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End of year prospect update: Defensemen

Phil Myers and Linus Hogberg should have everyone excited

Philadelphia Flyers v New York Islanders Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

As we discussed recently with the Flyers’ abundant forward prospects, we talk about perhaps the even more exciting D-men and how soon some might be able to spell us from our current defensive purgatory:

The Phantoms

Philippe Myers (D): 32 GP, 6 goals, 16 assists, 22 points, 90 shots, 39 PIM
Undrafted Free Agent

He’s big, he can skate, he can produce offensively and he isn’t too shabby in his own end. Pick only just one of those traits and he is already better defenseman than Andrew MacDonald. It’s only a matter of time until an injury ultimately forces the organization’s hand and unleashes Myers on the NHL. One of the best parts of Myers stat line is that he is actually putting up points at 5-on-5, as evidence by his league-leading 13 primary points. Get this kid in the NHL, Chuck.

Mark Friedman (D): 32 GP, 2 goals, 11 assists, 13 points, 41 shots, 29 PIM
2014 3rd Round Pick, 86th overall

Last season was rough offensively for Friedman, who took a ton of shots but couldn’t seem to find the back of the net. Through less than half of the games it took him last season, he’s already tied his goal-total and the reviews of his play have been mostly positive. There might not be more than bottom-pairing upside, but that is still a useful asset to have hanging around in the AHL.

Reece Willcox (D): 25 GP, 1 goal, 6 assists, 7 points, 22 shots, 16 PIM
2012 5th Round Pick, 141st overall

Yes, Willcox is still under 25, so let’s talk about him briefly. He’s one of the worst possession skaters on the team and I would be surprised if he ever got a call-up to the NHL.

Junior Boyz

Wyatte Wylie (D), Everett Silvertips (WHL)
2018 5th Round Pick, 127th overall
38 GP, 6 goals, 24 assists, 30 points, 129 shots, 24 PIM

What a pleasant surprise Wylie has been, tearing through the WHL leaderboards among defensemen. His 30 points are tenth in the league and his 5-on-5 primary scoring (24 points) are tied for first. This is all great to hear because Wylie’s most talked about and praised asset going into this season was his defensive play. Could the Flyers have lucked themselves into another all-around defensemen prospect? Move the alert to DEFCON 3.

Egor Zamula (D), Calgary Hitmen (WHL)
Undrafted Free Agent
36 GP, 8 goals, 25 assists, 33 points, 75 shots, 16 PIM

I’m not really sure who is having the more impressive season at this point between Zamula and Wylie. Zamula’s 33 points rank him fourth on his team and sixth among WHL defensemen. You know how we talked about primary points with Wylie? Zamula has been a star at 5-on-5 as well with 20 of his points being the primary variety. The last fun fact for Zamula is that he started the season stone-cold with zero points in his first eight games. He’s only just put up 33 points in 28 games since then.

Across the Pond

David Bernhardt (D), Djurgårdens IF (SHL)
2016 7th Round Pick, 199th overall
16 GP, 0 goals, 1 assist, 1 point, 6 shots, 0 PIM, 8:10 TOI

After a solid 2017/2018 campaign, things have hit a bit of a snag this season. Bernhardt has been in and out of the lineup for much of the season with injury issues. When he has played he’s appeared effective from a possession standpoint. If he can’t get back in the lineup however, it will be disappointing.

Adam Ginning (D), Linköping HC (SHL)
2018 2nd Round Pick, 50th overall
25 GP, 1 goal, 3 assists, 4 points, 21 shots, 14 PIM, 14:20 TOI

Many fans weren’t all too enamored by the Ginning pick the last draft. He didn’t fall into the pro-typical Hextall pick of a guy who has offensive upside. Ginning is very much a defensive-defensemen with size. He’s been able to handle his own in the SHL for roughly two seasons now. Maybe there is some untapped potential we haven’t seen yet.

Linus Högberg (D), Växjö Lakers HC (SHL)
2016 5th Round Pick, 139th overall
29 GP, 2 goals, 2 assists, 4 points, 32 shots, 2 PIM, 16:35 TOI

The cream of the Swedish crop of Flyers prospects. He currently second among all SHL defensemen in CF% with a 59.12%. That is pretty significant for a 20 year old. He plays a great overall game, but likely won’t develop much more offensively. I personally like him more than Robert Hagg, but that might not be saying much right now.

Valeri Vasilyev (D), Metallurg Magnitogorsk (KHL)
2012 7th Round Pick, 201st overall
15 GP, 1 goal, 1 assist, 2 points, 7 shots, 10 PIM, 16:23 TOI

Yes, we are going to talk to Vasilyev. Some are saying, who? We drafted this dude, he never signed and hold his rights for what feels like forever. He had a breakout season in 2017/2018 with the Severstal Cherepovets and put up16 points (7 G, 9 A) in 43 games. He’s been injured this season and just recently was traded to Metallurg.

We’re Goin’ to College!

Wyatt Kalynuk (D), University of Wisconsin
2017 7th Round Pick, 196th overall
18 GP, 7 goals, 7 assists, 14 points, 53 shots, 26 PIM

Kalynuk could turn into one of the better seventh round picks in years for the Flyers. Since making his college debut last season (as a 19 year old), he has gone on to collect 39 points (10 G, 29 A) in 55 games. His offensive game is really good and is a huge asset on the Wisconsin power play. I’d currently rank him right there with his junior colleagues Wylie and Zamula.

Jack St. Ivany (D), Yale University
2018 4th Round Pick, 112th overall
12 GP, 2 goals, 6 assists, 8 points, 22 shots, 14 PIM

It’s been a big year for St. Ivany who not only made his collegiate debut, but also made the Team USA roster for the 2019 World Junior Championships (though he doesn’t currently have any points through 3 games played). He isn’t a great skater, but has been touted as being able to do a little bit of everything elsewhere on the ice. St. Ivany is a guy to keep an eye on as the season progresses.