Even though things are pretty busy right now, being that it's midseason and all, we're about to hit an 18-day break in the Flyers schedule and we haven't done much talking about Flyers prospects lately. (And it's not like any of you want to read us talking about the Flyers the way they're playing, am I right?)
So we've got a solution for all of this. Welcome to the Broad Street Hockey's Philadelphia Flyers Midterm Top 25 Under 25.
For those of you unfamiliar with the concept here, this is basically exactly what it sounds like: it's a ranking of the organization's 25 best players under the age of 25 years old. Why 25? Well, it's a somewhat round number (in the sense that multiples of fives are round numbers ... right?), it's an age by which you generally have a pretty good idea what kind of a hockey player you've got in a guy, and it brings together a good mix of young, high-risk/high-ceiling prospects and already-known commodities like current NHL players and higher-end AHL guys.
You've probably seen these before (see examples from other teams on the network here, and here, and here). Heck, you've probably seen this here before, since we started one of these a couple of years back but didn't make it very far through it. But with the Olympics coming up and some time to kill during the break, we're going to be giving it another go.
We'll be bringing you profiles on the organization's 25 best players under the age of 25 throughout the month of February, all the way up to the final day of the Olympic break for the Flyers (February 26).
* The panel consisted of eight of our writers/editors: Travis Hughes, Kurt R., Kelly Hinkle, Allison J., Albert Kleine, Charlie O'Connor, Kevin Christmann, and Collin Mehalick.
* We gave our panel some fairly loose restrictions as to how to rank these players -- i.e. highest ceiling, most valuable right now, etc. So you'll see some variety in the votes as a result of that.
* Once all of the ballots were in, point totals were assigned for each vote. Meaning the player who was ranked first on a ballot would receive 25 points, second would receive 24 points, 25th would receive one point, etc. Add them all up for every player and you have your final rankings. (There were no ties in the Top 25.)
* Age cutoff was March 1, 1989. Anyone born after that date was fair game, anyone who was born before then was ineligible. We had a few guys who just barely made it in under that cutoff. (Noteworthy players in the organization who have turned 25 within the last year include: Wayne Simmonds, Michael Raffl, Erik Gustafsson, Steve Mason and Cal Heeter.)
* Here were all 38 players on the ballot:
NHL: Brayden Schenn (F), Jakub Voracek (F), Luke Schenn (D), Sean Couturier (F), Zac Rinaldo (F)
AHL: Brandon Alderson (F), Brandon Manning (D), Derek Mathers (F), Eric Wellwood (F), Jason Akeson (F), Marc-Andre Bourdon (D), Marcel Noebels (F), Mark Alt (D), Matt Konan (D), Matt Mangene (F), Nick Cousins (F), Oliver Lauridsen (D), Petr Straka (F), Tye McGinn (F), Tyler Brown (F)
ECHL: Andrew Johnston (F - Orlando), Carsen Chubak (G - Reading)
NCAA: Michael Parks (F - North Dakota), Nick Luukko (F - Vermont), Petr Placek (F - Harvard), Reece Willcox (D - Cornell), Shayne Gostisbehere (D - Union)
CHL: Anthony Stolarz (G - London, OHL), Scott Laughton (F - Oshawa, OHL), Samuel Morin (D - Rimouski, QMJHL), Taylor Leier (F - Portland, WHL), Tyrell Goulbourne (F - Kelowna, WHL)
SHL: Robert Hagg (D - MODO)
KHL: Valeri Vasiliev (D - Spartak Moscow)
USHL: David Drake (D - Des Moines), Fredrik Larsson (D - Youngstown), Terrance Amorosa (D - Sioux City)
NAHL: Merrick Madsen (G - Minot)
Two players -- ECHL defensemen Maxim Lamarche and Tyler Hostetter -- were left off the ballot because I forgot they existed. That happens when your team loses its ECHL affiliation mid-season, I guess.
Anywho. We'll start from the bottom and work our way up. First, the five that just missed the cut:
T-29. Carsen Chubak, G, Reading (ECHL)
Votes Received: One 25th-place vote from Kurt, one 23rd-place vote from Collin.
An undrafted free agent signing by the Flyers -- this one to an AHL-only deal last spring -- Chubak is on the older end of this list, turning 25 just about two months from now in April. He hasn't had a chance to play much this year, having made only five appearances in total, which happens when you're shuttled between three different ECHL teams like he's been. But he's coming off of an outstanding senior year with the Niagara Purple Eagles in which he posted a .939 save percentage, and he's played well in two spot appearances with the Phantoms. He seems likely to get a shot as a backup in Adirondack next year.
T-29. Matt Mangene, F, Adirondack (AHL)
Votes Received: One 25th-place vote from Albert, one 23rd-place vote from Travis.
Mangene, another undrafted free agent signed by the Flyers out of the University of Maine in April 2012, is in his second season with the Phantoms. A smaller player who's played both defense and forward through his college years before mostly playing up front in Adirondack, he's seen his point totals decrease in his second year with the club. He's most recently been on the Phantoms' fourth line, per the Glens Falls Post-Star's Diana Nearhos.
28. Derek Mathers, F, Adirondack (AHL)
Votes Received: One 23rd-place vote from Albert, one 21st-place vote from Kelly.
Mathers, a seventh-round draft pick in the 2011 draft, has mostly done what was expected of him in his first year with the Phantoms: fight people. He's tallied 53 penalty minutes in 22 games for the Phantoms, which goes along with his zero points in those games. He served as captain for his junior team, the Peterborough Petes, in his final season there last year. He's in the first year of a three-year entry-level contract with the Flyers.
27. Fredric Larsson, D, Tri-City (USHL)
Votes Received: One 22nd-place vote from Kevin, one 20th-place vote from Kelly.
One year after playing in the Swedish junior leagues, Larsson -- one of the Flyers' two fourth-round picks in 2012 -- has had an interesting first year in North America in the USHL. He spent some time last year in Sweden playing some net-front forward on the power-play, which maybe makes some sense given the fact that he's a really tall guy at 6-foot-4, but he seems like a guy who will likely end up being a stay-at-home guy if he ever makes it. After getting some chances with the Youngstown Phantoms this year, Larsson was traded to the Tri-City Storm in mid-January. He's an intriguing prospect, but one who will need to fill out his frame a bit -- he only weighs in at just over 170 pounds despite his aforementioned height.
26. Tyrell Goulbourne, F, Kelowna (WHL)
Votes Received: Two 21st-place votes from Kevin and Charlie, one 25th-place vote from Collin.
A third-round pick in last year's draft, Goulbourne was generally seen as a curious pick for the Flyers. A winger who turned 20 less than a week ago, Goulbourne's typically been known more for his fists than for his scoring or general hockey ability. He's put up just under a half-point per game this year (23 points in 47 games as of this writing) while leading the Kelowna Rockets in penalty minutes with 81. The word around the time of the last draft was that the Flyers saw him as a player who safely projects to a Zac Rinaldo-type of NHLer. It seems quite unlikely that Goulbourne will ever be much more than that type of player (namely, a fourth-liner) in the NHL as a result, but it looks like he's got a decent chance to get there.
Tomorrow: The list begins at No. 25.