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Hextall on Flyers' young defensemen: 'They'll start filtering in at some point this year'

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Sooner than later.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

We all know about the Flyers big prospects on defense, and now the question is "when will they be NHL-ready?"

Ron Hextall has been extremely tight-lipped on the subject, repeatedly saying over and over that they're not going to rush Ivan Provorov, Samuel Morin, Shayne Gostisbehere, Travis Sanheim or Robert Hagg. And then today, buried in a great ESPN piece by Craig Custance, is this quote.

"We've got to be cognizant of not putting our young defensemen in too early. We have to be cognizant of not waiting too long, there will be too much overlap. We're going to keep a close eye on all our young defensemen," Hextall said. "They'll start filtering in at some point this year."

We all kind of assumed that at least one of these guys would get a look this year, but there are still questions. Does that mean a player might have a chance to make the team out of training camp? What's that mean for the 400 defensemen already signed to one-way NHL contracts? If a young kid "filters in" this year, that's going to displace somebody else.

All in all, it's good news to hear -- it looks like we should expect some young blood on the defense sooner than later.