Folks, we’re back! Things may not be going very well for the Flyers at the moment, but if you’re looking for any bit of good news tangentially related to them, well we’re here to deliver. The prospects are plugging away in their respective leagues and we’ve got a bunch who had themselves big weeks. But before we get into the highlight reel, let’s touch on some news.
This isn’t exactly news by now, but we’ll make mention of it for anyone who missed it. As the Flyers have been hit even more by the injury bug, they’ve had to bring in some more reinforcements. They called up Tanner Laczynski, who already got in for a game on Monday, and added Jackson Cates (are we considering him a proper prospect?) to the mix for their trip down to Washington tonight, though it remains to be seen whether he’ll get into the lineup or not. And to make room for these moves, of course, they assigned Egor Zamula to the Phantoms.
And speaking of players on the move, so too is Samu Tuomaala. It’s been, shall we say, a busy year for him already—a slow start up in Liiga saw him sent down a tier to the league below (Mestis) to join Peliitat, but now he’s been loaned over to Kettleerä. Hopefully we see him getting a chance to settle in soon, because that’s... a lot.
What’s up with the Phantoms?
There are simply so many prospects playing with the Phantoms this season, so we’re leaning in to the Phantoms focus around here. A quick week recap: all in all, it was a pretty successful weekend on the team level. They had a tough three-in-three weekend, but they swept their two games against Providence, and while they dropped Sunday’s matchup against Springfield, they still found some decent offensive production, with four goals scored and 41 shots put on goal—just don’t look too closely at this six goals allowed. Moving on.
As far as individual standout performances go, Samuel Ersson was the real star of the weekend. He started in two of those three games and picked up wins in both of them, making a total of 55 saves on 59 shots for a tidy .932 save percentage. He’s been on a really solid run recently, all in all, and in the last five games his lowest single game save percentage was a .926, and he’s averaged a .940 SV% over that total span of time. It’s still a small sample that we’re working with overall, but Ersson looks to be finding his footing in a big way in this league, and he’s been a huge contributor to the success that the team’s found so far.
We’ll pivot now to the noteworthy offensive performances, and while it feels a little weird to be highlighting Laczynski’s weekend right off the hop, considering he’s no longer with the team, it very much is still worth highlighting. He only played in the first two games of the weekend, but he really popped therein. He chipped in one goal and two assists on the weekend, which is a nice bit of scoring contribution, but he was driving offense well on the whole too. He contributed nine individual shots on goal in total (with eight of them coming in Saturday’s game alone, which, it goes without saying, was a big one).
This is a Tanner Laczynski breakaway goal. Bask in its glory. pic.twitter.com/BIdxIwKnCA— Lehigh Valley Phantoms (@LVPhantoms) November 20, 2022
We saw a remarkably similar stat line from Ronnie Attard on the weekend, as he also put up a goal, two assists, and nine shots on goal, just in three games played. And that’s neat, we love a bit of continuity, right? He’s settling into his role nicely, and doing well to find some consistency at this level, which is definitely something that excites us.
Also of note, before we move on, Isaac Ratcliffe had a two goal game on Friday, which marked his first and second points of the season. It’s been a bit of a slow start for him, that tells us, as he did go through those first 10 games without a point, but we’ll see where things go from here—the Flyers are continuing to have to pull from the Phantoms in order to fill out their lineup, so that means there are more minutes for players like Ratcliffe to work with. We’ll see what he’s able to do with that.
The prospect world tour
And now we can pivot away from the Phantoms and check in with the rest of the prospects around the world. Or, you know, just the ones who had the most noteworthy of weeks.
First up, Cutter Gauthier! It was a quiet week for BC, with just one game on deck, but Gauthier was quite good in it. He started hot and tapered off a bit as the game went on, but he still managed to contribute a nice goal and five shots on goal, and that’s hard to be too fussed about. He’s still working on finding real consistency at the college level, and that’s going to be a work in progress no matter what, but the positive flashes he’s shown have been intriguing.
And finally, up in the OHL, JR Avon is continuing his nice little offensive tear. In Peterborough’s two games last week, he put up a goal and two assists, bring him up to a cool 18 points in his first 18 games, good for third on his team in scoring. He’s just about matching his scoring pace from last season, and while that means we might say that we’d like to see even more from him (as he’s another year older in a major junior league), but it’s hard to quibble with about him scoring at a point per game pace.