Getting to know the new players at development camp
There are eleven undrafted free agents at the Flyers’ development camp. What’s up with that?
With the 2019 NHL Entry Draft out of the way it’s time for the Philadelphia Flyers to move on to their 2019 Development Camp, which starts tomorrow. Of the 41 prospects invited to camp, eleven are undrafted free agents who are still looking for an organization to give them a chance at the professional level. The Flyers typically invite a few unfamiliar names to development camp, but eleven is a few more than usual. Let’s take a look at some possible future Flyers.
Will Mackinnon is a 5’11”, 201-pound American left-handed defenseman who is coming off his freshman year at the University of New Hampshire, where he scored once and had seven assists in 36 games. Last season MacKinnon served as an alternate captain on the Des Moines Buccaneers in the USHL and had ten points with 127 penalty minutes in 57 contests. The son of Dan MacKinnon (who currently serves as the New Jersey Devils’ Director of Player Personnel), Will is regarded as a physical d-man who rarely finds the scoresheet, as illustrated by his ten-point season last year being his only double-digit campaign since Bantam hockey.
The older brother of Flyers’ 2017 draft pick Noah, Jackson Cates is an American center that stands at 6’0”, 174 pounds. After he dropped 33 goals and 63 points in 57 games with the Waterloo Black Hawks in the USHL in 2017-18 to earn the honor of USHL Forward of the Year, Cates joined his brother at the University of Minnesota-Duluth last season to provide 14 points in 39 tilts for the eventual NCAA champs.
From Audubon, New Jersey (HE’S FROM HERE!!), Colin Felix is a right-handed d-man who is 6’1” and weighs 194 pounds. He had nine points and perhaps more notably just 28 penalty minutes in 41 games this year with UMass in his first collegiate season. The two previous seasons had been pretty violent for Felix, as he racked up 166 PIMs (and 27 points) in 56 games with the Madison Capitols in the USHL last season and 95 PIMs (along with 12 points) in 45 appearances for the NAHL’s Janesville Jets in 2016-17. Here’s some evidence that Felix likes to mix it up:
After a pair of impressive seasons with the Fargo Force in the USHL, Ben Meyers is taking part in this development camp before he heads to the University of Minnesota for the 2019-20 campaign. The 20-year-old left winger posted 99 points in 25 games for Delano High back in 2016-17 before he transitioned to the USHL and accrued 44 tallies in 60 contests in 2017-18 along with 65 points (his 33 goals was 14 more than any other Force player) in 59 games this past season. On top of his point production, Meyers also served as the captain of Delano High in 2016-17 and was an alternate with Fargo this past campaign. Meyers is considered to be a goal scorer with speed.
After he took part in the 2017 development camp, Matt Anderson is back for this year’s camp. A 20-year-old rearguard that stands 6’0” 190 pounds, Anderson hasn’t had quite the same offensive success in the NCAA as he did in high school. Following a 119-game high school career that saw him produce 114 points, Anderson had just one goal and 12 points total in his first two collegiate seasons at the University of Minnesota-Duluth.
Maxim Golod is a 5’11”, 172-pound Canadian left winger coming off a 35-point, 54-game campaign with the Erie Otters in the OHL. It’s an improvement for the second-year OHL forward who had just 12 goals and 33 points in 61 OHL games in 2017-18. Golod is considered a tenacious, intelligent forward who is a quick and talented skater. Here he is giving a post-game interview in totally normally gear.
After a tough season with the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings in 2017-18 where he accumulated just two goals and 12 points in 51 games, left winger Ben McCartney bounced back for 21 goals and 41 points in 67 contests this past season. The 6’0” 185-pound forward hasn’t exactly posted gaudy point totals throughout his hockey career, but McCartney has found ways to score at every level: he had 17 goals in 28 Bantam AAA games in 2014-15, 18 goals in 23 CSSBHL games in 2015-16, and 27 goals in 29 CCSHL games in 2016-17. He’s considered a power forward that plays the game with an edge.
Much like McCartney, Emmett Sproule saw a major increase to his point total from year one in his junior league to year two. Following a five-goal, 13-point season in 56 games with the Erie Otters last year, the 5’10”, 168-pound center had 13 goals and 37 points in 68 tilts this season. There was evidently hope Sproule would provide even more point production, but as the season progressed the forward fell out of favor with many scouts and draft pundits.
The oldest in this group of ‘new’ players, Seamus Donohue comes into this development camp as a 23-year-old left-handed blue liner who is 6’0”, 185 pounds. He’ll be an alternate captain at Michigan Tech next season, as he posted three goals and 16 points in 40 games during his first season with the school back in 2017-18 and accrued one goal and 21 apples in 38 games this past campaign. Donohue has been appointed a leader a few times in his past, as he was also an alternate and ultimately captain of St. Thomas Academy in Minnesota and also served as captain of the Wichita Falls Wildcats in his lone season in the NAHL back in 2016-17 (this is also where he piled up 158 PIMS in 45 games).
As we talked about on Saturday night, one of the biggest things working against Mika Cyr is his size. The forward is 5’9” and weighs 174 pounds, which didn’t seem to impact him all that much during a 67-point campaign in 66 appearances this season for the Moncton Wildcats of the QMJHL. He also had a 20-goal season for the Wildcats in 2017-18 as well, as he potted 21 goals in 44 games in his first year as an alternate captain for the club. Cyr’s size and lack of an eye-popping stat line anywhere in his hockey career is probably why he went undrafted.
The son of some guy named Daniel, Carson Briere is a pretty interesting name to see at this camp regardless of his dad’s fame. He was just passed over for a second straight NHL Entry Draft despite the fact he posted 44 goals and 89 points in 59 regular season games for the Johnstown Tomahawks in the NAHL (he also provided 14 points in 12 postseason games). On top of his point-filled year, Briere is committed to Arizona State University and will play for the program in 2019-20. It’s not likely a camp invite like Carson gets any further with the organization, but I’m sure plenty of people wrote off his dad before he ultimately made it to the NHL.