked up an assist in the Phantoms' 4-2 win over Springfield on Saturday night. He was called up to the Flyers Sunday and made his NHL debut in the season finale.

• Brynäs IF goalie Felix Sandstrom allowed 12 goals, stopping 63 of 75 shots in three games against Frolunda last week in his team's second-round playoff series.

Travis Sanheim had two assists in three games last week for the Phantoms. He has 35 points in 73 games this season, a solid first season playing professionally.

• After being held pointless in Game 1 against Frolunda, Oskar Lindblom had a two-assist game in Brynäs' 6-3 loss in Game 2 last Thursday and added another helper in a 4-3 Game 3 win on Saturday. The series, tied, 2-2, resumes Monday with Game 5.

Anthony Stolarz, who has been up and down between the Flyers and Phantoms, made one start in Lehigh Valley last week, a 3-0 loss to Wilkes/Barre-Scranton on Friday. He made 29 saves on 31 shots faced before being recalled up to the Flyers on Saturday.

David Kase saw his 2016-17 campaign come to an end Sunday when Piráti Chomutov lost its playoff series with HC Bílí Tygři Liberec. Kase finished the regular season in the Extraliga with three goals and nine points and added two markers and five points in 14 postseason games. He also played in eight games in the WSM-Liga, adding seven points.