Everyone had high hopes for Taylor Leier before the season began -- and for good reason. The former Portland Winter Hawks star was about to start his first season of hockey at the professional level, and had shown a ton of promise during his junior hockey career.
Of course, promise doesn't necessarily mean success. As Travis put it last year: "We'll learn a lot about Taylor Leier as a potential NHL weapon in the next 10 months or so."
So what have we learned?
Well, Leier didn't exactly go nuts with the Phantoms this year, putting up just 31 points. I'm not saying that's not pretty impressive for a rookie, but it's nothing earth shattering. Regardless, we all know that there tends to be a bit of a learning curve, and it sounds like some nagging injuries held Leier back in the second half of the season.
Luckily, he entered camp saying he felt 100 percent, so hopefully we'll get to see him put in a full healthy season. I'm willing to bet if he avoids injuries, his numbers will grow.
Bill Meltzer of HockeyBuzz notes that Leier probably maxes out as a third line winger, but will need to continue to make strides in the AHL to reach that point. Meltzer thinks another year with the Phantoms might get him ready, so don't expect him to make the Flyers roster this year.
Pretty much every report on Taylor Leier notes his defensive capabilities and dedication to a "two way game," so I can't imagine the Flyers -- who have targeted players like that for years -- aren't hoping for the absolute best for Leier.
Leier seems like he has a fairly decent ceiling, and I wouldn't be surprised one bit if he makes the Flyers in a year or two.
How we voted for Taylor Leier:
Who we voted for at No. 13:
|Petr Straka||Oskar Lindblom||Taylor Leier||Oskar Lindblom||Petr Straka||Anthony Stolarz||Mark Friedman||Anthony Stolarz||Taylor Leier||Samuel Morin||Petr Straka||Danick Martel|