While many of us attempt to get situated for this current year and hope to see a big turnaround, let’s pause for a moment and take a look into the future. Hop in the Delorean and let’s go to Oct 2015.
It’s 2015 and the Flyers are now ready to send Scott Laughton, Tye McGinn, Jason Akeson, Sam Morin and Anthony Stolarz out for opening night. The Flyers still have Captain Claude Giroux, Vinny Lecavalier, Jake Voracek, Wayne Simmonds, Matt Read and Mark Streit. Keeping in mind that they didn’t get resigned, traded or they’ve been traded, you no longer have Kimmo Timonen, Andrej Meszaros, and perhaps Braydon Coburn.
The Flyers have poised themselves to have the players, to carry them for the future. Let’s take a look at the prospects.
Laughton, the Flyers 1st round draft choice (20th overall) may have his first season under his belt by that point (2015). Laughton currently has five goals and seven assists through 6 games with the Oshawa Generals. In his previous seasons he finished with 23 goals, 33 assists for 56 point in 49 games. Laughton is a type of player that is going to be a fast skater, quick stick handler and will have the defense guessing. He may remind some of a young Danny Briere with a good sense on how to play two-way hockey. Hopefully if won’t be long until Laughton has Flyers fans amazed as a 2nd line center coming off the bench to relieve Claude Giroux.
Stolarz has been nothing short of sensational in his outings in Juniors. In seven games through the 2013/14 season (thus far), Stolarz is 6-0-1 with a 2.14 GAA and .934 Save %. He also has one Shutout. In his previous season with the London Knights, Stolarz went 13-3-1 and he continues to develop and get better. He could finally be the “Home Grown Goalie” the Flyers have been waiting for, since they’ve dropped the ball on 2013 Vezina Winner Sergei Bobrovsky. He is a butterfly goalie and likes to challenge shooters, which is something the Flyers haven’t seen in a while. If the Flyers can rebuild their defense with a young and solid group, Stolarz will shine and we will forget players like Bryzgalov, Biron, Esche, and Ray Emery.
Speaking of the Flyers getting young and solid on the back end, Sam Morin should be nice and seasoned for an NHL debut for 2015. Morin was drafted 11th overall in 2013 by the Flyers. He’s been compared to Chris Pronger, and based on his film he could very well mold into a Pronger-type player. He’s 6’6. His feistiness and willing to hit hard and drop the gloves, already make him a Flyer at heart. He has a good “out of the zone passing”, which is something the Flyers have been missing. Once he develops more he can become a one/two defenseman over time and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him begin in the NHL as third or fourth D-Man.
Tye has already seen some NHL time and was just recently called up to help fill the injuries. In his first game being called up, he scored a goal. McGinn has the potential to be a Matt Read type of player. I’d call him a role player. He’s had a good career in Juniors with 27 goals, 35 assists for 62 points through 50 games in 09/10 and scored 31 goals and 33 assists the following year. He’s still developing and could be a go-to-guy for the Flyers in the future.
Akeson played his first NHL game during the final game of the 2013 Season against Ottawa. He scored a goal on his very first shift. I was a bit surprised to not see him make the team at the start of the 2013/14 season, but given the roster, it was a stiff competition and Akeson failed to show off his talents. In the 2010-11 Akeson was tied for the lead in points with 108 but lead the league in assists with 84 (Juniors). He’s a fast skater and can put up points. Given the Flyers clutter offensive line-up Akeson was sent down to the Phantoms. He can only develop more there and get ready for when the call comes. Last season he led the Phantoms in points with 14 goals and 41 assists. Once the Flyers make the changes to their offense, he should be there and he’ll accompany a nice young scoring corps.
In 2015 I could see a forward line-up combination that may look something like this:
Assuming the Flyers part ways with Sean Couturier and Brayden Schenn this is what I think the lines could look like. It’s something to be excited about. Young players need time to play and grow to develop chemistry and it may take a year or two for it to flourish greatly but that’s how it needs to work.
The Defense could use some tuning but I see Luke Schenn, Nick Grossmann, Erik Gustafsson , and Streit still on the team. My idea of that defense would look like this for Oct 2015.
Coburn is signed through 2015-16 but I think the Flyers trade him before that. I also see the Flyers sticking with Goaltender Steve Mason for a few years and possibly still starting ahead of Stolarz for his rookie season.
I know it is rough right now in Flyer-land at the moment but the future is something to be excited about. This is assuming GM Paul Holmgren doesn’t mess things up before his contract is up. I can see this team being great again and something hopeful with our prospects and some of our current line-up. Maybe just maybe, this could be the beginning of the end of the Flyers Cup drought.
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