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Philadelphia Flyers Winter 2018 Top 25 Under 25: Nos. 10 to 6

We reach the top 10, in which we profile our top non-professional forward prospect, two promising Phantoms, and two guys who have been with the Flyers for most of the year.

NHL: SEP 21 Preseason - Flyers at Bruins
How long until Oskar Lindblom makes his NHL debut?
Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Part four of five in our winter 25 Under 25 series is here! If you missed any of the first three editions, here’s your chance to catch up:

All caught up? Cool. To the top 10 we go!

10. Morgan Frost

Primary Team/League: Sault Ste. Marie, OHL
2017-18 Stats: 28 G, 51 A in 47 GP
Rank in Summer 25 Under 25: 16

STEPH (ranked him #14): Wow, look at me being a hater. I’m actually surprised looking back that I have him this low, between Wade Allison and German Rubtsov. That Frost Character is straight killing it this year and I am very much looking forward to watching him develop. I think if I were to re-do my list I would have him ahead of Rubtsov at minimum.

KURT (ranked him #9): Frost was the one guy in this pool for which, entering the season, I had almost no clue what to expect, and I figured that come January he’d either have made the jump to high-end prospect or made us question whether taking him where the Flyers did was a bad decision. He has, uh, certainly done one of those two things. I have to admit, I did not see this big of a step forward coming for Frost, and I certainly didn’t see him being in the chase for the OHL scoring title this season. We knew that the skating ability was there for him, and he’d shown this level of playmaking talent in flashes before, but I did not see him being one of the most prolific set-up men in the entire OHL. That he’s been shooting the puck more and is 15th among OHL regulars (anyone with 25 or more games played, entering Sunday’s games) in goals per game is a nice bonus, as few pegged him as much of a goal-scorer. He’s having basically the same draft + 1 season that Travis Konecny had, and there’s not nearly the same level of buzz nationally about it. The smart money is on Frost going back to Soo next fall and ripping apart the OHL again next year, but he’s going to force the Flyers to at least consider keeping him, which is more than any of us expected when he was drafted. A risky pick for Ron Hextall at the time is currently coming up aces.

CRAIG (ranked him #12): Frost was expected to take a step forward this season because his role and time on ice was supposed to change with certain SSM Greyhounds graduating, but I don’t think anybody expected this big of a jump in production. The Greyhounds are a loaded team and Frost is a big reason why they’re dominating the OHL. He’s an amazing playmaker and, as Kurt pointed out, is scoring at a pretty good clip this season as well. His skating and vision should translate to NHL success, and it looks like a matter of when, not if, with Frost. He fell to 12th for me because I put Allison and a few Phantoms ahead of him.

KYLE (ranked him #9): Literally Craig’s first sentence. Frost has been absolutely incredible and making Hextall look like a genius for selecting him after dealing Brayden Schenn for an extra first round pick. He’s got great hands and fantastic skating, to go along with seemingly elite hockey IQ. With a strong camp next season, he very well could force his way on the Flyers roster. He’s come a long way already from the “who?” reaction many had when selected over Eeli Tolvanen.

STEPH: Wow Kyle, @ me next time.

MADDIE (ranked him #12): It looks like my ranking was one of the lower ones for him, but don’t let that fool you. You guys, I am so excited for Morgan Frost. I’ve been wanting him to do well, especially after all the shit he got for not being Eeli Tolvanen, and the product of the trade that sent Brayden Schenn away, but he’s totally blown away all hopes and expectations. His is a style that I tend to be partial to, in general, and his scoring numbers have been just insane. Kurt made the Konecny comparison, and if we have another one of those in the organization, I certainly wouldn’t hate it. Plus, I’m pretty sure he said in one of those prospect interviews at development camp that his favorite band’s the Lumineers, which I personally support. That is all.

KELLY (ranked him #9): I’m late to the party here but I am 100% convinced that in 5 years Morgan Frost is going to be regarded as the steal of the century, draft-wise. He just keeps getting better and better.

MIKE (ranked him #9): He just keeps scoring and his game has reflected his jump in these rankings. I Frost keeps producing the Flyers are, like Kelly said, going to get a huge steal.

9. Scott Laughton

Primary Team/League: Philadelphia, NHL
2017-18 Stats: 7 G, 6 A in 43 GP
Rank in Summer 25 Under 25: 12

STEPH (ranked him #6): Scotty jumped from 14 to 6 for me from this summer. I am delighted at what I’ve seen. I was seriously in doubt that he was an NHL player prior to this season, I thought he was a “quad A” kind of guy, and I am thrilled to be wrong. He can play center in the NHL and he doesn’t have to be in a scoring role. Would I like him to score more? Of course. But he hasn’t been playing with NHL talent since November. He also came up with the nickname The Honey Bees, so I think he is a sweet boy with resting serial killer face.

BRAD (ranked him #12): I was a bit surprised to see that Laughton is 6th on the Flyers in 5-on-5 primary points per 60, behind Voracek, Couturier, Giroux, Konecny, and … Weise? Dale Weise is 5th??? What in the world. OK, back to Laughton.

Laughton’s defensive impact has been noticeable, and it’s not surprising he has the 2nd-best 5-on-5 CA/60 (49.61) and 3rd-best 5-on-5 xGA/60 (2.01). I guess the only knock on Laughton for me is that his line doesn’t generate enough offense by itself, but that’s kind of expected given the talent, or lack thereof, that he’s been playing with. The only Flyer that has played lower event hockey than Laughton has been his linemate, Taylor Leier.

MIKE (ranked him #12): Laughton has been tremendous this season after kind of remaking his game and role in the AHL last season. He’s played his role super well for Dave Hakstol and really is a perfect bottom six forward that may still have the ability to put up more offense perhaps surrounded by better talent. Sound like anyone else who might have blossomed after being move up in the lineup?

CRAIG (ranked him #9): Swish. After spending time in the AHL, Laughton has bounced back to become the ideal fourth-line center in today’s NHL. He’s fast, he has good hands, he’s defensively responsible, and he has good underlying numbers. He’ll never post amazing numbers, but putting his totals in perspective with time-on-ice totals and linemates, Laughton is playing really well this season. I don’t think he’s going anywhere any time soon and I don’t think we’ll see a dip in his play.

KYLE (ranked him #13): Laughton’s season so far has been one of the most pleasant surprises of the year. It seemed like for a while he’d just never put it all together, but he’s certainly found his role in the bottom six. He’s been fantastic defensively, will most likely give you consistent 20-30 point seasons, and a pretty solid energy guy. Not every first round pick turns out to be an all-star, and that’s OK. Laughton is a damn good fourth line center and will be for years to come.

KELLY (ranked him #8): I’ve been a long-time Scott Laughton denier, but I am very glad to see that he’s finally found a good place on this team. I wasn’t sure, for a long time, that it would happen. It wasn’t a knock against Laughts, per se, it was just that there never seemed to be a good place for his particular set of skills on the Flyers. But after spending some time with the Phantoms, it would seem that Scott has accepted the role as a bottom-sixer and he’s owning it. The Honey Bees were one of the brightest spots to start this season and even after that line was dismantled, Laughts continued to play good hockey. He made a big jump for me in this ranking and he earned every bit of it.

MADDIE (ranked him #7): Yeah, I think you guys just about covered it. Seeing him thrive in his new role has been great, and a bit of a relief, given all the questions coming into this season about how he’d do and where he’d land. I think, like Kyle pointed to, the defense has been the most impressive for me. Watching him shut down Connor McDavid live, in real time, was a real marvel. Like Steph, I’d like to see more scoring, but I’m also more or less fine without it, as long as he keeps doing all the other things well.

And, of course, RIP The Honey Bees. Dave, let’s get him some better linemates sooner rather than later, please. Thanks.

KURT (ranked him #11): I think it’s funny that I went from being higher on Scott Laughton than most of our voters last summer to being lower on him than most of our voters this time around. I guess the disconnect here is that I always figured he was capable of being at least a solid third-line/great fourth-line center, and that the fact that he’s doing just that this season isn’t terribly surprising (or, truthfully, that worthy of praise). If the Flyers have him destined to play that kind of role forever, I mean, that’s fine; he’s certainly good in it and the importance of a good bottom-6 can’t be overstated. It’s just not something I’m going to rank higher than guys that I think have legit top-6/top-4 ceilings. If he ends up getting a bigger role and excels in it, we can revisit this; until then, it’s just hard for me to go crazy over a guy doing more or less what I thought he could since he became an NHLer two seasons ago. Like, if we’re all (well, almost all) gonna say that Taylor Leier shouldn’t be ranked highly because he’s nothing more than a fourth-liner, how much more credit can you give Laughton for being a “really good” fourth-liner? Some, for sure. Top-10? That’s a tough sell, I think.

8. Phil Myers

Primary Team/League: Lehigh Valley, AHL
2017-18 Stats: 3 G, 9 A in 28 GP
Rank in Summer 25 Under 25: 8

CRAIG (ranked him #8): Double swish. He’s the best right-handed blue liner in the pipeline, and when he hits the NHL he might be better and more reliable than Gudas on the right side. He’s battled through some injuries both this season and last season, but I don’t think that’s going to do anything to his growth as a defenseman. I’m not sure he’ll be on the Flyers next season, but I think he’ll definitely be there in 2019-20.

KYLE (ranked him #8): Just a regular swish for me, Craig. Myers continues to impress in the AHL with the Phantoms and has become easily the Flyers best right handed defenseman prospect. The injuries are concerning, but if he can stay healthy and continue his strong play, I definitely see him being a major contender for a roster spot come next season.

MIKE (ranked him #8): Nailed this one, finally. Myers is going to be a good one. He does everything well, and he’s a right-handed shot on the blue line, which is like gold. The Flyers’ defense group is crowded with young talent, and Myers slots in right along with the very best.

KELLY (ranked him #6): Hello, Number One Phil Myers fan checking in. Big, strong, RHD with great hockey sense. I’ll be buying his jersey. Kid’s going to be a stud.

BRAD (ranked him #9): Getting to watch Myers has been a treat, and I think I could watch videos of him skating for hours and hours. In his first few games prior to his first stretch of games missed due to injury, the numbers that Myers was putting up were incredible. In those nine games, he scored two goals, had three assists, and a 5-on-5 CF% of 56.05%. He was the Phantoms’ best play-driving defenseman, and honestly, just their best defenseman in general. Since then, he hasn’t been THAT dominant, but still clearly one of their better players. I’ve always envisioned Myers playing on the top pair with Provorov one day, but with how great Gostisbehere has played there, a long term second pair of Sanheim & Myers sounds even better to me.

MADDIE (ranked him #9): I like the sound of that.

KURT (ranked him #6): Phil “Philly Phil” Myers is probably one of the more enticing prospects of the Hextall era, which is saying something because there have been a lot of them. His offensive game that we saw in his two “post-draft” (lol remember when he went undrafted?) QMJHL seasons hasn’t quite shown up yet at the AHL level, but there’s time for that to change, and he’s a very talented all-around defenseman. As Brad mentions, the possession numbers being as good as they are is a very welcome sign. I think some personnel will have to be moved to fit him on the team next year, but he should make it a tough decision for the Flyers, and for now that’s all we can ask for. Plus, hey, a righty. Been so long since we had more than one of those on the defense who was actually good at the ice sport.

MADDIE: I think I always tend to privilege defensemen with offensive upsides above others, over the more stay at home type, so my excitement about Myers makes sense for just that reason, alone. But, even though we haven’t seen that coming through (just yet?) there’s still a lot to like. Like Brad said, the play-driving has been solid. I also appreciate his mobility, and imagine it’ll be a big asset for him once he makes the jump to the NHL.

STEPH (ranked him #12): I’m not shocked that I have him ranked lower than anyone (except Bill). I was really hoping to see him come into the AHL and flat out crush, and I don’t feel like he’s done that. I could repeat his offensive upside or his handedness that everyone else has mentioned, but that would be boring and dull. I think they’re going to overcook him in the AHL as they have been with everyone else, especially with the injuries this year.

7. Oskar Lindblom

Primary Team/League: Lehigh Valley, AHL
2017-18 Stats: 13 G, 16 A in 41 GP
Rank in Summer 25 Under 25: 7

CRAIG (ranked him #7): Triple swish. Best forward prospect the Flyers have who isn’t in the NHL. The skating was a concern when he was drafted, but that isn’t a problem any longer. He showed flashes of the player he’ll be when he’s in the NHL this preseason and is currently top ten in the AHL for scoring among rookies. He could have been in the NHL this season, and may even be up near the end of the season, but he’s a lock to be on the team next season.

KYLE (ranked him #7): NOW I GOT THAT DOUBLE, I’M COMIN’ FOR YOU CRAIG! Oskar Lindblom answered a question of mine on Twitter during dev camp so I will love him forever thank you. (He’s also pretty good at hockey and really starting to tear up the AHL.)

MIKE (ranked him #7): I don’t feel the need to toot my own horn on this one, but hey, beep-beep. Lindblom is an exciting forward talent that will help the Flyers sooner rather than later. He’s getting some extra seasoning in Lehigh Valley, but he’s pretty darn close to being NHL-ready and likely would be up with the big club if it weren’t for the hot veteran garbage that Hakstol and Hextall have decided they need to have around.

BRAD (ranked him #8): From a production standpoint, he had a bit of a slow start to his AHL career, but boy, have there been a couple games in which he’s looked flat out dominant. Technically, he’s been just a break-even Corsi player, but that number has been trending up over the past two months. He generates 5-on-5 high danger chances better than any Phantom not named Martel and has the best 5-on-5 HDCF% over the past 20 games (57.50%). If he keeps playing at this high of a level, I’d have to think that we’ll see his NHL debut soon.

KELLY (ranked him #10): I don’t know about you people but I saw his shortie from this weekend’s game and I wish I could move him up to #1. #10 with a bullet, in my opinion.

MADDIE (ranked him #6): A thing of beauty!

KURT (ranked him #10): Whooo, yeah, that was purty, wasn’t it? Anywho, Lindblom not making the team and getting out to a cold start with the Phantoms probably lingered in my head more than it should’ve when I put him this low, but it seems clear that things have been moving in the right direction for him since then, what with him being an AHL All-Star and all. I was very begrudgingly OK with the Flyers giving him some time to get used to the North American game — time that, based on his first month or so with the Phantoms, he probably needed — and his not coming right in and dominating maybe is something I’m unfairly holding against him. But with how things are going, he should probably be the first call-up option were a meaningful forward injury to take place, and I’m excited to see him get started at the NHL level.

MADDIE: I’m gonna be honest: I thought there was more than a pretty good chance that Lindblom would the team out of camp this year. The time in Lehigh Valley seems to still be serving him well, and it was great to see him finally getting settled after the slow start and generating more offense. I think it’ll be hard to keep him down for much longer, and I expect him to make some noise, come next training camp.

STEPH (ranked him #11): I am right there with you Maddie, I thought he was a lock. And then we got stuck with Jori Lehtera. I actually don’t hate the path that he’s taking, even though I was furious at the time. I think the only reason for this is because I wish it would’ve been possible for Nolan Patrick to spend some time in the AHL.

6. Travis Sanheim

Primary Team/League: Philadelphia, NHL
2017-18 Stats: 1 G, 4 A in 35 GP
Rank in Summer 25 Under 25: 6

STEPH (ranked him #7): Oh Travie. Oh Travie, Travie, Travie. I am so sorry. I am sorry for what they are doing to you. You deserve better. You have played better than how they are acting. You are one of the best four defensemen on the Philadelphia Flyers and I am sorry that you are no longer there.

MADDIE (ranked him #5): Poor Travis.

CRAIG (ranked him #5): Wow. Looks like I’m a bigger Travis Sanheim Lover than Steph Driver. If we can note that and accept it as fact, that would be great. Anyways, he’ll be back. There’s not really any problem with the way he’s been playing this year; he’s just been unlucky. I think his ceiling is pushing to be number two on the depth chart behind Provorov in a few years.

KURT (ranked him #4): Wow, Craig. Looks like we’re both bigger Travis Sanheim fans than Steph. That’s pretty crazy! Anywho, I have an article RE: Sanheim that I’m working on for later this week, so I’m not going to get too in-depth here. I still think that Hextall is going to ultimately give a real chance to the first guy he ever drafted, whether that’s later this season or next season. I just hope that they’re willing to let him be good at what he’s good at, because though there are some question marks and concerns, I’m fairly confident that the Flyers have a guy who will be a top-4 defenseman in the NHL, at least.

STEPH: Wow, you’re both fired.

KYLE (ranked him #5): Dave Hakstol is dumb and Sanheim being scratched over Brandon Manning is dumb, thanks for your time.

BRAD (ranked him #6): Kyle, yes. That’s my analysis, thanks.

KELLY (ranked him #7): I don’t know what else to even say about Certified NHL Talent Travis Sanheim other than I sometimes really worry that this team doesn’t value his skillset and that scares the crap out of me.

MADDIE: This is a big concern for me, too. He hasn’t been stellar this season, but he also hasn’t been given the chance to be. The flashes I’ve seen have been really promising. There was a while there where it felt like things were this close to opening up for him, and he’d have like a four-point night and blow everybody away. And I still don’t think he would’ve been too far away from something like that, had he been given the chance. But he remains an undoubted NHL talent, and I also imagine we’ll be seeing him flex that talent sooner rather than later.

MIKE (ranked him #4): Despite being toyed with by the Flyers’ management for a good portion of the year, Sanheim is NHL ready and a dynamic talent on the backend. Frankly he should 100% be in the lineup and honing his game at the highest level. When he’s in there he’s going to make special plays and make Flyers fans very, very happy.

Voting Results (by Player): 10 to 6

Player Bill Brad Craig Jay Joe Kelly Kurt Kyle Mike Maddie Steph Community
Player Bill Brad Craig Jay Joe Kelly Kurt Kyle Mike Maddie Steph Community
Morgan Frost 6 7 12 8 9 9 9 9 9 12 14 8
Scott Laughton 7 12 9 9 7 8 11 13 12 7 6 10
Philippe Myers 17 9 8 6 8 6 6 8 8 9 12 11
Oskar Lindblom 8 8 7 10 12 10 10 7 7 6 11 9
Travis Sanheim 9 6 5 5 6 7 4 5 4 5 7 6

Voting Results (by Rank): 10 to 6

Rank Bill Brad Craig Jay Joe Kelly Kurt Kyle Mike Maddie Steph Community
Rank Bill Brad Craig Jay Joe Kelly Kurt Kyle Mike Maddie Steph Community
10 Robert Hagg Wade Allison Robert Hagg Oskar Lindblom Robert Hagg Oskar Lindblom Oskar Lindblom Robert Hagg Robert Hagg Robert Hagg Samuel Morin Scott Laughton
9 Travis Sanheim Philippe Myers Scott Laughton Scott Laughton Morgan Frost Morgan Frost Morgan Frost Morgan Frost Morgan Frost Philippe Myers Taylor Leier Oskar Lindblom
8 Oskar Lindblom Oskar Lindblom Philippe Myers Morgan Frost Philippe Myers Scott Laughton Robert Hagg Philippe Myers Philippe Myers Carter Hart Robert Hagg Morgan Frost
7 Scott Laughton Morgan Frost Oskar Lindblom Carter Hart Scott Laughton Travis Sanheim Carter Hart Oskar Lindblom Oskar Lindblom Scott Laughton Travis Sanheim Robert Hagg
6 Morgan Frost Travis Sanheim Carter Hart Philippe Myers Travis Sanheim Philippe Myers Philippe Myers Travis Konecny Travis Konecny Oskar Lindblom Scott Laughton Travis Sanheim