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: Drafted 20th overall in 2012, Scott Laughton has already drawn comparisons to former Flyers captain Mike Richards for his gritty, two-way style of play. (Bill Streicher/Icon SMI)
While the 2012 NHL Draft was far quieter for the Philadelphia Flyers than previous ones, the organization still got the job done. Though no major trades occurred, General Manager Paul Holmgren addressed his prospect pool perfectly. The organization went with the best available in the first round, answered some goaltending concerns in the second, and eventually secured some defensive depth to compete with current prospects.
Photo: Selected eighth overall in 2011 by the Philadelphia Flyers, Sean Couturier was brilliant in his first NHL season. (Jeanine Leech/Icon SMI)
Two years removed from a 2010 Stanley Cup Finals which saw the Chicago Blackhawks
triumph over the Philadelphia Flyers
, the products of the Flyers' 2003 Draft class finally stood atop the NHL world; only they stood there for the Los Angeles Kings
. Right before the draft last year, Philadelphia was buzzing with rumors, speculation, and enough chaos to send shockwaves through the NHL. The end result, following what in hindsight appears to be a successful weekend at the podium, was a collection of four young forwards that had a tremendous impact on the Flyers' 2011-12 season: Jakub Voracek, Wayne Simmonds, Sean Couturier, and Brayden Schenn. The two stars that had once defined their organization, Mike Richards and Jeff Carter, were on their way out of town and to an eventual Stanley Cup with Los Angeles.
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.
Photo: Winger Eric Wellwood is not only among the fastest skaters in the Flyers organization, but may be one of the fastest young players in all of hockey. (Bill Streicher/Icon SMI)
For rookies in the Flyers' system, the 2011-12 season was unlike any other. The team was in the midst of a turnover and with that turnover came opportunity. The rest of the opportunities were given out due to injuries, but each player was able to step up and make the Flyers' regular season a success.