The Philadelphia Flyers annual Development Camp for their rookies and prospects will get underway this weekend, and there are quite a few players to keep your eye on. In years past we have seen guys like Shayne Gostisbehere, Ivan Provorov and Travis Konecny display their skills during Development Camp, and the Flyers 2017 Development Camp will be no different.
There will be 40 players in total at the Vorhees Skate Zone this weekend. They will range from top draft picks like Nolan Patrick all the way down to a handful of players on tryout invitations.
In this piece we’ll take a look at the forwards, but make sure you check out the defensemen and goalies ready to shine at Development Camp as well.
Over half of the forty players in camp will be forwards, with 24 centers and wingers listed on the roster.
Here are a few forwards to watch:
#46 Mikhail Vorobyev (Center)
Mikhail Vorobyev (or Vorobyov) has flown under the radar a bit in terms of prospects for the Flyers. He was drafted two years ago and hasn’t played in North America since. He spent the last two seasons in Russia, playing in the MHL (their version of the AHL) as well as the KHL.
He has showed his skills against his peers in the MHL (23 points in 21 games) but was unable to get much playing time or get on the scoresheet in the KHL. However, he led all players at the 2017 World Junior Championships with 10 assists in seven games for the bronze medalists.
Vorobyev will now transition to the AHL with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. He has been likened to Artem Anisimov in the past and could turn into a good playmaking center while not sacrificing too much in the two-way game.
#54 Oskar Lindblom (Left Wing)
Oskar Lindblom has been on the radar of most Flyers fans for a while now. He really stepped it up this past season with a tremendous campaign for Brynas in the SHL. He was named the league’s top forward and should be able to transition his game to the NHL level.
Lindblom was nearly a point-per-game player with 47 points in 52 games last season, but don’t expect him to keep scoring at that rate. In fact, 47 points seems like a solid estimate for Lindblom entering his first NHL season.
Lindblom is a good two-way forward that can play in all situations. He is great on the forecheck, backcheck, in front of the net, and even knows how to put the puck in the net. He should start with the Flyers on the second or third line barring any setbacks in Development Camp now or Training Camp in September.
#63 German Rubtsov (Center)
German Rubtsov was selected by the Flyers in the first round last season and, by the numbers, some would say he had a bit of a down year. But the numbers don’t show the trials and tribulations that Rubtsov went through in his first season since being drafted.
Rubtsov was dominating the MHL, but was unable to get much playing time in the KHL with all of the veterans on the roster. He eventually got loaned to the Chicoutimi Sagueneens in the QMJHL where he displayed his full skillset. He was immediately placed on the top line and scored in nearly every game he played in. He finished with 22 points in 16 games for Chicoutimi before seeing his season come to an end due to injury.
Rubtsov was the next center in the pipeline that could become a top-six guy prior to the Flyers drafting Nolan Patrick, and his potential remains the same. He will likely spend another full season in the QMJHL before getting the chance to crack the Flyers roster in 2018.
#64 Nolan Patrick (Center)
While you may not be able to see Nolan Patrick during any on-ice activities due to his recent surgery, he will be at camp and partaking in the off-ice activities. Patrick is slated to become a top center in the NHL and could be the Flyers’ second line center as soon as this October.
Patrick is the real deal and him missing out on Development Camp won’t mean much in the long run. It’s more important for him to get healthy and 100% for Training Camp come September.
#68 Morgan Frost (Center)
Morgan Frost was the other first round pick in this year’s draft after Patrick. He was selected 27th overall with the pick acquired in the Brayden Schenn trade.
Frost is a smart and skilled two-way centerman. He was one of the fastest skaters in the draft class and has shown significant improvement over the past few seasons. He plays a heads-up game and isn’t afraid to take a hit to make a play. It seems that he is always thinking a second or two ahead of his opponent, allowing him to split the defense or find a teammate with his fantastic vision.
Keep an eye on Frost’s development as he should continue to grow in the OHL in this season and beyond.
#74 Mike Vecchione (Center)
The Flyers recently re-signed Mike Vecchione to a two-year deal, and he will be battling for a roster spot all summer long. Although he wasn’t signed initially until this past spring, this will be Vecchione’s second Development Camp with the Flyers as he was invited on a tryout basis last summer.
Vecchione will likely either be the Flyers’ fourth-line center or one of the Phantoms’ top centers to begin this season. While he may not have a high ceiling, he has a good skillset and could become a solid NHL center.
#75 Pascal Laberge (Center)
Pascal Laberge battled concussions and injuries last season while struggling a bit in the QMJHL. After scoring 68 points in 56 games prior to his draft year, he scored just 32 points in 46 games last season.
Laberge will be looking to prove himself as he enters his second season in the Flyers organization, and it all starts with Development Camp. As a second-round pick just last year he still has room to grow into an NHL player.
#76 Isaac Ratcliffe (Left Wing)
The Flyers traded up to grab Isaac Ratcliffe early in the second round. Ratcliffe was one of the biggest selections in terms of physical size in the whole draft, and he brings more to the table than just that. He was ranked by many as a top-round talent, and for good reason.
He has a huge frame, but he also has a heavy shot with a quick release and has good playmaking ability for a guy his size. He has the tools and size to become a power forward in the NHL. Ratcliffe helps give the Flyers’ prospect pool some depth at the left wing position.
#80 Wade Allison (Right Wing)
The first round picks get all of the love but you can’t sleep on Wade Allison. The 2016 second-round pick had a standout freshman season with the Western Michigan Broncos. Allison scored 12 goals and 17 assists for 29 points in 36 games in his first NCAA season.
Allison will likely spend at least another season or two at Western Michigan crafting his game, but keep an eye on him as he battles against his peers at Development Camp.
There are several other guys to keep your eye on as well, including picks from prior years like Cooper Marody, David Kase, Connor Bunnaman and Tanner Laczynski as well as 2017 selections Matthew Strome and Maksim Sushko. You can read up on the Flyers’ full 2017 draft class here.
The Flyers have gone from having very few forwards to watch in the pipeline to being nearly full at every position. Keep an eye on these forwards, and the rest of the defensemen and goalies looking to shine at Development Camp.
Sons of Penn Radio
On this episode of SOP radio, we break down an entertaining and exciting week at development camp, including who we thought stood out, discussed the depth in the organization, and then answered questions sent in from social media.
Be sure to follow Ryan Gilbert and Sons of Penn on Twitter and Facebook for analysis, insight, GIFs and more regarding your Philadelphia Flyers.
Join us on our Facebook pages to connect with us and continue the discussion. We can be found at Sons of Penn and The Orange Update. Until next time, friends.