Flyers 2009-10 NCAA prospects update

By Chris Shafer

With the James vanRiemsdyk‘s early departure to the NHL from the University of New Hampshire, the Flyers are thin on the NCAA front. With the aging of their prospect group in general, only two players remain in college.

Oliver Lauridsen, D — St. Cloud State
6’6, 220 pounds
Acquired: 7th round, 196th overall, 2009

The 20-year-old Danish-born Lauridsen was selected by the Flyers at the very end of the 2009 draft, mainly for his size. He does possess the talent to turn his size into a distinct advantage that would be useful at the NHL level, but his overall game needs quite a bit of work. He is still very raw now in his sophomore year now at St. Cloud State.

The hope is that eventually Lauridsen will learn to not only use his frame as an advantage but will also work on his positioning. His skating could use some work, but the biggest problem right now could be his decision-making. A full four years of college hockey before turning professional would be the best thing for the gigantic blueliner so that he can get used to not only the North American game but also get accustomed to the mechanics of shut-down hockey.

In 28 games during his rookie season, Lauridsen notched only one assist. So far, through 26 games this year, he has tallied a goal and four assists. There is certainly a little improvement to Lauridsen’s game, but he has time to progress into the immovable force on the blueline that the Flyers think he has a chance to become.

Brad Phillips, G – Notre Dame
6’2, 181 pounds
Acquired: 7th round, 182nd overall, 2007

The journey through college hockey for 20-year-old Phillips has not been an easy one. The Flyers drafted him in the 7th round of 2007 after a couple seasons of solid performances with the U.S. Under-18 team, but he managed only five starts as a freshman at Notre Dame. With a record of 4-1 as well as a 1.53 goals-against-average and a .923 save percentage, there were high hopes in both South Bend, Indiana and Philadelphia.

While Phillips was still penciled in as the back-up for 2008-09, he was expected to progress enough to take over the starting job in his junior year. A knee injury suffered during the preseason however, sidelined him for the entire season.

His return in 2009-10 would also not go as expected. Though his injury had healed and he was ready to go as the starter behind a very good defensive unit, he would eventually lose the job to freshman Mike Johnson, who leap-frogged both Phillips and 2008-09 back-up, Tom O’Brien.

Though Phillips does not seem to be suffering any after effects of his knee injury, he has only managed a record of 2-3-3 having played in nine games. His 2.20 goals-against-average and .921 save percentage are certainly respectable enough, but at this point, Johnson has logged over double the amount of minutes Phillips has. It is certainly not the triumphant return hoped for, and because of this, he will likely have to battle for the remainder of his collegiate career.