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Meltzer on our defensive prospects


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Great overview of nine of our top defensive prospects by Meltzer.

 

http://www.hockeybuzz.com/blog/Bill-Meltzer/Meltzers-Musings-Defenseman-Development/45/61216

 

The thing that I like best about the Flyers current crop of defense prospects is that they span a gamut of playing styles and physical attributes. I have heard scouts talk about the Four S factors in projecting upside: size, speed, skill and sense.
 
Looking at the most notable defensemen who will be at the upcoming Development Camp, I would describe each of them as possessing the potential to have at least two of the four traits working for them (i.e., enough to someday have a role) and a couple who have the potential to have three or even all four.
 
Here are thumbnail sketches of nine players worth keeping an eye on at Development Camp and beyond. Note that Phantoms veterans Brandon Manning and Oliver Lauridsen and Russian defenseman Valeri Vasiliev will not be in attendance. 
 
Samuel Morin: The size is there. The skill and skating have been coming along steadily. Although he is a good skater for such a big man, Morin has been working to correct some flaws in his footwork. In terms of hockey sense, the main challenge with him is sometimes to calm him down. While it is possible that he could have such a good training camp in September that he cracks the Flyers' NHL roster, it is more likely that Morin spends one additional season in the QMJHL. Ron Hextall has said repeatedly that he would rather err on the side of caution with player development. There is no such thing as being "too NHL ready" but there have been plenty of once-promising young players who have been ruined by being rushed to the NHL.
 
Travis Sanheim: The Flyers' 2014 first-round pick is already a fine skater and shows remarkable poise for a defenseman his age. The rest is raw, but the upside is very high. His frame needs to fill out. He needs to challenge himself to play more physically. His puck skills are good but he's only scratched the surface of his potential to push the offensive play. There are hints of above-average hockey sense.
 
Shayne Gostisbehere: The only thing Gostisbehere lacks is size, and his ability to handle big forwards in the defensive zone at the NHL level is the main question mark he faces as he enters his first full pro season. Phantoms coach Terry Murray has said that he wants to encourage Gostisbehere to take advantage of his speed and ability to push the offensive play. The trick will be knowing how to recover when he gets caught, which is tougher to do in the pro game than in college hockey. In terms of skating, shooting and passing the puck, Gostisbehere is the most refined of all Flyers defense prospects. There is a chance he could see time with the big club next season, but it appears the organization prefers that he at least starts the season in Lehigh Valley.
 
Robert Hägg: All the physical tools are there. The question with Hägg is how much he wants to challenge himself to elevate both halves of his two-way game. Over the last year, the defense came along a little further than the offensive game, but that was largely opportunity based. He has to have a better game plan for what he wants to do on each shift and find an identity as a player. I believe that Hägg's two-way ceiling is quite high but I also think his early path with Modo before coming to the NHL was that of a player who settles into the middle tier due to consistency issues. The main thing he needs to do as a Phantoms rookie next season is to start to find his identity as a defenseman.
 
Mark Alt: The big-framed Phantoms defenseman is probably not quite NHL ready but also not that far away. He is probably never going to put up many points but he has some mobility to offer and generally keeps things fairly simple. 
 
Mark Friedman: The undersized defenseman was one of the top offensive blueliners in the USHL and also displayed a two-way game at that level. He skates well and has a heavy shot and is righthanded to boot. Friedman plays with a high degree of self-confidence, reminiscent of Gostisbehere. He is still raw, however, and will need seasoning in collegiate hockey (or major junior hockey, if things don't work out at Bowling Green for whatever reason).
 
Reece Willcox: One of the most overlooked prospects in the Philly system, Willcox has developed steadily at Cornell in the two years since the Flyers drafted him out of Junior A hockey. Good size, good mobility, good poise, good first pass ability. He lacks physicality and could stand to challenge himself to elevate the offensive end of his game. Nevertheless, as he approaches his junior year of college hockey, Willcox is very much on the right track. 
 
Jesper "Pitbull" Pettersson: If he wasn't a 5-foot-9 defensive defenseman, he'd have been drafted two years ago. Pettersson plays with a high compete level and not only is not afraid of taking a hit to make a play, he likes to initiate it with his fireplug-like frame. Pettersson knows what he is and what he isn't; which means he keeps things simple with the puck. As a no-risk 7th round pick in this year's Draft, the 20-year-old Swede is an interesting dark horse.
 
Terrance Amorosa: Coming off a good season in the USHL that saw him develop at a slow-but-steady rate, Amorosa will be a freshman at Clarkson next season. He may need all four collegiate seasons but there are some interesting raw materials of a mobile two-way defenseman.
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I have heard scouts talk about the Four S factors in projecting upside: size, speed, skill and sense.

 

Yea i just posted in another thread the future looks bright

 

Morin/Sanheim

Ghost/Alt

Hagg/Wilcox

Pettersson

 

Nice top 7!

very impressive young bluline...one common bond all are all very mobile.......words not usually used in the same sentence as Flyers Dmen....i'm excited. 

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Damn I'm excited about the future...too bad the future has to start NEXT season and not this one. Are any of the youngin's going to make the club? Maybe Laughton if they can trade VLC?

Why rush him? Giroux and Cooter have the top two C locked up.

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Why rush him? Giroux and Cooter have the top two C locked up.

 

 One of the reasons Laughton might make a big push is his elite face off skills. I don't know how this particular skill will translate to the NHL level, but if he's as good at it in the pros as he was in the O, that is a big plus going forward. The Flyers were pitiful at winning draws....and puck possession is obviously a big deal in the NHL. He just *may* play better without the puck than most of our centers, another thing in his corner. If Laughton was to crack the NHL roster, perhaps Cooter gets better linemates and it opens the door for him to contribute more offensively. It's an honour that Coots has earned, so it would be a nice reward for someone who gives 100% effort.

 

 In the end, I just want what is best for the Scott's development. There is no need to rush him, but he just may force the Flyers hand. It would be an awesome problem to have. Cap wise, it would obviously provide some relief, although that should have no bearing on the situation at all. You don't risk a players future/confidence to save a few bucks on the cap. We will know a lot more once training camp starts.....that date vs the Leafs in London is looking more and more enthralling. If I was ever gonna pony up $100+ to watch a pre-season game, this might be it....especially when factoring the exciting young prospects we have.

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He's in juniors, playing against teenagers. Not men. Big difference.

Let the transition take place gradually, so he can adjust and hone his skills along the way. He needs legitimate ice time to gain experience.

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  I had forgotten about Amorosa.  I remember him being a solid skating two way type. Interested to see how he has progressed. Geez, is *it* ever gonna be wicked sledding trying to crack this Flyers roster in a few years. If a darkhorse like Wilcox or Amorosa rise to the top and somehow make the Flyers, they would be leapfrogging some serious talent. The odds have to be staggering for them to make it. One thing for sure, in a few years, the Phantoms will be icing a defense that would have to be the best skaters as a group in the entire AHL. I'd be getting in on the ground floor with Phantoms season tickets if I lived anywhere close to their rink.....reserve the nice seats for the memorable talent influx they will inevitably see!

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I'd be getting in on the ground floor with Phantoms season tickets if I lived anywhere close to their rink.....reserve the nice seats for the memorable talent influx they will inevitably see!

 

I agree Jammer they will be icing a very talented team starting next year i think and it will be well worth the money.

 

It will be hard to crack the Flyer's lineup in a year or two for real.

 

How strange it feels to say that. I can certainly get use to it.

 

You'd have to think looking at the depth in the system now that Flyers will need to spend some picks on goaltending next year for sure. Goaltending and forward will need restocking in the future it looks like the Dmen coffers are brimming....can't to watch some of these kids grow.

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@OccamsRazor  The nice part is, the Flyers have taken care of the defensive side of the ledger, so their amateur scouts can now focus on the goalies and the forwards like you said. That is something the Flyers excel at, finding useful forwards. If they selected a d-man first next year, it would almost be over-kill at this point. I guess if a d-man falls through the cracks, they would still obviously take him, but if it's a tie, I'm thinking they lead towards the forward. I think Hexy is making a point to loading up for next years deep draft, so should be fun to watch him wheel and deal this year.....see how many picks he can compile.

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Jammer, you never know what you'll need five years forward from the draft. Always best player available, and hope half pan out.

 

 Totally agree.  I think you do have to plot a bit cap wise. Even if half of our d prospects make the cut, we will be faced with a bunch of our ELC's running out at the same time, possibly making it tough to re-sign them all. It's tough though, cause nobody knows where the cap will be at that point, or what type of cap situation we will be in at the time.....so probably worrying about stuff Hexy has no control over at this point.

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If they selected a d-man first next year, it would almost be over-kill at this point. I guess if a d-man falls through the cracks, they would still obviously take him, but if it's a tie, I'm thinking they lead towards the forward

 

I agree i have never been this satisfied with the defensive depth this club has on the farm since i have been a Flyer fan...ever and yes i know these guys are still prospects and haven't made it yet but even from a prospect stand point i have never seen the Flyers this deep.

 

Now they can focus on forward and goaltending and yes maybe one defensive prospect in the later rounds next year if they chose but from here on out they need forwards and goaltending.

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