Photo: Forward Jason Akeson currently leads the Adirondack Phantoms with 16 goals and 42 points through 45 games. Akeson was signed by the Philadelphia Flyers to an NHL deal in 2011. (courtesy of Bill Streicher/Icon SMI)
The Adirondack Phantoms have had a rough couple of seasons in the AHL recently, but a fresh injection of youth and sophomore head coach Terry Murray are trying to right the ship. With Murray putting a heavy emphasis on defense-first hockey, the Phantoms are one of the best defensive teams in the AHL.
Photo: Defenseman Mark Alt is in his first full year of professional hockey following three seasons at the University of Minnesota. (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
The Philadelphia Flyers have generally taken an ambivalent approach to developing prospects, preferring to focus their resources on the NHL club and procuring more established young talent through trades or free agent signings.
Photo: Marc-Andre Bourdon is one of several Flyers defensive prospects who already has some NHL experience on his resume. (Jeanine Leech/Icon SMI)
While the Philadelphia Flyers prospect pool consistently hovers near the bottom of the league, it is not for a lack of production. A steady stream of graduates has kept the team rotating through young talent since the end of the 2004-05 NHL Lockout. Though they once again lack blue-chip prospects within their pool, most of the weight for the future of the team is carried by young NHL players such as Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek, Sean Couturier, and the Schenn brothers, Luke and Brayden.
Photo: Defenseman Erik Gustafsson is one of several Flyers defensive prospects with NHL experience. (Bill Streicher/Icon SMI)
While the Philadelphia Flyers do not necessarily have a deep or talented prospect pool, it is not because of poor drafting and prospect development. On the contrary, the Flyers' prospect pool is shallow because the organization does a masterful job transitioning their prospects directly to the NHL, with Brayden Schenn, Sean Couturier, and Matt Read the most recent to make the jump.
Photo: Brayden Schenn (right) celebrates with teammate and fellow rookie Sean Couturier. Schenn and Couturier were integral parts of the Flyers 2012 post-season run. (Bill Streicher/Icon SMI)
Though many have graduated from the prospect list through the course of this past season, a number of the 11 rookies that took part in the Philadelphia Flyers' 2011-12 season were also key components to their 2012 postseason.