With the holidays nearing, schedules lightening up, and COVID still ever looming, it was a pretty quiet week in prospect land, but all the same, we’re persisting to bring a report.
Before we get into the report, a bit of news. Wade Allison, as we talked about last week, finally got back into action with the Phantoms, but he took another, but different, injury at the end of Friday’s game. Per Chuck Fletcher, it’s an elbow injury, and he’s still yet to see a specialist, so they don’t have a timeline just yet for his return. But it’s certainly tough news for a prospect that can’t seem to catch one single break.
1. Connor McClennon
The Flyers’ 2020 sixth round pick is off to a very good start to his season with Winnipeg in the WHL, and he tacked on just another very solid week onto that this week. In Winnipeg’s three games on the week, he picked up three goals and one assist, and totaled a cool nine shots on goal. This brings him up to 23 goals and 45 points in his first 31 games, which is not too bad at all.
And all of this is pretty in-character for McClennon—we know him to be a volume shooter, and he’s done some very good work to improve the accuracy of that shot. He scored well in his first WHL season last year, and he’s continuing to take steps in the right direction. Despite his size (5’8, 161 pounds) he’s still finding ways to take over games.
2. Connor Bunnaman
On the flip side, it’s been a bit of a slow start for Bunnaman, at least offensively. We’ve liked his season on the whole, but as he’s been playing mostly a depth role on a team that struggled to score for a very long time, we weren't seeing the offense clicking for him right off the bat. But he put up two goals on seven shots on goal, with one goal in each of this weekend’s games. He brought good jump to this one and just seemed to be buzzing, so that the results followed that isn’t too much of a surprise.
It was nice to see him get the rewards for his good work, especially because he took a beating in Friday’s game, which saw him stung by a big blocked shot and and dumped on a huge hit in the corner. He didn’t seem to be feeling and after effects of those, but they certainly stung in the moment. If nothing else, it was a hard working pair of showings for Bunnaman.
3. Maksim Sushko
Speaking of players with slowish starts now picking things up offensively, Maksim Sushko, hello! We should acknowledge again that much of his struggles were bigger than him, and equally a product of the team struggling with their new system, and as such to score goals. But things are turning a corner for the team, and the same could be said for Sushko. He’s been putting in good work in creating chances (he’s spent most of the season playing alongside German Rubstov, and the pair have combined for some very nice looks), even if they weren't always going in for him. But they certainly started this weekend, as he picked up two more goals (also one in each of the weekend’s games) and with that, doubled his scoring total on the season. He’s been a little bit streaky in his career, but he certainly seems to be picking up some momentum here. If this is the start of a hot streak, it’s coming at a good time, as the team continues to battle with injuries and losses from call-ups to the Flyers.
What a year it’s been for Avon. A camp invite who earned himself an entry level contract, he’s off to a solid start back in Peterborough of the OHL. Technically his second season with the team (the OHL didn’t play last season), he’s third on the team in scoring with 12 goals and 28 points in 24 games. He added three assists and four shots on goal to that total in last week’s games, and he continues to cruise along, putting up points well. It’s not an easy task to come back after that much time off, but he’s doing well to get settled back in with the team and get back to his game. He’s having quite a good season, and the Flyers may well have benefitted from him getting passed over in the draft, just because no one had seem him play in his draft year. But you certainly won't see us complaining.
And we’ve got some more good news and bad news here. The good news is that, after being out since the end of October with a lower body injury was finally able to get back to action this weekend. He backed up on Friday and then got the start on Saturday, and he looked really sharp in that one. The Phantoms were bleeding a lot of shots, but he weathered that storm well, stopping 21 of the 22 shots he faced. The bad news is that this was only through the two periods of action, and he left the game after the second period with an injury. We don’t have an update there yet either, whether it’s a new injury or a re-aggravation of the old one, but it’s still tough news all the same.