The Philadelphia Flyers are getting set to open up 2018 Development Camp later this week, and once again the group is chock full of prospects up and down the roster. The Flyers have restocked their system and are locked and loaded on all fronts.
Earlier today I took a look at some of the forwards to watch at Development Camp, so let’s turn to the backend now and look at the defensemen and goaltenders.
There are 10 defensemen and six goaltenders on the Development Camp roster.
#59 Mark Friedman (2014 3rd Round Pick)
Mark Friedman has flown under the radar for the past four years among Flyers defensive prospects. He has been steadily improving and was one of the Phantoms’ best defensemen last season. The right-handed defenseman has a slight advantage simply due to his handedness, but he has more than that going for him.
Friedman is as hard-working as they come and always impresses in whatever camp he’s participating in: development, rookie, or training. He goes 100% and that work could pay off this season. The Flyers are looking to add a veteran defenseman and there are still a few young defensemen ahead of him, but don’t rule out Friedman on the Flyers this season.
#74 Adam Ginning (2018 2nd Round Pick)
The freshly-drafted Adam Ginning drew comparisons to a fellow Flyers prospect nearly immediately. Ginning is a few inches shorter than Sam Morin, but he is a big-bodied defenseman that plays more of a defensive style than a two-way style. He’s not horrible offensively, but he’s a defenseman that will get noticed for his work in the dirty areas and in his own zone.
Ginning split time between SuperElit (Sweden’s equivalent of juniors) and the SHL (Sweden’s professional league) last season. That experience should help him develop a bit as he’s playing against men rather than simply his peers.
Nevertheless, Ginning will don the Orange and Black for the first time this weekend at Development Camp. It’ll be a good chance to get a look at the man the Flyers drafted with the 50th pick in this year’s draft.
#61 Philippe Myers (Signed as undrafted free agent 2015)
Friedman and Ginning are simply appetizers for the main course: Philippe Myers. Shayne Gostisbehere, Ivan Provorov, Sam Morin, Robert Hagg, and finally Travis Sanheim have all graduated from Development Camp, leaving Myers in the spotlight. And it’s where he should be.
For all intents and purposes this is Myers’ time to shine. He has all the makings of a top-four, if not top-pair, defenseman. He is tall, skates well, has great vision, shoots the puck well, and is a right-handed shot. Myers was the Phantoms’ best defenseman for most of last season. He had 21 points and a +12 rating in 50 games in his first AHL season.
This is the year that Myers could make it to the NHL. Hextall and the Flyers have moved slowly with other defensemen, however, giving them at least a year and a half if not two years in the AHL before promotion, but Myers could be a special case. The 21-year old defenseman plays a professional game and is good in all situations.
Last year Myers had Sanheim in Development Camp with him to share the spotlight. This year it’s all eyes on Myers when the defensemen are on the ice.
2018 draft picks Jack St. Ivany and Wyatte Wylie will also be worth watching, and you never know who might be the next under-the-radar prospect to make his way to the surface.
#79 Carter Hart (2016 2nd Round Pick)
Carter Hart. The goalie of the future.
This will be Hart’s third Development Camp and it could potentially be his last depending how he performs this season. The highly touted prospect is slated to be the Flyers’ goalie of the future, but how soon that future might be is uncertain. He is moving up to the professional ranks this season after a historic WHL career, but you never want to rush a goalie.
Hart has a very refined game already and is positionally sound in the crease. He is one of the best goalie prospects in quite some time and that’s due to his skillset, preparation, and sense in the crease.
He’ll start the season with the Phantoms, likely splitting time with at least one of Alex Lyon and Anthony Stolarz, but if the Flyers need a goalie and Hart is playing well, who knows what could happen. The Flyers have two goalies under contract for one more season, opening up the crease for Hart in 2019 if he’s ready.
If you make it to the Skate Zone in Voorhees this weekend, be sure to check out Carter Hart during the goalie workouts. His goaltending is a thing of art.
#49 Felix Sandstrom (2015 3rd Round Pick)
Felix Sandstrom was neck-and-neck with Hart in terms of prospect rankings for some time after last year’s Development Camp, but that has changed a bit. An up-and-down season for Sandstrom hurt his stock, but hopefully it won’t hamper his development too much.
Sandstrom was out of the lineup for months due to an abdominal injury early in the season, then he signed a contract with a new team (HV71), and was kind of put on the back burner. He will return to HV71 in the SHL this season, but did dress for a game with the Phantoms in March.
Sandstrom is a more experienced goaltender than Hart, and he’s a year older. He’s likely to start for the Phantoms in 2019-20 after hopefully getting back on track in the SHL this season.
The Flyers are a bit light on defensemen and goalies to watch compared to recent years perhaps, but the handful that you should keep an eye on are the real deal; particularly Myers and Hart. Myers is inches away from the NHL and Hart is one of the best prospects in the game.
Be sure to check out the forwards to watch at Development Camp as well as the full roster and schedule for this weekend.
Photos by Heather Barry/Sons of Penn
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