You asked, and we delivered. Even if you didn’t ask, we’re still delivering. It’s even more development camp content, folks! Over the last few days, we’ve been dropping some notes and impressions on the sessions of the day and letting those gather, but now it’s time to bring it all together. We’re synthesizing here, and we’ve picked out some of the strongest performances from this year’s camp to dig into. There was a lot to like, across the board, so this was a tough assignment, but we’re doing the tough work for you guys. Let’s dig in.
1. Morgan Frost
One of the bigger surprises and enticing little bits coming into this year’s camp was that, after being told pretty directly that is he wants to have any chance of making the NHL this year that he has to bulk up, Frost did exactly that. He’s put on close to 15 pounds since last year’s camp, and is just looking stronger. And this has added a nice little extra element to what already presents as a pretty well-rounded game.
We knew that one of Frost’s greatest assets is his skating, and the quickness and elusiveness that it provides, and this was on display through just about the whole of camp. His edges were tight and he flashed a good amount of quickness in the skating drills. In the puck control drills, this allowed him get around defenders and win a lot of the battles he was put in—he wasn’t getting outmuscled in these, either, but the skating was what was really working for him. And so too did his shot impress—with a quick release and good accuracy, this also turned heads.
And this all came together in the three-on-three tournament. He flexed his own individual talents as broken down above to register three goals on his own, but also put on little short of a clinic in setting up goals, using his quickness and the deception in his stickwork to break through the defense and set up just about double the number of goals he scored himself.
How do we close this out, now that we’ve dropped all of this effusiveness? With just one more note: many came into camp with concerns about how far Frost may be from NHL ready, and he came in and made a strong case to quell them.
2. Mikhail Vorobyev
And, would you look at that! We’ve got another center to talk about! Who may also be vying for that 3C vacancy at training camp! We’ve got a battle coming up here, folks!
Anyway, let’s get to the point. Misha Vorobyev also looked very good at this camp. And maybe this was to be expected, to a certain degree, with him having attended a few of these camps already, and having a year of experience playing in the AHL already, but all the same, he impressed. If we were to create a subgroup of players who were “obviously too good to be here” or “just on another level out there,” Vorobyev would be placed firmly in it.
As far as matching expectations goes, Vorobyev did a fair bit of this in the defensive type drills, doing well in puck controlling and possession, and shined alongside Frost in that setup clinic in the three-on-three that I mentioned above, as the two together set up James de Haas for four goals in just one game. But these were the skills we sort of knew he had already, and figured we would see on display. What was even more impressive were the pieces he showed that we don’t see as often, particularly his strength in shooting.
We’ve come to classify Vorobyev as something of a setup, pass-first guy—and, to be fair, he is very good at this—but he also showed what is unequivocally a very good shot; with a quick release and high accuracy, he was able to pick the top corners with ease, and give us a taste of (dare I say it?) and Ovechkin-like one timer from inside the right faceoff circle. There was a lot to like, there, skills shown that we already knew to be strong and others that were nice to be reminded that he has in the toolbox.
And that battle for the 3C position in training camp? It’s shaping up to be a good one.
3. Joel Farabee
OK, we’re done talking about centers now. We’re moving on to a winger. One of our new wingers. That’s right, it’s our new pal Joel!
As it seems to go every year, the some of the players we’re most excited about coming into camp are the newest draftees, and as such, Farabee garnered quite a bit of buzz heading into the week. And, you guys, he really lived up to it.
He started off a little slow—in the first day he showed some raw skill in skating and his shot, but looked a little tentative, and we saw him getting pushed around a little bit. But as the week went on, we really saw him getting comfortable, and he was off to the races. He’s still a bit of a slight boy (listed at 164 pounds on the stat sheet) and as such isn’t going to be winning all of the puck battles on raw strength alone, but he held his own and even more so used his quickness and solid skating to elude defenders, rather than trying to outmuscle them. But it was perhaps his shot that stood out the most—it was one of the standouts even in his slow start, and it was a real weapon for him in the three-on-three tournament. In it, he picked up four goals, and opened up scoring for his team in their first game when they were looking a little flat. That quick release served him well, and he was able to pick the top corners with ease, even beating Carter Hart twice in the championship game (and, word on the street is he’s pretty good and hard to beat).
So, talent wise, there’s no question that the Flyers have something here with Farabee. We’ll need to see him bulk up and get stronger, but this will come in time, and if nothing else, he’s shown that he has a very solid foundation in place.
4. Philippe Myers
Is this a surprising inclusion, considering he didn’t even skate the last two days of camp? I went back and forth for a moment on this one, wondering if Myers was fair to include in spite of that, but I’m going with it. Because, to be honest, even with missing two of those days, he was still one of the best players at camp.
And this part shouldn’t really come as a surprise—with a handful of these camps and a full year of professional experience under his belt, we figured Myers would be operating on a level above a number of the prospects in attendance, and this guess held up.
We talked about our “too good to be here” designation a few points back with Vorobyev, and even in his abbreviated showing, Myers planted himself firmly in that category, as well. Immediately evident is the physical maturity he brings—he’s a big body, but not lacking in strength, doesn’t seem to need to bulk up a whole lot, even if he says he’d like to put on a bit more weight. But he also uses this size well, holding up along the boards and using his long reach to break up passes and plays. And, paired with his ease in mobility, and little shot of a bomb from the point, he’s really pulling from all areas for a well rounded skillsest.
We’ve been saying it for much of last season, by now, and this camp really seemed to drive the point home—Myers has a ton of skill and upside, and he’s ready. Get this guys to the NHL.
5. The tandem of Carter Hart and Felix Sandstrom
I know, I know, this is a cop out. But we only had one point left and they were both very good, almost on the same level good. So we’re mashing them together and appreciating them both. I won’t apologize.
As our two high profile goalie prospects, one of the big questions surrounding the two is pretty simple—they are both good, but who is better? Who will elevate himself just that little bit higher? And, I’ll be honest here, it was a pretty even race for pretty much the whole go around.
Both showed a good level of quickness and ease in lateral movement. Both had an economy to their movements, not overplaying the shots they faced. Both has sound rebound control, and seemed comfortable in handling the puck. And, while Sandstrom got the win for his team in the three-on-three tournament, both were very solid up to an including the championship game, with he and Hart only allowing four and seven goals against, respectively, in the whole of the high-scoring tournament, and each made a handful of highlight reel saves of their own.
You’re seeing where I’m going with this? I’m admittedly not an expert on goalies, so I don’t have the tools to break down the minutiae of their performances and detail the small pieces that set them apart, but what I can tell you is that they were both incredibly solid and are very skilled, and we have two very good goalie prospects in the pipeline. And this is excellent news.