Welcome to the Philadelphia Flyers prospect pyramid.
Ranking a system’s prospects is always tough, but it is especially difficult to rank a system that is stocked with a deep prospect pool at every position like the Flyers’ is.
There is usually a clear and consensus top prospect, but the waters muddy a bit as you go down the list. Once you get past the top five or ten prospects there are various viewpoints and ways to rank the prospects. Someone that is ranked eighth by some could be ranked around twelfth by others. The prospect pyramid helps solve that problem.
The prospect pyramid was popularized late last offseason when Youtube extraordinaire turned Sportsnet blogger Steve Dangle published a video on the Toronto Maple Leaf’ prospect pyramid.Much like the Flyers’ rankings this season with Nolan Patrick, Toronto had a clear top prospect in Auston Matthews, but it got a bit more disputed after that.
Rather than arguing over rankings as described above, he instead divided the prospects into different tiers.
The same can be said about the Flyers’ prospects. General Manager Ron Hextall has built up quite the farm system in his few years in Philadelphia. They have talent up and down the prospect pool now at every position.
With that in mind, I thought that a prospect pyramid would be ideal for the Flyers. In my opinion the Flyers have the best prospect pool in the league. The sheer depth of the talent in the system from Nolan Patrick all the way down into their top 20 or even 30 guys is impressive.
Let’s dive in.
Today, we introduce the prospect pyramid and look at a handful of the prospects that didn’t make it into the top five tiers, for one reason or another.
There are six distinct tiers in the prospect pyramid, the bottom tier of “everyone else” and the top five tiers ranging from one to several prospects each. Most of the players clearly belong in one tier or the other, but there were a few that straddled the line a bit. However, the prospects within each of the tiers all belong together and generally sit around the same ranking range. Rather then spending hours arguing over two teenagers that you have hardly seen play, you group them together in the same tier.
As the week moves along, one tier of the pyramid will be revealed each day: tier five on Monday, all the way up to the top tier on Friday. The tiers are ranked with a mix of talent, experience, ceiling vs. floor, and how proven each prospect is in mind.
Here are some of the noteworthy names that you won’t be seeing in the prospect pyramid.
The AHL Twenty-Somethings
You won’t see too many guys with AHL experience in the prospect pyramid. This includes goalies Anthony Stolarz and Alex Lyon, and forwards Scott Laughton, Taylor Leier, and Mike Vecchione. While these players still have potential, and could very well see NHL time this season (if not start the team with the club), they were left out of the pyramid.
Stolarz and Lyon are both on prove-it deals, Laughton and Leier have more than a few seasons of professional experience. Vecchione was the only one that nearly made it into tier four or five, but it didn’t seem right to put a 24-year old that was more than likely starting with the Flyers in a group of players that are still playing out their time in junior.
Recent late picks and rookie tryouts
Most of the players taken in the latter half of this year’s draft, as well as a few taken in prior drafts that have lower ceilings were left out of the prospect pyramid. This includes Maxim Sushko, Noah Cates, Olle Lycksell, and Kirill Ustimenko from this year’s draft, and Carsen Twarynski and Anthony Salinitri from last year’s draft.
Ivan Kosorenkov would likely be in tier four or five if the Flyers drafted or signed him, but right now he is only invited to camp as an undrafted free agent, making him ineligible for the prospect pyramid.
There are a handful of others not included, but most of them have made much of an impact yet to warrant being talked about within the top five tiers. Therefore, they fall into the “everyone else” category in “tier six.”
Like any well-built pyramid, the Flyers prospect pyramid will have a strong foundation for a base with nearly a dozen players in tier five, with the tiers narrowing slightly as you move up. In general the pyramid includes players that are close to NHL-ready, or have the potential to become an impact player in the NHL.
Stay tuned throughout the week as we build the Flyers prospect pyramid, revealing one tier each day.
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.