Today we begin a new series ... just in time for the NHL lockout. Over the next 26 days, we'll run down the top 25 players in the Philadelphia Flyers organization under the age of 25. We brought together a nine-person panel to vote, and as we go along you'll be able to see just how each member cast their ballot.
Here's the panel:
- Travis Hughes, Geoff Detweiler and Eric T. from Broad Street Hockey.
- Frank Seravalli from the Philadelphia Daily News.
- Bill Meltzer from Hockeybuzz, NHL.com and PhiladelphiaFlyers.com.
- Marcello De Feo from FlyersFaithful.com.
- Dustin Leed from The Hockey Guys.
- Anthony SanFilippo from PhiladelphiaFlyers.com.
- OrangeNblacK, a BSH reader who took on this same idea by himself back in July.
We presented our voters with a list of 34 eligible players -- there are more than 34 eligible players under Flyers' control, but we wanted to limit the list as much as possible to make things easier for voters. Geoff, Eric and I determined the list of players included in the form.
Eligibility requirements were simple: If you're 24 or younger on October 1, 2012, you're eligible to be included. If you're 25 or older as of that day, you're not eligible.
Players were given points for each vote cast. A 25th place vote was worth one point while a first place vote was worth 25 points. The player with the the most votes will earn the first spot in our ranking.
The list we presented for voting:
Andrew Johnston, Anthony Stolarz, Blake Kessel, Brandon Manning, Brayden Schenn, Cal Heeter, Claude Giroux, Colin Suellentrop, Eric Wellwood, Erik Gustafsson, Fredric Larsson, Jakub Voracek, Jason Akeson, Luke Schenn, Marc-Andre Bourdon, Marcel Noebels, Matt Mangene, Matthew Konan, Michael Parks, Nick Cousins, Nick Luukko, Niko Hovinen, Oliver Lauridsen, Reece Willcox, Scott Laughton, Sean Couturier, Shane Harper, Shayne Gostisbehere, Taylor Leier, Tye McGinn, Tyler Brown, Valeri Vasiliev, Wayne Simmonds and Zac Rinaldo.
Two other players received votes: Marcello from Flyers Faithful asked to write in Petr Placek so we went ahead and included him on Marcello's ballot. OrangeNblacK did this months ago and thus wasn't in on our eligibility rules, so he included soon-to-be 25-year-old Harry Zolnierczyk on his ballot. Neither player made the top 25.
Have a drink for Nick Luukko, the only player listed who received zero votes. Apparently, none of us fear the power of Nick's dad, Flyers president Peter Luukko.
Here's a look at the players who did get votes but didn't crack the the top 25:
35. Reece Willcox
Acquired with the 141st pick in June's NHL Draft, Willcox is a defenseman who will be attending Cornell University this fall. He played in the Junior A-level British Columbia Hockey League last season, scoring five goals and 18 assists with the Merritt Centennials. He's 6'3, 150. Tall and lanky.
- One 25th place vote from Bill Meltzer.
34. Valeri Vasiliev
Vasiliev's another big defenseman taken in the 2012 NHL Draft. The stay-at-home guy out of Spartak Moscow's junior club in Russia played just 18 games last season at age 17 thanks to a shoulder injury. He was taken with the 201st pick in June's draft.
- One 24th place vote from Marcello De Feo, one 23rd place vote from Anthony SanFilippo.
33. Shane Harper
Harper, a 23-year-old right winger, played 70 games with the Adirondack Phantoms last season. He scored 13 goals and 14 assists in those 70 games. It was his first full season in the AHL after splitting time between Adirondack and the ECHL's Greenville Road Warriors the year prior. In 2009-10, his final junior season with the WHL's Everett Silvertips, Harper scored 42 goals and 38 assists in 72 games.
- One 19th place vote from Dustin Leed.
32. Matthew Konan
Konan, 20, signed an ELC with the Flyers back in early April. The 6'3, 190 pound defenseman went undrafted and compares himself to Chris Pronger -- prides himself on staying calm in the defensive end and on making a strong outlet pass. He played with the Medicine Hat Tigers of the WHL last season and could find himself on the Phantoms this fall in his first pro action.
- One 24th place vote from Geoff Detweiler, one 23rd place vote from Travis Hughes, one 22nd place vote from Bill Meltzer.
31. Petr Placek
Placek, 19, was selected 176th overall by the Flyers in 2011. He played just 16 games in his first collegiate season with Harvard last season. It'll be interested to keep an eye on him this coming season in the ECAC.
- One 17th place vote from Marcello De Feo.
30. Taylor Leier
Two 25th place votes (Geoff Detweiler, OrangeNblacK), one 24th from Dustin Leed, one 23rd from Bill Meltzer, one 22nd from Frank Seravalli.
29. Harry Zolnierczyk
We all know all about Harry Z.
- One 14th place vote from OrangeNblacK. Remember, Harry Z wasn't eligible on the other ballots.
28. Colin Suellentrop
Another stay-at-home defenseman, Suellentrop was drafted 116th overall by the Flyers in 2011. The Flyers like drafting big, stay-at-home defensemen if you didn't know. He's entering his fourth season with the Oshawa Generals of the OHL this coming season. Last year, he scored two goals and 15 assists in 67 games played.
- One 22nd place vote from OrangeNblacK, one 21st place vote from Anthony SanFilippo, one 18th place vote from Frank Seravalli.
27. Michael Parks
Parks was drafted by the Flyers with the 149th pick in the 2010 draft. The 20-year-old forward played with the Cedar Rapids Roughriders from 2009 to 2011, joining the University of North Dakota for his freshman season last year. He played 42 games with the Fighting Sioux, scoring 12 goals and 10 assists in those games.
- One 24th place vote from Bill Meltzer, one 21st place vote from Frank Seravalli, one 16th place vote from Dustin Leed.
26. Fredric Larsson
Another defenseman! Another big defenseman! The Flyers have a lot of these dudes. Larsson was selected by the Flyers with the 111th pick in June's draft. He likely won't be in North America this season.
- One 24th place vote from Frank Seravalli, one 23rd place vote from OrangeNblacK, one 21st place vote from Marcello De Feo, one 18th place vote from Anthony SanFilippo.
We'll start tomorrow with No. 25.