|First||Last||Age||Team||League||GP||Pts||P/G||NCAA Pts||AHL Pts||NHL Pts|
|Matt||Read||24||Bemidji State University||NCAA||37||35||0.95||39.1||31.8|
|Matt||Read||23||Bemidji State University||NCAA||37||41||1.11||45.8||37.3|
|Matt||Read||22||Bemidji State University||NCAA||37||40||1.08||44.7||36.3|
|Matt||Read||21||Bemidji State University||NCAA||36||27||0.75||31.0||25.2|
|Matt||Read||20||Des Moines Buccaneers||USHL||58||62||1.07||25.7||30.9||26.3|
I’m not big on long intros but here’s the general idea: It is becoming more evident that the Flyers are going to have to rely on some young guys this year. Who will battle for spots come training camp and what are the realistic expectations for each prospect. I’m using the NHL equivalency conversion factors that I found on BehindTheNet.Ca.
Jason Akeson: He just finished his fourth and final season with the Kitchener Rangers of the OHL and man did he finish strong. After a short 13 game stint his rookie year at 17 he exploded with 64 points in 56 games as an 18 year old, 80 in 65 as a 19 year old and he was among the leaders of the entire CHL with 108 points in only 67 games as a 20 year old. We signed him to a UFA entry level deal during the ladder part of the NHL season. As you can see, his last three years equated to 41, 44 and 58 AHL points, which would put him up with the Phantoms leaders. His near 40 point equivalency in his 20 year old year for the NHL is impressive, but unrealistic having never played pro hockey. I think that he should develop for at least a year for the Phantoms and could put up somewhere in the 50-60 point range in Adirondack next year
Ben Holmstrom: He has two major advantages in making the Flyers. First and foremost, he can grind on the fourth line. He was the Phantom’s MVP last year and played in every role for them. His NCAA career wasn’t overly impressive with a .73 P/G clip his Sophomore year being his peak, which is impressive, but not overwhelming (equates to 30 AHL points and only 24 NHL points). What stands out to me was his 38 actual points for the Phantoms---blowing away his highest projection of 30.9. If he can out perform his predictions for the AHL, I think it is fair to say that he could out perform his predictions for the NHL---17.4 based on those 38 points he scored last year as a Phantom. In the AHL an improvement over his 38 should be expected, I think 50 minimum.
Brenden Ranford: After being picked second to last in last year’s draft Ranford exploded in his third of a possible four years of WHL junior hockey. After a 65 point in 72 game season, Ranford started this year as the top scorer and goal scorer in the league. He slowed down towards the end but still put up 86 points in 68 games, good for top ten in the league. That 86 points translates into only 31 NHL points and 43 AHL points---so clearly he is not NHL ready. What the equivalences don’t predict is future performance, just current, so Ranford could just be a late bloomer. I think he needs a full junior year and then a full AHL season under his belt before we even think about putting his name on CapGeek.
Tom Sestito: At 25 he’s not going to be much of a prospect as much as a second-chance-kind-of-thing. He’s tough, he’s big, and he fills the “enforcer role” and has 4 points (2,2) in 11 NHL games (and 29 PIM). Unlike most “enforcers” Sestito has some offensive upside. He was PPG (64 in 60) as a 19 year old in the OHL, but didn’t do much his first two seasons. The 1.07 PPG season in the OHL translates to 38.4 and 26.2 in the AHL and NHL respectively. In his first three AHL seasons he scored between 17-23 points per season but lit it up last year with 35 in only 57 games---NHL equivalency of 22 points. I think that 22 is high for him getting 12th man minutes, but the first three years were evaluated at 12.6, 13.9 and 17 points in NHL seasons. That is a major step up over current enforcer Jody Shelley and Sestito is a much bigger and better fighter and “protector” than Dan Carcillo. If the Flyers decide that Shelley’s contract is too big and need another guy to play the 12-13th man---look for Sestito to be the 12th guy. A side not on Sestito’s injury woes: he played 66, 52, 36 and 57 games in each of the past 4 years, and the AHL has a 78 game schedule. He needs to stay healthy throughout rookie and regular camp if he wants any shot of cracking the roster.
Mike Testwuide: He was the training camp darling last year and did not disappoint with 39 points in 76 games, including a real surge during the end (20 points in last 24 games or something along those lines). In his USHL days he didn’t light up the lamp and his NCAA equivalencies from his USHL days translated to only 5 and 14 points over the full course of a season. His rookie year those predictions were spot on with Testwuide getting credit for 10 points. The next year was the surprise as he jumped out with 21 points in only 33 games. His junior year he disappointed with just 9 points but bounced back strong with a 31 point in 39 game clip---good for a .86 P/G. Those four years consecutively translated to 14.6, 27, 10.6, and 36.5 AHL points respectively. If trends predicted the future perfectly, his second AHL season should be his “breakout” year like his second NCAA season was, but Testwuide overshot his AHL predictions on year one. I think that 45-50 points is a realistic expectation from him in the AHL this year, which is where I think he will be. For conversation purposes, those 39 AHL points translate into only 18.5 NHL points---but I think that given top 9 minutes (which is what Testwuide would command, meaning he wouldn’t be a Flyer for his defense/grinding purposes) I would be shocked if he didn’t get 25 points.
Matt Read: He was signed as an undrafted free agent this past season and was a huge factor in the Phantom’s late season success. 13 points in only 11 games in his first pro stint is very impressive. There are already talks of him being a lead guy in the race for the last few forward spots available. In his one USHL season, he put up 62 points in 58 games for Bemidji State---which translate to 25.7 NCAA points. He would score 27, 40, 41, and 35 in his next 4 seasons (translate to 31, 44, 45 and 39 AHL points). I have never seen Read play. I am really excited for rookie camp to get to watch him play because based off of his stats and history alone---I’d say he’s NHL ready. I’m not ready to fully say he should be an NHL’er until I get to watch him for a little but his NCAA to NHL translations were 25, 36, 37, and 31 points. If he can come in and play a top 9 role he should be able to play at JVR’s rookie pace of 35 points for the course of the season and I could see him hitting 40. Assuming he plays a full season for the Phantoms, I’m expecting at least 55 points and I think 60 is possible. I think that Read has a great shot to be one of the first call-ups but I would be surprised if he shows the strength and confidence early on to play well enough to win a Flyers roster spot with just 11 pro games under his belt.
Eric Wellwood: And last but not least is hockeysfuture.com’s top Flyer prospect. Wellwood played well on a line with Nodl and Richards for a few games during the course of this past season and showed that he has the defensive game to develop into a bottom 6 forward at worst over the course of his career, but is he ready for that role with the big club? At 22 he’s still younger compared to most of his direct Phantom competition, but his minute 580K cap hit could prove to be the turning point in his favor as it is the lowest of any Flyer hopeful forwards In his four years in Windsor, hall put up 7, 16, 34 and 68 (this year he was on a line with Taylor Hall) points in each of the 68 game seasons---which translate to 11, 8, 20 and 37 AHL points. He put in 28 points in 73 games for the AHL club this year, falling on the average of his 3rd and 4th year equivalency from the OHL to the AHL. I think he’ll play one more year in Adirondack honing in his offensive game and I think he can reach the 40 point mark this year. If he does make the Flyers this year I wouldn’t expect a lot offensively from him: 20 on a 3rd line role and 10-15 in a fourth line role.
Below are my predictions for next year:
|Age||Name||NHL Pred.||AHL Pred.|
In conclusion there could be 5 guys on that list with legitimate shots at suiting up for the Orange and Black this year. Holmstrom has a solid all around game and is the top defensive prospect of the group. Look for him in the lineup if Powe or Betts gets hurt. Sestito is the bruiser of the group. The Flyers havn't had a big guy with his offensive potential in a while and Sestito has already had offensive sucsess and fighting sucess at the NHL level. Testwuide and Read have the top offensive potential of the group, but Wellwood might have the best long-term potential. Akeson and Ranford are both works in progress but as I said before, Holmstrom, Sestito, Testwuide, Read and Wellwood could all very well suit up for the Flyers this season at different points.