Which kids are going to stick?
The future has arrived.
The Philadelphia Flyers, who are believe it or not a professional ice hockey team, have iced 42 different skaters this season, nearly the size of two entire active NHL rosters. That is quite the high amount of turnover and change, in no part thanks to injuries, and tinkering done by a coach who couldn’t buy a win to save his life (to which coach this is referring to, I’ll leave that up to the imagination).
The Flyers, as we’ve written, have also trialed quite a lot of prospects in at the NHL level, with Linus Hogberg being the newest player to make his NHL debut.
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Obviously, not all of the debutants will be NHL ready, nor on the 2022-23 opening night roster. However, some of them will be!
We’ve analyzed all of the Flyers’ skaters who debuted this season, and identified three players who we think will be near locks to be in the NHL come the start of next season.
Cates has scored 6 points through his first 12 NHL games, playing with a good mix of line-mates. Most recently, he’s been paired with Owen Tippett and Morgan Frost on what we are terming the “youth line”.
Cates is just under breaking even in terms of CF% in what is definitely a small sample size at 5-on-5, though he fares better in terms of Fenwick% (taking away blocked shots). His xGF% is also second on the Flyers at 5-on-5, only behind Egor Zamula who has played in only half the amount of games as Cates. Cates would likely be below the numbers put up by, say, Claude Giroux and Sean Couturier with their amount of sample size, but in a double-digit number of games, it is good to see Cates making an impact.
In our opinion, he’s a lock for 2022-23.
Brink hasn’t really driven play in the 6 NHL games he has played so far, but he has put up points consistently (4 points, all assists). His goalscoring is also sure to follow given how willing he is to shoot the puck, and how quick is release is. He is also averaging 2.2 high danger scoring chances a game, and we would expect that to turn into a goal or two eventually.
Brink has been playing up with James van Riemsdyk and Joel Farabee, and compared to the two of them, Brink doesn’t take on the appearance of an NHL newcomer with how poised he’s been. The Hobey Baker finalist should crack the NHL roster next year.
As he’s already played 30+ NHL games this season, we doubt York will get sent down next season when he’s proven that he is at the very least an NHL calibre defender. Especially in high danger areas, York is capable of preventing more chances than the Flyers get when he is on the ice, and from the eye test perspective, in these situations he is able to slow the play down and settle the puck into a safe area when the Flyers look to be in trouble.
The points haven’t quite come for York of yet (10 points so far this season), but he has always been billed as a two-way player, and it wouldn’t be realistic to expect him to ever hit Roman Josi quantities of points. He is simply put, a defuser with a steady nature who can bring the puck out of the zone without clearing off the glass.
This is a good thing.