There is nothing going right for the Philadelphia Flyers currently. Doing their own seasonal version of a toboggan ride down the standings; the scoring has dried up, the defense is something else, and Carter Hart has finally showed that he actually a human man instead of some goaltending freak.
So instead of wallowing in this Philadelphia Fan Pain, let’s turn our attention to the upcoming 2022 World Juniors and see what hopeful prospects of our favorite team might be participating in the winter tournament.
And if they lose, well, that’s just a taste of what might come in the NHL.
Emil Andrae, Sweden
Certainly the Flyers prospect that will have the most opportunity on his team, Emil Andrae is going to be teaming up with some of the most talented young blueliners around the prospect world right now. Simon Edvinsson, William Wallinder, and Helge Grans—along with Andrae—will form a top-four that might be one of the sneaky good options for a team that has not claimed gold since 2012 and has only four medals since then.
While other members of that Swedish defensive group will rely on some physicality and their sheer size to prevent scoring chances, standing at just 5-foot-9, Andrae will be the sneaky blueliner that joins in on the rush from time to time. Currently in the Allsvenskan, the 2020 second-rounder has 15 points in 18 games in the Swedish second division.
One extra little tidbit or nugget of information that can prove to be a little heartwarming, is that Andrae will possible be a part of the leadership group for Team Sweden. He was the alternate during his Under-17 run, and was named the captain of the national Under-18 team. Especially considering that last year’s captain, Philip Broberg, and the two other alternates in Victor Soderstrom and Albin Sundsvik, have all aged out of the tournament.
Samu Tuomaala, Finland
Everyone’s favorite prospect name to say, the most recent second-round pick Samu Tuomaala’s native Finland has not officially announced the roster for their training camp, but considering that the 18-year-old has already appeared at various tournaments for the junior national team, his name will be on there.
Tuomaala will certainly be one of the go-to triggermen for a Finnish team that might be considered a strong contender for a medal spot. Even if the teenager hasn’t found the net yet this season—he started the season in Lehigh Valley, and is now playing over in Finland’s top division—the little handful of games against weaker competition that he is used to in his professional career, might prove to be a jumping off point for the rest of his first year as a Flyers prospect.
It’ll be Tuomaala’s skill and speed that will grab the highlights, so he’ll be one to keep up with and enough talent to tune in for.
Elliot Desnoyers, Canada
Aside from the two locks in Andrae and Tuomaala, the Flyers have a wee little forward that will need to impress above and beyond the limits of a teenaged hockey player to make his country’s final roster. Elliot Desnoyers is in tough having to compete against the always sturdy crop of Canadian forwards, and even if the assumption was that he will need to shock the coaching staff with his talents, there is a world where he is lacing up when the first puck is dropped.
Of course Canada has the future top selections in Shane Wright and Connor Bedard, and the all-world young talents of Kent Johnson, Cole Perfetti, Mason McTavish, Logan Stankoven—you get it. But the World Juniors have historically been known as a tournament won by the team with the most 19-year-olds that play together well, and considering Desnoyers has started his age-19 season with 14 goals and 34 points in 20 games for the QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads, he is certainly one of those “veterans” that can make a difference if Team Canada prefers the older players to the undrafted children.
What could have been
Two (or three) prospects isn’t the most exciting crop of young Flyers heading for the world stage, but it could have been so much more exciting, if hockey players didn’t suffer any injuries. Both Tyson Foerster and Zayde Wisdom are taking time recovering from injuries currently, but they would have certainly been in hot contention (if not locks) for the Team Canada roster. Those two are certainly two of the top young talents in Philadelphia’s pool and seeing Zayde crash around on the forecheck, setting up Tyson to unleash his NHL-level shot on poor teen goaltenders, would be incredible to watch. And the other players that would hypothetically be on the ice with them, would be good too!
So everything is not doom and gloom for the Flyers, even if you’re hoping to enjoy some prospects and ultimately being let down with the amount. They’re there, but they are just off the ice right now.