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[#] Fri Apr 28 2017 07:00:01 EDT from rss

Subject: Friday Morning Fly By: Whatever it's Friday who cares.

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Today's open discussion thread, complete with your daily dose of Philadelphia Flyers news and notes...

*It's do-or-die again for the Phantoms tomorrow; here's hoping this one goes as well as the last one. Our pal Stephen Gross has a preview of the game for you. [The Morning Call]

*The draft lottery is tomorrow! Here's everything you need to know about the big big day. [Sportsnet]

*And here are the latest TSN draft rankings. They still employ hockey people so we good. [TSN]

*Draft Week Fun Times at Broad Street Hockey™ continues with some wild speculation about who the Flyers might trade ahead of the draft. [BSH]

*Hey the Flyers have signed another of their promising young prospects to his entry level deal! That's fun! [Flyers]

*ESPN seems to have given up on hockey entirely, and it kind of sucks. For the people they fired and for us. [The Toronto Star]

*This seems like a thing that should be relevant to your interests as a Flyers fan: why having a goalie tandem simply does not work. [Raw Charge]





[#] Fri Apr 28 2017 14:09:11 EDT from rss

Subject: NHL expansion 2017: Predicting who the Flyers will protect and lose in the expansion draft

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How different will the Flyers be when all is said and done with expansion?

We’ve spent all week talking about the Flyers’ situation as it pertains to this summer’s expansion draft, where they will lose one player to the NHL’s 31st team, the Vegas Golden Knights.

We’ve looked at the forwards, as well as the defensemen and goalies, and then all of them at the same time. And yesterday, we tried to look at possible trade opportunities that the Flyers could take advantage of in the lead-up to the expansion draft.

Finally today, we here at BSH will make our initial guesses as to what will happen with the Flyers regarding expansion — specifically, who they’ll protect and who they’ll lose. Please note that we will all likely change our minds at some point between now and the draft itself, as that is how these things go. But until then, enjoy.


Kelly

I found it really difficult to decide who would get that last forward protection spot. You could make an argument for just about any of the logical choices: they gave PEBs an A and don't want to lose him, Jordan Weal was a big time spark when he finally got his chance with the team, they've spent a lot of time developing Scott Laughton and don't want to lose him for nothing, Michael Raffl is a potential first-liner who brings a lot to the team when he is on his game, Matt Read brings leadership and reliability they don't want to lose, Nick Cousins has a ton of potential, and Dale Weise ... okay you can make a case for ALMOST any of the logical choices. But really my choice came down to Weal and Laughton, and I chose Weal because I think that he's the most likely to be taken by Las Vegas if he's available. He's a proven high-end AHL talent that has shown he can also bring scoring to an NHL lineup, he's on a pretty cheap contract, and if you're building an organization from the ground up that seems like a pretty easy guy to take a chance on.

The defense choice was easy for me, because I've settled into acceptance of the fact that the Flyers value Andrew MacDonald and want him to remain on their team. We've all got to live in this reality, folks. As for the goalie, since I do not subscribe to the Bill Matz Theory of Ron Hextall Long-Conning, I think that the Flyers will protect the goalie they just signed to an extension, again, because they actually want him on the team.

And with all of that, I think we say goodbye to Scott Laughton. Of the players that will be available, he has the highest potential upside and, at worst, will help LV fill out an AHL lineup of reliable talent they can pull from if necessary. Should've traded him for some picks when we had the chance smdh.


Jay

Having little faith in the front office and coaching staff at the moment, this is the worst case scenario I'm planning for with Bellemare and MacDonald being protected. I actually think its a forgone conclusion with Bellemare based on how much they value him and what he does on/off the ice. With picking another defenseman along with Ghost and Gudas, MacDonald is the only one that makes sense to me. I don't see them protecting Manning.

There is also the fact that MacDonald played 73 games this season and averaged 20 minutes of ice time. The coach values him enough to pair him with our most promising young defenseman after a year in which the front office deemed him not valuable enough to even play for the team.

If Michael Raffl is left unprotected, he will most certainly be the forward taken by Vegas. He is a versatile winger who can play up and down the lineup. Raffl is also signed to a fairly team-friendly deal for the next two seasons. So folks, get ready to be angry when the expansion draft comes around!


Steph

Let's get the easy stuff out of the way. Anthony Stolarz will be the goalie they protect. They are able to protect Steve Mason if they want to leave both Michal Neuvirth and Stolarz exposed but they will almost certainly not do it. Could they protect Neuvirth? Sure. They did just give him a new contract, one has to assume they like him and want to keep him around. Do they consider him a long term solution? Who knows. I hope not. I believe they will protect Stolarz. He is young and unproven, but he was the goalie of the future before Carter Hart so there's a good chance management sees him as a building block. They're not going to want to lose that guy for nothing.

Defense. I said it on my Facebook Q&A, they are going to protect Andrew MacDonald. Let's all have one collective meltdown now so that we won't feel feelings when the time comes. They played him like a top defenseman this year. They apparently think he's valuable. Las Vegas isn't going to take that disaster of a contract. They could go rogue and protect T.J. Brennan which would be fun. Or they could protect Brandon Manning. Here's why the shouldn't: he's bad. If Las Vegas somehow sees value in someone who should be a 7D, and even that is being generous, that would be great for this hockey team. Addition by subtraction. Would it be better for a team to claim MacDonald? Sure. But no one would. Why not give them the option to take both? Ok I change my mind, protect New Jersey Native T.J. Brennan.

Now forwards. For me it comes down to three guys, but there is a fourth. This isn't going to pretty but I'll break down my thought process.

Michael Raffl. Reasons to protect: in his prime, one of the top two defensive forwards on the team, is a complimentary piece to all lines, can produce on the top line or lower in the lineup, has good hair. Reasons to not protect: You think someone younger can bring more value to the team

Jordan Weal. Protect: had a strong end to the season, great underlying numbers that show what may be a solid foundation, could slot into the top 6. Reasons to not protect: already 25, hasn't been able to crack an NHL line-up and it’s fair to question how good he really is, the chance that he has been an undervalued asset is much lower than the chance that he performed at an unsustainable rate for the short period of time he was with the Flyers

Scott Laughton. Protect: young, first round draft pick, has spent time with the Flyers, is too good for the AHL, can be effective at wing, has been at C in the AHL to work on defensive side of his game, team has invested a lot of time on developing him, could fit in the top 6 if he can get his shit together. Reasons to not protect: also hasn't been able to stay consistently in the NHL, may not be that good

Then there is Pierre-Edouard Bellemare. The reason to protect him is because the club obviously thinks highly of him — this is evident in his ice time and the A on his chest. Ultimately, I think they may try to trade a few of the lower priority forwards for assets, knowing that any of them can be taken for nothing.

You can get a draft pick in return for Nick Cousins. Probably also for Meat Read, although I think it makes more sense to keep him around. I would pay another team to take Dale Weise and I would hire someone to pack his bags and I would personally drive him and his family to the airport. He is a nice guy, but I do not want him on my hockey team anymore.

I also need everyone to pump the brakes on Jordan Weal. Yes he looked good, but we're talking 37 total NHL games over an entire six-year pro career, 27 of which were with the Flyers. This is not a superstar in the making. I'd love to be wrong, but he didn't make the team out of training camp, temper expectations.

I think Raffl will be the player they protect. He is someone they know; he's a consistent player that they have relied on for years. On top of that, he's on a good contract (read as: cheap). If this is the scenario, I think Vegas takes Scott Laughton. The first round pedigree carries weight, and he has solid AHL numbers. He's only 22, can start in the NHL tomorrow, and has versatility. If the Flyers choose to protect Laughton (or Weal), Raffl will be the player selected by Las Vegas. It would be shitty to lose a steady and solid NHL player for nothing. We don't know if we have those things in Scott Laughton or Jordan Weal.


Dylan

I cannot agree with the idea that Hextall will keep Andrew MacDonald as a protected player. If I were Hextall, I'd be jumping at the possible opportunity of unloading MacDonald's contract for free.

Although he is arguably better than Brandon Manning, I don't know why they wouldn't jump at this opportunity. Of course, I don't think MacD will be taken, but it's worth a shot leaving him unprotected.


Brent

This organization values AMac too much to leave him exposed. I want to punt a chicken all of a sudden. Michael Raffl gets protected since his contract is more manageable than Read's. They take a pass on Cousins, Laughton, Manning and any one else who might be available on the Phantoms, since they are either too old to be considered future stars or not eligible to be taken. That leaves Read, who helps the Knights reach the floor for this year on a low-commitment contract.

Thankfully, this silly exercise will be in done with soon enough. This has been the most over-exaggerated, over-thought thing in the league since the lockout. Everyone will lose someone, and while minimizing the loss is something that should be done, it should not come at the expense of something else. If they signed Neuvy to protect Stolarz, that would have been a classic overthought on management's part, Stolarz had almost no chance of being selected as is and the team has plenty of talent in goal in the pipeline to replace him. Instead, they resigned Neuvy and may have hacked off Mason to prevent something that may have had a 2% chance of happening and even if it did, there were other solutions available. Ugh.


Travis

On defense, I really, really, really wanted to not put AMac on this list. But … well ...

/goes to NHL.com/stats, //selects Philadelphia Flyers defenseman, ///sorts by time on ice ...

MacDonald played nearly 300 more minutes than Brandon Manning did last year, including more than two extra minutes per game. The Flyers, for better or worse, feel that AMac has value on this team as it is currently constructed. That’s probably a role that’s diminished next season as young talent arrives, but nonetheless.

Maybe his contract is enough to keep him exposed, with the Flyers hoping there’s an outside chance Vegas takes it off their books. There could be a sense that last season was last season, and Dave Hakstol felt he was doing the best with the cards he was dealt, but that this offseason will be about shuffling that deck. We’re only a year removed from AMac playing in Lehigh Valley, after all. But … I don’t know. If there were another option here, fine. But there’s not, and if we’re comparing Manning’s value to MacDonald’s, I think it’s clear which guy the team values more.

Anthony Stolarz should be protected and I think he will be. I don’t think this is about the Flyers’ view of Michal Neuvirth, because they clearly value him based on that contract extension. I think it’s more about chances of selection, and Stolarz clearly has more of a shot to be selected than Neuvy. With that said, there is always the chance that Vegas takes Neuvirth based on familiarity. General manager George McPhee was with Neuvirth in Washington, as was Golden Knights’ director of goaltending David Prior, who was the goalie coach with the Capitals from 1997-2014. I think that familiarity will lead them to current Capitals backup Philipp Grubauer instead, but you never know.

OK, the forwards. Look, I don’t know if the Flyers are actually going to protect Jordan Weal or not. But of the players on the list, I think he has the best chance of being taken by Las Vegas, and he also represents a very specific need for Philadelphia going forward: dudes who can put hockey pucks in hockey nets with hockey sticks. Weal is still young, he’s small and speedy and clever offensively and clearly has the tools to be a top-six player in the NHL. Think about what Pittsburgh’s done with guys like this for the last decade. They plug them into the roster around their core. It works. It’s taken Weal a while to get to the point we’re at now, but even if the end of last season was a flash in the pan, the Flyers are not really in a position to take the risk in losing him.

The other forwards don’t compare in upside. I like Michael Raffl a lot and do not want to lose him, particularly given his play driving ability and the fact that he can effectively play anywhere in the lineup. But he’s reached his max value (still very valuable!), the ceiling isn’t as high as it is with Weal, and I think he’s less likely to be selected by Vegas anyhow given his age. Matt Read is over the hill and it would not be the end of the world if he were taken, as much as I’ve enjoyed him on the Flyers over the years. I don’t see why you would bother protecting Dale Weise or Nick Cousins.

I am terrified that they are going to protect Pierre-Edouard Bellemare. Absolutely fucking terrified. I am going to pull the sheets over my head until this scare either passes or becomes the reality I must face.

Scott Laughton is the odd-man out here, but he’s clearly already the odd-man out in Dave Hakstol’s organization anyhow. Let him run free and have a real opportunity in an important role on a bad team. Maybe we’ll regret it as he grows into a solid two-way NHL center with the Golden Knights. But we only see them twice a year anyway, and one of those times is in the midst of a booze-and-whatever-else-fueled romp on the Strip. I think we’ll be OK if we lose Laughton.


Al

In the forward department, I’m pretty much going with the obvious here. Jordan Weal showed that he is a legitimate NHL forward at the end of the season, and even if we don’t have much to go by in terms of number of games played, I can’t imagine the Flyers are anything short of terrified of losing him. The only other person I think could maybe get protection over Weal is Michael Raffl, especially considering how important he has been to the Flyers in recent years.

As for who Vegas takes, Scott Laughton really presents the most upside for Vegas from Flyers that will be available, and with them being a new team and all, they’ll kind of need that. Raffl is another possibility, but I imagine his age and point totals will make Vegas think twice.

No real surprises on defense here. And if you think that the Flyers are going to expose Andrew MacDonald in the hopes that Vegas takes him, I don’t know what to tell you. Hakstol clearly likes him, and Hextall has shown no signs of keeping his coach from playing the guy. Brandon Manning sucks, so whatever. Aside from Radko Gudas and Shayne Gostisbehere being protected, though, do you really care what happens here?

I guess the strangest part of what I think the Flyers will do is protecting Michal Neuvirth over Anthony Stolarz. Sure, Neuvirth absolutely stunk last year, but the Flyers did just give him a new contract, which was totally unnecessary unless they wanted him to be around. We could get all conspiracy theory here and suggest that the Flyers gave Neuvirth a bad contract so that they could keep Vegas from taking him while protecting Stolarz, but I just don’t buy it. For what it’s worth, I don’t think there is anywhere near a worthwhile level of worry that Stolarz gets taken.


Charlie

While I believe the most shrewd possible move would be to work out some sort of handshake deal with Jordan Weal and protect Michael Raffl instead, my guess is that Ron Hextall, being the fairly risk-averse GM that he is, will want to be absolutely certain that a player who he views as a legitimate top-9 NHL forward isn't going anywhere. He noted in exit interviews that he felt the team finished strong because they finally put together a cohesive forward corps, and that corps included Weal and not Raffl. I wonder if he'd be so interested in protecting Raffl that he'd be willing to risk Weal being impressed by Vegas' pitch, or Weal simply feeling like being part of an expansion draft game implies that the team is lukewarm on him as a player.

Andrew MacDonald vs. Brandon Manning is a toss-up. I believe the organization is far higher on MacDonald than the fanbase would wish, but I think they like Manning as well, and he has the advantages of being younger and on a cheaper contract. I think the Flyers will wager that MacDonald won't get taken due to the monstrosity of a deal, just as they did when they sent him through waivers in 2015. As for the goalies, I don't think Anthony Stolarz's injury has a major impact on their protection decision -- they still don't want to lose the kid, and he remains potentially attractive to the Golden Knights considering his draft pedigree and promising early NHL results.

I really, really hope Michael Raffl isn't taken by Vegas. I believe he's a fantastic middle-six forward and one of the best support play-drivers in the league. But if the Flyers choose to play it safe with Weal, that makes Raffl the obvious best player on their list of available players, and I have to believe that Vegas doesn't let him slip past them. Raffl isn't a guy who will rack up the points, but has succeeded on lines with high-end talent and is on a reasonable contract. If George McPhee is listening to any of the analysts in his fledgling organization, Raffl is the logical choice.


Kurt

When I originally sent out a call to our staff last weekend asking for expansion predictions, I included an example in which I said that the Flyers would use their final protection spot on Jordan Weal, because I figured that was the case. On Wednesday, I changed my mind and said that I thought the Flyers would protect Michael Raffl and try to wield Weal’s (that was not on purpose, I swear) pending UFA status as if it were another expansion slot.

I nearly waffled on that again two more times between then and now, but for the moment, I’ll stick with my new prediction. Raffl’s exclusively been a top-9 forward over the past few years, frequently playing support roles on the top two lines. While that may say more about the Flyers of recent years than it does Raffl, he’s a player that the team clearly likes and I don’t think they’re going to want to lose him for nothing. So we’ll see if Hextall can thread the needle with Jordan Weal (assuming Vegas wants him) as we draw closer to the draft. I’ll probably change my mind on this again. Whatever.

On defense, I just don't think the Flyers hate Andrew MacDonald's contract enough to risk losing him, given that we know they like him as a player. With no better alternatives, he gets the spot over Brandon Manning. It would be great to see the Flyers swing a trade here to get a better option for their third protection slot, but they may very well think MacDonald is that better option. So it goes. And in net, Anthony Stolarz gets the nod over Michal Neuvirth, who I'm pretty sure the Flyers still only see as a backup goalie. I do not think it's particularly likely that Vegas takes Neuvirth, but what do I know.

Finally, I think the theoretical ceiling of Scott Laughton gets him taken in the draft. The Flyers clearly aren't high on him right now, but Vegas isn't going to have a chance to grab many 23-year-old former first-round picks in this draft the way that they will with Laughton. Gerard Gallant and his development staff may very well think they can find the upside in Laughton that the Flyers thought they saw just a couple of years ago, and I think that leads them to take him over the heart-and-soul-ness of someone like Pierre-Edouard Bellemare or a goalie like Neuvirth.





[#] Sat Apr 29 2017 13:26:43 EDT from rss

Subject: Bryn

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With the Swedish season over, Oskar Lindblom will likely be heading to North America pretty soon.

While over in North America we’re preparing for tonight’s NHL draft lottery and another elimination game for the Phantoms, two Flyers prospects in Sweden were finishing up their seasons — and at least one of them has probably played his last game in the SHL for a while.

Forward Oskar Lindblom, a fifth-round pick in 2014, played in the final game of the Swedish Hockey League’s season today in Jönköping, Sweden, for Brynäs IF, dropping the contest in a heartbreaking 2-1 loss in overtime to HV71. A power play for Brynäs came and went without a goal, and it wasn’t long after that until HV71’s Simon Önerud tucked the winner past veteran goalie David Rautio.

It’s noteworthy that Rautio was the one giving up that goal, as Flyers prospect Felix Sandstrom was on the Brynäs bench to see it happen. Sandstrom started four games in this series, picking up wins in the second and fifth games as Brynäs took a 3-2 lead. But he got off to a tough start in Game 6, giving up two early goals, and with that his season came to an end, as Brynäs coach Thomas Berglund put in Rautio and never looked back.

In the series, Lindblom posted just one goal in seven games, but it certainly wasn’t for a lack of trying: he has 24 shots on goal in the seven-game series and had a number of chances that just missed. His playoffs as a whole, though, were outstanding; despite the relatively ineffective final, Lindblom was tied for third among all players in points in the playoffs, and tied with two other players for the league lead in assists. This was after a 22-goal, 25-assist showing during the 52-game regular season. Objectively, this was an outstanding season for Lindblom.

Meanwhile, Sandstrom’s year was a bit tougher to judge, as he split time with Rautio, but as one of the youngest goalies in the league, his .908 save percentage is a decent mark, one that improved upon his .904 from last year.

For the Flyers, the question is now how much longer until these two sign an entry-level NHL contract make their way over to North America , as both of them have SHL contracts that are up after this season.

Sandstrom, who split time with Rautio throughout the season and in the final series, seems likely to remain in Sweden for at least another year. He put forth an admirable showing for a 19/20-year old in the world’s third-or-so-best league (give or take) this season, but it was a showing that the Flyers will likely feel he’ll have a better chance to build upon with another year in Sweden. Also, the Flyers’ own goalie situation is pretty clogged up right now, with no obvious spots available at the NHL or AHL level once they go and get another NHL goalie (which Ron Hextall has said that they will do).

With Lindblom, however, the question seems to be less a matter of “will he or won’t he?” and more one of “does it take weeks, or days?”. Berglund has essentially already confirmed that Lindblom will be heading to North America once this season is over:

And that’s not surprising news, for a number of reasons. As mentioned, Lindblom was one of the best forwards in the entire SHL this season — no small feat for a 20-year old. Lindblom also had an outstanding showing in Lehigh Valley at the end of last year, coming in on an amateur tryout contract and posting 7 points in 8 games. (There was talk towards the end of last year that Lindblom would stay in North America for this season, but with him being under contract with Brynäs for another season, that was probably never in the cards.)

Hextall should be eager to have Lindblom in Pennsylvania next year, and the hope here is that he’ll end up spending most of his time in Philadelphia rather than Lehigh Valley. While there may be a slight adjustment period for a guy who’s played on the European ice surface for his entire career, and as such the team might prefer he begin the year with the Phantoms, Lindblom’s excellent showing in Lehigh Valley last year — however brief it may have been — does lend credence to the idea that hey may well be NHL-ready. As does the fact that he’s spent the last three years playing in a league against adults and has more than held his own.

(In the meantime, though, if the Phantoms are able to extend their playoff run a bit more, might we see him in the very near future? Baby steps, though.)

In any case, Hextall and the team will have a big decision to make with yet another exciting young player who’s primed to make an impact for the Flyers before long.





[#] Sat Apr 29 2017 13:54:16 EDT from rss

Subject: NHL draft lottery 2017: Full odds, time, date, format and how to watch

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Everything you need to know about the 2017 NHL Draft Lottery.

Here in Philadelphia, we were hoping not to care about the 2017 NHL Draft Lottery. But alas, we must — and we’ll be checking in Saturday night, April 29, as the NHL gathers in Toronto for the 2017 lottery.

There’s a new wrinkle in this year’s lottery thanks to the expansion Vegas Golden Knights. We got into the nitty gritty of the Vast National Hockey League Conspiracy* against the Philadelphia Flyers over in this post, but the basics are that the league’s 31st team have the same odds of winning the lottery as if they finished third-worst in the NHL in 2016-17. And the adjustments made to accommodate Vegas hurt the Flyers, oddly, more than any other team.

It’s all negligible though, of course. The Flyers will likely pick 13th, as there’s an 84.3 percent chance of that happening. There’s a 2.2 percent chance they win the first pick, a 2.4 percent chance at the second pick, and a 2.7 percent chance at the third pick.

The Colorado Avalanche were god-awful last season and have the best odds of winning the first overall pick, at 18 percent. The New York Islanders were the last team on the outside of the playoff picture, so they have the longest odds at the top pick at just 0.9 percent.

The 2017 NHL Draft Lottery will take place at 8 p.m. ET on Saturday, April 29. NBC will have coverage in the United States while CBC and Sportsnet will carry coverage in Canada. It’ll happen just prior to Capitals-Penguins Game 2. HL Draft Lottery will take

Below are the full odds.


*may or may not be a real conspiracy





[#] Sat Apr 29 2017 21:25:19 EDT from rss to AFT

Subject: NHL draft 2017: Flyers MOVE UP TO SECOND IN THE DRAFT

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THANK YOU BASED PING PONG BALL GODS

Tonight’s NHL draft lottery figured to be a fairly uneventful night for the Philadelphia Flyers, who had a 2.2 percent chance of winning the lottery and roughly a 7.2 percent chance of jumping into the top 3. Couple in the fact that there was an obviously very real conspiracy in place against the Flyers, and it seemed likely that the team would be looking at the 13th pick in the draft this June.

BUT THAT’S NOT WHAT HAPPENED.

In a year that has by and large been a monumental disappointment for the Flyers, their card was NOT pulled at the No. 13 slot. No, the Flyers will pick all the way up at No. 2 in this year’s draft in Chicago, the highest they have picked since picking James van Riemsdyk in the same spot ten years ago.

The only remotely bad news of the night is the fact that the team that did end up at No. 1 is none other than the New Jersey Devils, who will now have a chance to pick up a game-breaking forward that they so desperately need. But in a draft that’s increasingly being billed as one with two potential high-end forwards — Brandon center Nolan Patrick and Halifax center Nico Hischier — No. 2 overall is just fine with us.

This has the potential to drastically change the entire trajectory of the franchise for the Flyers, who have been staring the potential decline of Claude Giroux in the face for over a year now and, until now, had no obvious replacement for him in their forward prospect ranks. We’ve got a lot to talk about between now and June 23, but for now, let’s celebrate.

Lottery order is below. I love you all.

  1. New Jersey Devils
  2. Philadelphia Flyers
  3. Dallas Stars
  4. Colorado Avalanche
  5. Vancouver Canucks
  6. Vegas Golden Knights
  7. Arizona Coyotes
  8. Buffalo Sabres
  9. Detroit Red Wings
  10. Florida Panthers
  11. Los Angeles Kings
  12. Carolina Hurricanes
  13. Winnipeg Jets
  14. Tampa Bay Lightning
  15. New York Islanders




[#] Sun Apr 30 2017 00:04:11 EDT from rss

Subject: Phantoms vs. Bears game 4 recap: Phantoms ride hot start to 4-1 win, even series at 2-2

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The teams will play a decisive Game 5 on Sunday in Allentown.

Folks, I’ll be honest. I was all set to recap this game and was doing well for a while, and then I got a bit sidetracked about 25 minutes into the contest as a result of, uh, some other rather important Flyers happenings that took place tonight. So my apologies if we’re a little short on details in parts of this recap here, and for the fact that this recap is a bit late.

But! While it’s certainly not the biggest piece of news we’ll receive tonight, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms came away as big winners this evening as well, as they walked into the Giant Center in Hershey and stormed to a 4-1 win, evening their series with the Hershey Bears at two wins apiece and setting the teams up for a decisive game 5 tomorrow in Allentown.

The Phantoms got out to a solid start, controlling most of the first 10 minutes of the game while both teams traded ultimately unsuccessful power plays. Finally, after knocking on the door for most of the period (the Phantoms were up 10-3 in shots at this point), Danick Martel opened up the scoring in the game following a great feed from Andy Miele, who picked off a clearing attempt and immediately wired it down to Martel for the finish.

Mark Alt nearly doubled that lead seconds later on a spin move that Hershey goalie Pheonix Copley was able to deny, but the Phantoms would go to the locker room up 1-0 and in total control of this game.

The Phantoms started out the second period right on the same track they’d been on in the first, but not much more than a minute into the frame, Hershey’s Stanislav Galiev cherry-picked his way to a breakaway in on Martin Ouellette. Luckily, Ouellette was up to the task, shutting down Galiev’s shot and keeping the Phantoms ahead. The scales briefly started to even out a bit after that chance, as both sides traded attempts for the early part of the second period, but just over four minutes into the period, a Travis Sanheim blocked shot turned into a 2-on-1 the other way for the Phantoms, and Mark Zengerle wired the ensuing shot past Copley to double the Phantoms’ lead.

That goal would end up being the game-winner, but Hershey would provide a big of a push after the Phantoms went up by two goals. This area — the last 10-15 minutes or so of the second period — was around the time when the Flyers were busy moving up in the draft lottery, so again, I apologize for having nothing more than the bare minimum regarding this timeframe.

But we do know that the Bears finally broke through late in the second period, as Hershey’s Chandler Stephenson carried the puck up to the top of the circle and put a shot past Ouellette to cut the lead in half.

The Phantoms had a couple of solid chances in the final minutes of the period, but Hershey came out firing on all cylinders when the two teams came out of the dressing rooms to start the third. A couple of nice saves by Ouellette made up for some general sloppiness from the Phantoms, who at least in the moment were fortunate to stay ahead of the home team.

And it was then, about five minutes into the third, when Scott Laughton — off a great pass from Sanheim — would throw on the jets to split two Hershey defenders and make his way in alone on Copley.

He didn’t miss.

For all intents and purposes, that was the end of this hockey game, even though both teams would have their chances as the period went on — the Phantoms and Bears each tallied 15 shots in the third period. But Hershey couldn’t cash in on a power play with about seven minutes left in the game, and that was about it. Laughton would ice the game with an empty-net goal, and the Phantoms would make the not-so-long trip back home with a victory and an even series.

Ouellette stood tall for the second game in a row, stopping 27 of 28 Bears shots. Eight Phantoms picked up at least one point on the night. Lehigh Valley outshot Hershey 38-28 in the game, continuing a trend that has held up in the entire series — through four games, the Phantoms have outshot the Bears 134-96. While this was the first game in the series that was one by more than one goal, it would not be a stretch to say the Phantoms have been the better team for the most part, and were they to pick up a win tomorrow, it would be a just result.

Which, given the fact that maybe too much has gone this way our weekend, is possibly too much to ask for.

But let’s hope not. The Phantoms and Bears will play at 5:00 on Sunday at the PPL Center. The winner will face the winner of the Providence vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton series, which also has a decisive Game 5 tomorrow in the afternoon.

Go Phantoms.





[#] Sun Apr 30 2017 20:51:57 EDT from rss

Subject: Phantoms vs. Bears game 5 recap: The best Phantoms season in a decade comes to an end

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A late rally wasn’t enough as the Phantoms were eliminated from the Calder Cup Playoffs.

It probably would’ve been too much to ask, to have this many things go the Flyers’ organization’s way in a single weekend.

But the Lehigh Valley Phantoms’ season — the team’s best season in a decade, the one in which it made its first playoff appearance since before it moved out of Philadelphia — came to an end on Sunday evening, as they dropped a 3-2 game to the Hershey Bears and were eliminated from the playoffs in front of their home crowd at the PPL Center in Allentown. With Hershey’s win, all five games in the series were won by the road team, which is an odd twist on home-ice advantage.

A decent first few minutes for the home team were undone by a Greg Carey high-sticking call, and though the Phantoms were able to continue their run of not having allowed a power play goal in this entire series, Hershey would get on the board just seconds after Carey made his way back onto the ice. Hershey’s Stanislav Galiev took a pass in the slot, cut towards the net in alone on Martin Ouellette, and in making the initial save Ouellette fell to the ice and couldn’t collect the rebound before Galiev got to it and flipped it in.

It took the Phantoms a few minutes to get going after that goal — in fact, they didn’t get their first shot on goal of the game until around the 9:30 mark, though they had a couple of misses and blocked shots before then. But the scales were still tipped a bit towards Hershey — for what may have been the first time in this series, the Bears had gotten out to a pretty strong first period.

And they’d cash in on that once again, doubling their lead about 11 minutes into the first period. A point shot was deflected past Ouellette by Christian Thomas, on a goal that the goalie didn’t have much chance to stop.

That second goal seemed to serve as a bit of a wake-up call for the Phantoms, who saw most of their best chances of the first period come in the final seven minutes. A breakaway by Danick Martel was turned aside by Bears goalie Pheonix Copley with 6:35 left in the period, and about 25 seconds later a one-timer from Cole Bardreau was also stopped by the Hershey netminder.

Some more pressure would follow, but the Phantoms would head to the locker room down 2-0 in goals and 8-7 in shots on goal after 20 minutes.

Fortunately, the strong play from the last tail end of the first period carried over to the second, in which Madison Bowey tripped Greg Carey behind the net and gave the Phantoms a power play just over a minute in. They’d take advantage, getting on the board as a point shot from Travis Sanheim would bounce off the back boards and right to Colin McDonald in front of the net.

The Phantoms were able to keep the pressure on, but as the period went on the game became even more back-and-forth as both sides had some near-misses on great chances in transition. The 10-8 shot count for the period (with Lehigh Valley having the 10) probably didn’t do justice to the number of good chances both teams had, as well as the number of times where either team just couldn’t quite get the puck to an open man in time.

Late scrambles for both squads — Hershey with just over two minutes in the period, Lehigh Valley in the frame’s final 25 seconds — went for naught, and the Phantoms would head to the locker room with 20 minutes to find a goal and extend their season. This was something the Phantoms had some experience in — their nine third-period comeback wins this year led the AHL.

But after a couple of scoring chances early in the third period, disaster nearly struck for the home team. Sam Morin would clear the puck over the glass from behind his own goal line to put the Phantoms on the penalty kill, and 36 seconds later, a high-sticking call on Scott Laughton would force the Phantoms into a 3-on-5 situation — one in which they’d be without two of their best penalty killers — that looked like it could mark the end of their season if they didn’t kill it off.

But they’d do just that. Some strong defensive efforts from Robert Hagg and Mark Alt would help matters, and Ouellette made some key saves and freezes of the puck to help kill things off. At that point, the game figured to head in one of two directions: either the Phantoms would capitalize on the opportunity they’d just created for themselves and ride that wave to a tie game, or the Bears would build on the pressure they’d created during that 5-on-3 and make it last the rest of the game.

Unfortunately, things tended to trend towards the latter option. The Phantoms found themselves on their heels for much of the time after that 3-on-5, icing the puck a couple of times and losing nearly every faceoff they’d take. And just over six minutes into the period, Hershey would finally bang the door down, as three Phantoms stuck along the boards could only watch as Colby Williams would put home a Nathan Walker pass in front to double the Bears’ lead.

The Phantoms continued to find themselves reeling, only really starting to generate pressure around the halfway mark of the third period despite the two-goal deficit. But after Martel was denied again in close by Copley, the Phantoms pushed hard, and with just over seven minutes remaining, Taylor Leier would collect a Scott Laughton neutral-zone deflection that trickled past Bowey and get just enough of it to get it behind Copley and cut the lead in half.

The Phantoms would spend most of the rest of the game in Hershey’s zone, but a push with an extra attacker in the final minutes would not result in the game-tying goal and the team would lose by a score of 3-2.

Though their season is over now, it was quite fun to see playoff hockey at the AHL level again, and watching the Phantoms rally from down 2-0 in the series to force a winner-take-all game was a treat. This has been a tremendous season for the boys in Lehigh Valley, and though it’s tough to say quite what their roster might look like next year as various players move on up to the Flyers, they should hopefully be a force in the AHL for years to come.

Go Phantoms.





[#] Mon May 01 2017 07:00:02 EDT from rss

Subject: Monday Morning Fly By: Yep, that actually happened.

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Today's open discussion thread, complete with your daily dose of Philadelphia Flyers news and notes...

*Holy mother of shit the Flyers were looked upon favorably by both the hockey AND ping pong gods and moved up to the SECOND OVERALL PICK. This...this is really exciting. [BSH]

*Ron's pretty excited!! (As excited as he gets, I guess) [CSN Philly]

*Let's look again at TSN's draft ranking as it is suddenly very very relevant to our interests. [TSN]

*The Devils were the ones to, unbelievably, win the the first overall. And now that they have something to live for, they're thinking of trying to get back together with their ex, Ilya Kovalchuk. [Puck Daddy]

*Speaking of drafts, we wrapped up last week's Expansion Draft Extravaganza with our own picks for who we think the Flyers will protect and who they will lose. [BSH]

*It was a pretty dang good weekend for the Flyers organization all together, as the Phantoms came back from an 0-2 series deficit to force a game five against the Bears. RECAP! The kids ended up losing on Sunday but they gave a hell of a fight. Only up from here!

*Now that the SHL season is over we might see another promising prospect headed over to sign with the Flyers. [BSH]

*In case you didn't realize how weird these playoffs have been, the Edmonton Oilers are now the odds-on favorites to win the Stanley Cup. [Puck Daddy]

*If you've been watching the Penguins during these first two rounds, you've probably noticed that they keep lucking into late-round gems in guys like Jake Guentzel and Conor Sheary. It'd be nice to luck into one of those eh? [The Hockey News]

*And finally, for some reason, the entrenched hockey establishment seems dead set on removing ANY kind of fun from this game. This needs to stop. It's ridiculous. [SB Nation]





[#] Mon May 01 2017 13:55:32 EDT from rss

Subject: NHL draft 2017: What do you think the Flyers should do with the No. 2 pick?

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Hischier. Patrick. Trade?

I don’t know if it’s a bad case of Monday morning allergies or if I’m actually still hungover from partying following the Flyers’ 11-spot jump in the 2017 NHL Draft Lottery, but all of the world’s Claritin/Pedialyte couldn’t make me feel as good as those ping balls did on Saturday evening.

We’re going to have two months to really dissect what the Flyers should do with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, to be held June 23 and 24 in Chicago. But there are really only three possible answers, as we currently see it.

And of those three answers, one of them will be decided for us by Ray Shero and the New Jersey Devils when they make the No. 1 overall selection.


Pick Nolan Patrick

Nolan Patrick, the 6’3, 198 pound center and former teammate of Flyers’ defenseman Ivan Provorov, has been the expected No. 1 pick for at least a year now. He finished atop NHL Central Scouting’s rankings both midterm and in last month’s final tally. He scored 102 points — 41 goals and 62 assists -- in his second-full WHL season a year ago, and was named the postseason MVP.

But injury woes this season limited him to just 33 games — in which he scored 46 points -- and the spotlight has been held up to him long enough that he’s starting to show spots. Some scouts have turned the page on his spot atop the rankings.

The injury issues don’t seem long-term from what people are saying, but it is at least a touch concerning that Patrick has been injured every season dating back to 2012. A year ago, he had sports hernia surgery that’s very similar to the surgery Shayne Gostisbehere and Claude Giroux had a year ago, and we all know how that appeared to effect them this past season.

In any event, Patrick is a dynamic player with a booming shot and that ever-so-fun combination of both speed and size. He’ll be a fantastic addition to the Flyers prospect pool, or maybe even their 2017-18 roster, should he fall to them. HOWEVER, this might be the most revealing and troubling thing about Patrick. It’s nearly inexcusable:

I’d rather take a kid who smokes pot than a guy with these types of character issues. I mean, at least stoners like pizza and chocolate.


Pick Nico Hischier

We don’t know his thoughts on pizza, but Nico Hischier — known to Philadelphia sports radio callers as “Nick His-cheer”, it’s actually pronounced heesh-er — is Swiss, so he probably likes chocolate.

Patrick’s limited play this season gave ample opportunity for Hischier to jump up in the rankings, and some are already saying that he deserves the top spot instead. He was the No. 2-ranked prospect in both the midterm and final rankings from Central Scouting, and he’s had a great first year in North America with the QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads. The QMJHL is a pretty offense-heavy league and all, but 28 goals and 48 assists in 57 games is good no matter the league.

It was really the World Juniors that pushed the Hischier hype into overdrive, though. As an 18 year old, Hischier scored seven goals and added eight assists for Switzerland in 11 games, and he single-handedly almost carried his team past the United States with a two-goal performance in a 3-2 quarterfinal-round loss.

Both players are centers, with Hischier coming in a bit smaller at 6’0, 179 pounds. The injury issues might sink Patrick’s chances of a No. 1 pick, while Hischier might ultimately fall simply because there’s just one North American season on his resume.

Hischier definitely wins in the flashiness department as compared to Patrick. The New Jersey Devils are probably the dullest, least-flashy thing to ever be created by human beings, so maybe that’ll be enough to for Hischier to fall to No. 2.

Trade the pick

The third option would be to move this pick, of course. Personally I think talk of this is a little silly given that there just isn’t that much of a drop between the two guys at the top of the draft, and the Flyers definitely have the need for a young, game-breaking center over the long-term. Hischier and Patrick both fit the bill.

Ultimately, the Flyers are going to get a very talented young player here with the No. 1 or No. 2 overall pick. Patrick is probably more NHL-ready given his size and that he’s played more time on North American ice, but Hischier could certainly make an NHL club as early as next season too.

If you think that they aren’t ready, or if you are enamored with one player but not the other, maybe you feel you can accelerate the process by moving back in the first round and acquiring an NHL player with this pick. I don’t see it happening, and I think the Flyers should stick at the No. 2 spot. But you never know what kind of offer might be on the other side of the phone.

What do you want Philadelphia to do?





[#] Mon May 01 2017 17:28:42 EDT from rss

Subject: NHL Draft Lottery history: The Flyers made history with the biggest jump ever

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Five, six, eight, twelve.

We said all along that the Philadelphia Flyers had near-impossible odds to win the 2017 NHL Draft Lottery, and ultimately they did not win the first overall pick. But they obviously were the big winners in the event, jumping 11 spots from 13th overall to 2nd overall. There was just 2.4 percent chance of that happening.

It wasn’t just the biggest jump this year, though. It was the biggest jump all-time in the NHL Draft Lottery, dating back to the first drawing in 1995.

That’s partially due to the rules. From 1995 to 2012, the lottery allowed any team to move up as many, but no more than, four spots. Beginning in 2015, the NHL allowed any team in the lottery to win the first overall pick, and starting in 2016 — in part to avoid the tanking that many teams blatantly performed during the Connor McDavid sweepstakes the year prior — the lottery was expanded to include the top three picks.

There’s a fresh drawing for each of the three picks, with the odds changing based on each. The Flyers had a 2.4 percent chance in the second-place drawing that they won, while they had a 2.2 percent chance in the first-place drawing and a 2.7 percent chance at third. More drawings means a more of a chance for a big jump like we saw from the Philadelphia-assigned ping pong balls this year.

Three drawings were made on Saturday night at the studios of Rogers’ Sportsnet in Toronto -- one for each of the top three picks, in order. Here’s how the NHL explains the method, which was overseen by the accounting firm Ernst & Young:

For each of the three drawings, 14 balls, numbered 1 to 14, were placed in a lottery machine. The machine randomly selected four balls. The resulting four-number series (without regard to selection order) was matched against a chart that shows all possible combinations and the clubs to which each was assigned. The chart showed that the Devils had been assigned the numbers (1-5-6-12) that were expelled in the first drawing, followed by the Flyers (5-6-8-12) in the second drawing and the Stars (2-6-8-13) in the third drawing.

It took 10 years, but we’ll now officially consider the ping pong balls absolved following their betrayal of the Flyers in the 2007 NHL Draft Lottery.





[#] Tue May 02 2017 07:00:02 EDT from rss

Subject: Tuesday Morning Fly By: It's Tuesday and we still have the #2 overall pick.

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Today's open discussion thread, complete with your daily dose of Philadelphia Flyers news and notes...

*So you've won the number two overall pick in the NHL entry draft. Now what do you do? [BSH]

*If the Experts' opinions are any indication, there's a slightly great chance we end up with Nico. [NHL.com]

*One thing is for sure: whoever we get with this pick is going to seriously alter the timeline this team has been working on. In a good way. [CSN Philly]

*Ever wonder exactly how the NHL handles the draft lotto? And doesn't mess anything up? Wonder no more, friends. [Sportsnet]

*If you've been watching the Pens-Caps series as closely as I have, you're probably also really glad the Flyers didn't make a move for Kevin Shattenkirk. [The Washington Post]

*The "NHL in Seattle" rumors are still alive and kicking. They might not have gotten expansion but they may end up with a team after all. [King 5]

*This is a fun off-season topic: what's the best single-game performance by an unlikely hero that you can think of? I'm going with Carbomb's playoff OT game winner against the Devils. That was fun. [The Hockey News]

*And finally, new BSH Radio today! Listen here before the episode officially drops at 10AM.





[#] Tue May 02 2017 11:00:06 EDT from rss

Subject: The Nico v. Nolan debate rages on.

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The gang is joined again by Travis Hughes to gush about how much fun it is to move from #13 to #2 in the NHL Entry Draft.

This is it, everything is coming up Philly. Bill, Kelly, Steph, and Charlie are joined by Travis Hughes to discuss the Flyers WINNING the draft lottery (ok, getting number two). The implications for the team next year and the future of the franchise are discussed at length, as well as which prospect each member would prefer - hint, the answer is yes. Nolan Patrick or Nico Hischier, both better than anyone they would've gotten at 13!

You can listen below or on your mobile device thanks to iTunes, Google Play, and Soundcloud.

Follow us on twitter @BSH_Radio and tell us what you think!





[#] Tue May 02 2017 11:00:06 EDT from rss

Subject: Should Flyers fans hope for Nico Hischier or Nolan Patrick?

[Reply] [ReplyQuoted] [Headers] [Print]

The gang is joined again by Travis Hughes to gush about how much fun it is to move from #13 to #2 in the NHL Entry Draft.

This is it, everything is coming up Philly. Bill, Kelly, Steph, and Charlie are joined by Travis Hughes to discuss the Flyers WINNING the draft lottery (ok, getting number two). The implications for the team next year and the future of the franchise are discussed at length, as well as which prospect each member would prefer - hint, the answer is yes. Nolan Patrick or Nico Hischier, both better than anyone they would've gotten at 13!

You can listen below or on your mobile device thanks to iTunes, Google Play, and Soundcloud.

Follow us on twitter @BSH_Radio and tell us what you think!

THE FLYERS WON THE DRAFT LOTTERY! We are talking about it live on tonight's all-new BSH Radio.

Posted by Broad Street Hockey: For Philadelphia Flyers Fans on Monday, May 1, 2017




[#] Tue May 02 2017 12:49:41 EDT from rss

Subject: Flyers prospect Matej Tomek selected in USHL Draft, appears likely to reset NCAA career

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The goaltender has not been able to crack the lineup in North Dakota, and a one-year jump back to the USHL seems likely.

We all know the Flyers goalie pool is absolutely stacked these days, starting in the AHL with Anthony Stolarz and Alex Lyon, and going down the list to Felix Sandstrom in Sweden, Carter Hart in juniors and Merrick Madsen in college.

One guy who often gets forgotten, however, is the University of North Dakota’s Matej Tomek. He was recruited to UND while Dave Hakstol was still there, and he was selected by the Flyers in the third round of the 2015 NHL Draft. He debuted at No. 20 in our Top 25 Under 25 list that offseason, but he hasn’t done a darn thing since.

I’m not really even exaggerating. After putting up a .928 save percentage in 33 games with the USHL’s Topeka Roadrunners in his draft year, Tomek went to North Dakota, where in two seasons he has played just ... two games.

He is clearly the odd man out in North Dakota with Cam Johnson, their starter for the last two seasons, preparing to come back for his senior season. Coach Brad Berry, who replaced Hakstol behind the Fighting Hawks bench, has also recruited two goalies behind Tomek — one who will be a freshman this fall and another who will be a freshman next fall.

Tomek has potential, but he’s just not playing with his current team. So it makes sense that he would look to leave UND, and on Tuesday morning the first step in that process took place when Tomek was taken by Waterloo in Phase II of the 2017 USHL Draft.

Any player under the age of 20 and not under protection of another USHL team is eligible to be taken in Phase II of the USHL Draft. Tomek is 19.

You probably have the same questions I did when I saw this news break this morning. It’s weird for a college player to take a step back and go back into the USHL right?

As Chris Dilks of SB Nation College Hockey explained to me, however, this would be an easy way for Tomek to transfer to a new school without missing a year of the game. Were he to transfer directly from North Dakota, he’d have to sit out a year. But if he goes back to the USHL and plays a year with Waterloo, he’d then be able to play for another school for the 2018-19 season. A school that might actually put him in net.

We’re guessing that’s what’s happening here, and that Waterloo knows of his plans, because they otherwise would not have wasted a draft pick.

Tomek also has the option to give up the NCAA route completely and go to major junior, where some team would probably love to have him. That’s what Anthony Stolarz did in 2013, when he left the University of Nebraska-Omaha to join the OHL’s London Knights after struggling through the first half of his freshman year.





[#] Wed May 03 2017 07:00:02 EDT from rss

Subject: Wednesday Morning Fly By: Still talking about lotteries!

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Today's open discussion thread, complete with your daily dose of Philadelphia Flyers news and notes...

*Hey did you know that the Flyers moved from #13 to #2 in the NHL Entry Draft? Let's relive the magic! [Flyers]

*Possibly #1 overall Nolan Patrick says he's excited to play for the Devils OR the Flyers. But probably more us than them let's be real. [Inquirer]

*But let's not forget about our pal Nico Hischier. [The Hockey Writers]

*Speaking of, your favorite hockey podcast spends an entire hour thinking about whether we'd like to see Nico or Nolan in the orange and black. Have a listen! [BSH]

*So part of the reason the Flyers were able to jump up from 13 to 2 is because if the way the draft rules changed. Here's how some past drafts would've looked with today's rules. [TSN]

*The Entry Draft isn't the only fun we have to look forward to, there's the Expansion Draft as well. Let's keep trying to guess who the Golden Knights are going to pluck from us. [Inquirer]

*Goalie prospect Matej Tomek has been taken in the USHL draft, which is interesting. [BSH]

*Speaking of prospects, despite a first round exit from the playoffs the future is super bright for the Phantoms. [The Morning Call]

*In that vein, let's think about what the roster might look like up in Allentown next year. [The Morning Call]

*Sidney Crosby has suffered another concussion, and whatever you feel about him, that sucks. [Puck Daddy]

*There's a looooottttttt of talk about the two hits that resulted in this injury. "Culture of violence" and such. [The Hockey News]

*Obviously, the well-laid path to the Cup final that we all thought the Penguins had this year is a bit rockier now. [ESPN]

*DGB: can any team beat the misery of the Toronto Maple Leafs? Every Flyers Fan: hold my beer. [Sportsnet]

*And finally, it's offseason, nothing is happening, so enjoy this super cute Fanpost about how cool it is to be a hockey fan sometimes. [BSH]





[#] Wed May 03 2017 13:46:48 EDT from rss

Subject: Oskar Lindblom named 2016-17 top forward in Swedish Hockey League

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A big honor for a guy who might just make the Flyers next season.

Many people would consider the Swedish Elite League — or, wait, it’s called just the “Swedish Hockey League” now -- the second-best hockey league in the world. Better than the KHL. Better than the AHL.

Smart people can disagree, but the point is that it’s a really good league.

And Flyers prospect Oskar Lindblom was just named the SHL’s best forward for the 2017-18 season. I will note that he is only 20 years old. Here’s the terrible Google translation of this:

After the recently concluded season 2016/2017 has been voted and Oskar Lindblom, Brynäs IF have been awarded Forward.

In the vote that preceded this, Oskar been totally superior and in a class by itself, says Hockey Journalists President Hasse Andersson.

Oskar have also done a fantastic season. The soon to be 21-year-old striker scored in the 61 tournament matches (all Brynäs played, 52 of the regular season, 14 in the playoffs), a total of 26 goals and played until 35, then a total of 61 points. ...

His career has been marked out and Oskar Lindblom has constantly evolved in the right direction. His style of play is ground covering, pungent and technical. He has a good shot and is also a great challenge players.

Lindblom ranked No. 6 in our February 2017 ranking of the Flyers Top 25 Under 25. That was a six-spot jump from his September 2016 ranking of No. 12.

If you’re good enough to be the best forward in one of the best hockey leagues in the world, you’re probably good enough to crack the 2017-18 Philadelphia Flyers lineup out of training camp. Just saying.





[#] Wed May 03 2017 14:47:58 EDT from rss

Subject: NHL Draft 2017: Nico Hischier has one clear advantage over Nolan Patrick

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Only one player is AHL eligible next season.

The Nico Hischier vs. Nolan Patrick debate is ultimately kind of pointless for us here in Philadelphia, as the Flyers are simply going to get the player that the New Jersey Devils do not pick with their No. 1 overall selection.

But that shouldn’t — and won’t — stop us from talking about which player we would rather have, and it will surely be a topic of discussion on this blog all the way up until the 2017 NHL Draft. So ... uh, let’s keep doing that.

We’ve already had a decent bit of discussion about the NHL-readiness of both Patrick and Hischier. While both players could be NHLers as soon as this fall, there’s a sense that Patrick is slightly more NHL-ready just because he’s played North American hockey his whole life and because he’s both bigger and more physically mature.

One key thing neither player has is professional experience at a high level. You can easily foresee a situation in which Hischier/Patrick do not make the Flyers out of training camp this fall, but in which you’d rather have them play with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms in the AHL than return to major juniors, where they are already proven stars.

That leads us into one major advantage in Hischier’s column — he can play in the AHL this coming season, while Patrick cannot. Let’s explain, because transfer rules for junior players are complicated as hell.

Normally, a major junior player — somebody in the OHL, QMJHL or WHL — needs to wait until they are 20 years old to play in the AHL for a full-season, with the lone exception being that they can be loaned to the AHL once their junior season ends like defenseman Philippe Myers did this spring. The junior leagues have this transfer rule in place because it allows them to keep their talent for as long as possible.

There are loads of players who would prefer to leave for the AHL to advance their development as opposed to just beating up on junior competition. But as you can imagine, the junior teams want to sell tickets and win games, and therefore need their best players to stick around as long as possible.

Patrick is subject to these rules as a North American player. He is property of the WHL’s Brandon Wheat Kings and even once drafted by an NHL team, he can only play for either that NHL team or the Wheat Kings. Nowhere else.

Hischier is not subject to these rules because technically speaking, he is not property of his junior team, the QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads. He’s under a junior contract with SC Bern of the Swiss league, and he’s been loaned to the Mooseheads, who merely own his major junior rights. Because of that, he can play in the NHL, AHL, QMJHL, or could even go back to Switzerland and play for SC Bern in a quality pro league there.

This is essentially the same thing that Alex Nylander of the Sabres did last season, going from the OHL to the AHL after he had been loaned to his junior team from a Swedish club prior to his draft year. Finnish-born Julius Honka, drafted by the Dallas Stars, jumped from the WHL to the AHL follow his selection in the 2014 NHL Draft as well.

Hischier was asked about his options for 2017-18 in an interview back in April, and he basically said that he’d do whatever the team that drafts him feels is best:

If you won’t make the NHL next season, would you play in the AHL or go back to Switzerland?

That’s tough to say. I’ll have to wait until after the draft and see what the team that drafts me think would be best for my development.

You’re under contract with SC Bern until 2019, right?

Yes, but it’s just a junior contract. It’s not a professional contract.

It might be irrelevant if Patrick/Hischier make the Flyers/Devils rosters this fall anyway, but it’s clear that this is a check in the pro column for Hischier.





[#] Wed May 03 2017 17:27:56 EDT from rss

Subject: Flyers prospect Carter Hart wins WHL Goaltender of the Year award ... again

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There’s one goalie with Hart. That’s it

Earlier today, we told you about how 20-year-old Philadelphia Flyers prospect Oskar Lindblom was named the top forward in the Swedish Hockey League -- one of the best hockey leagues in the world -- for the 2016-17 season.

That wasn’t the only major accolade handed out to a Flyers prospect today though. This afternoon, we learned that Carter Hart of the Everett Silvertips won the 2016-17 WHL Goaltender of the Year award. It’s the second-straight year that Hart has won the award, because he is wonderful.

The list of those who have won this award is pretty damn solid. Lots of names we recognize on this list:

Hart has one more year of eligibility in the WHL and will likely use it, since playing in the NHL next season seems unlikely no matter how much Kurt wants it to happen.





[#] Wed May 03 2017 18:15:24 EDT from rss

Subject: Hockey team in Claude Giroux

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Go Lumberjacks!

Claude Giroux is easily the most famous native of Hearst, Ontario, a small town of roughly 5,000 in the northern reaches of the Canadian province.

The town has a new junior hockey team starting next season, the Hearst Lumberjacks. They’ll play in the Northern Ontario Junior Hockey League, a Junior A level league. A few weeks ago, the Lumberjacks released their logo and uniforms, and I’m not sure how we missed this until now but ... they honor Giroux in basically every possible way.

Our logo / Notre logo Co-design by Jennifer Harley Please visit her website http://www.jenharley.com/

Posted by Hearst Lumberjacks on Monday, April 17, 2017

The big red beard. The Claude Giroux Foundation logo on the arm of the lumberjack. Hell, even the orange and black as the color scheme. Oh -- and the team’s uniforms:

Our jerseys / Nos gilets

Posted by Hearst Lumberjacks on Monday, April 17, 2017

Giroux has had a big hand in supporting this new team, apparently donating a bunch of money to help them get off the ground. Here’s more from team president Patrick Vaillancourt via the Timmins Daily Press:

The five trees in the background outline the shape of a crown, a tribute to the Hearst Lumber Kings of the local minor hockey association and the teams Giroux grew up skating with.

...

Notably, Giroux never even hinted at the idea. It was the Lumberjacks and their board of directors who decided to honour their hometown hero by including his personal design on their logo.

“As a tribute to Claude, because we're not shy about this — Claude did give us a hand in contributing to the team — so we just wanted to thank him, and that was our way of saying thanks to Claude,” explained Vaillancourt.

“His financial support to the team is one of the reasons we have a team now in Hearst, and we really, really appreciate what Claude did for the town.”

It’s cool to remember just how important players like Giroux are to their hometowns, particularly when those hometowns are small places like Hearst.





[#] Wed May 03 2017 18:35:34 EDT from rss

Subject: We have our first spotting of

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Hahaha

Shortly after he signed with the Eagles, Chris Long talked about how he was looking forward to sitting next to Fletcher Cox a lot this season.

I would think you wanna, you wanna always be sitting next to your d-line buddy. I think me and Fletcher will make a lot of plays together, so hopefully, we’re probably going to be in the d-line huddle a lot. You can figure that one out. […] I will always be sitting to the left of Fletch on the bench.

As it turns out, we didn’t have to wait long to see the first glimpse of LONG COX. Behold!

Perfect.

I’m sure it’s only a matter of time until we see LONG SMALLWOOD and LONG JOHNSON as well. And if Long and Cox wanted to get really creative, they’ll find a way to find this happen.

Nice.





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