Philadelphia Flyers top 20 prospects list has a new champion

By Jashvina Shah
Photo: Ivan Provorov helped Team Russia to a silver medal at the World Junior Championships in January. (Courtesy of Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

Photo: Ivan Provorov helped Team Russia to a silver medal at the World Junior Championships in January. (Courtesy of Claus Andersen/Getty Images)



The Philadelphia Flyers have some changes to their top-20 prospects, thanks to a solid 2015 draft class. Four players selected in the draft made the list, including top draft choice defenseman Ivan Provorov.

Aside from the newly drafted players, the rest of the top 20 has stayed the same. Travis Sanheim, Samuel Morin and Shayne Gostisbehere round out the team’s top defensemen, while Scott Laughton remains the team’s top forward prospect.

20. (NR) David Kase, C, 7.0 D
Drafted 5th round, 128th overall, 2015

Kase is a talented player, and he was one of the highest-rated European skaters for the 2015 draft. While there is much to like about Kase’s game—including his ability to create space for his teammates—his 5-foot-8 frame is a question mark, which is why his draft stock fell.

The forward spent the 2014-15 season with Pirati Chomutov of Czech2, where he played in 30 games and added 14 points. Kase represented his country during the World Junior Championships, where he played in four games. He also captained the team at the 2014 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament, where he put up two points in five games.

19. (NR) Cooper Marody, C, 6.5 C
Drafted 6th round, 158th overall, 2015

Marody could turn out to be a steal from the 2015 draft. The forward just won a Clark Cup with the Sioux Falls Stampede, netting 12 points in 12 games during the playoffs. There is still a long way to go for Marody, who will head to Michigan this fall, to develop. But the skilled forward has shown some promise so far. Through two seasons in the USHL, Marody recorded 88 points (31 goals, 47 assists) over 110 games with Muskegon and Sioux Falls.

18. (13) Reece Willcox, D, 6.5 C
Drafted 5th round, 141st overall, 2012

Willcox has been a solid defenseman during his time at Cornell, but has flown under the radar. He is not flashy, but he is a big defenseman with a long reach, and has been one of the team’s top defenders since his sophomore year. While normally logging high minutes, Willcox missed a portion of 2014-15 due to an injury. He should be back on Cornell’s top pair this year. As a junior, Willcox netted four points over 21 games.

17. (14) Valeri Vasiliev, D, 6.5 C
Drafted 7th round, 201st overall, 2012

Vasiliev has continued playing in the KHL since he was drafted. After a rough situation with Spartak Moscow, Vasiliev jumped to Avangard Omsk and ended up with Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod. Over his 35 games in the KHL last season, Vasiliev put up five points (two goals, three assists).

Not known for his offense, the defenseman has shown no signs of jumping to North America yet, but his physical style of play would make him a good fit with the Flyers. With a logjam of defensemen in Philadelphia’s organization, finding a spot with the team would be difficult.

16. (16) Oskar Lindblom, LW, 6.5 C
Drafted 5th round, 138th overall, 2014

Lindblom did not perform well heading into his 2014 draft year, so his stock fell a little. Since then, the left wing has proved why he was a good choice in the late rounds. Lindblom brings defensive awareness, and competes in all three zones. Skating was the biggest question mark for Lindblom, but he worked on that aspect of his game last season—and improved tremendously.

Lindblome graduated to the SHL this season, and appeared in 37 games for Brynas. He finished with 15 points (eight goals, seven assists) and also represented Sweden in international play.

15. (15) Radel Fazleev, LW, 6.5 C
Drafted 6th round, 168th overall, 2014

After a questionable performance during his draft year, Fazleev rebounded well in his second WHL season. The forward showed pieces of his potential after returning from at the end of 2013-14, and continued improving last season. Fazleev netted 51 points in 71 games for the Hitmen, and will most likely return to Calgary for the 2015-16 season.

Taken late in last year’s draft, there was not much risk attached to Fazleev—but he is proving he can be a force for Philadelphia. The two-way forward has become more adjusted to the WHL, and has demonstrated his offensive touch and playmaking ability.

14. (12) Taylor Leier, LW, 6.5 C
Drafted 4th round, 117th overall, 2012

Leier dressed for Lehigh Valley in the 2014-15 season, his first professional stint. Over 73 games with the Phantoms, Leier put up 31 points (13 goals, 18 assists). He earned some NHL preseason playing time, but did not join the Flyers during the regular season.

The left wing may not have much offensive upside, but he is still a solid forward prospect for the Flyers. He has improved certain aspects of his game, including his speed. Leier also plays in all situations, and is known for his hard work and his skill.

13. (11) Michael Parks, RW, 6.5 C
Drafted 5th round, 149th overall, 2010

Parks just completed his senior season at North Dakota, where he finished with a career-high 32 points (12 goals, 20 assists) over 42 games. Despite his 5-foot-11 frame, Parks stood out over his four years at North Dakota, putting up 96 points overall—including an injury-shortened sophomore season.

Speed was Parks’ calling card over his time at North Dakota, and he is one of Philadelphia’s fastest prospects. Parks used his speed to create space and chances for his teammates, but whether his size will translate to the professional level is uncertain. His offensive output most likely will not, leaving Parks as a lower-line forward.

12. (NR) Travis Konecny, C, 7.5 D
Drafted 1st round, 24th overall, 2015

A recent draftee, Konency already slots in as one of Philadelphia’s top prospects. He is a high-risk, high-reward player. The Flyers were happy they snagged him at the end of the first round, and see potential in the versatile, all-around player. Konecny addresses the forward void the Flyers have in their depth chart. The center needs to work on his defensive play, but brings a good shot and good skating.

The Flyers signed Konecny to an entry-level contract after the draft. He served as the captain of the Ottawa 67’s last season, where he recorded 68 points (29 goals, 39 assists). He is also represented Canada internationally, helping his country to gold at the 2014 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament. Konecny also played in the 2015 CHL Top Prospects Game prior to the draft.

11. (10) Anthony Stolarz, G, 7.0 C
Drafted 2nd round, 45th overall, 2012

While Stolarz is still Philadelphia’s best goaltending prospect, the situation has changed for the goaltender. Stolarz was considered the team’s future goaltender, but the Flyers took three netminders in the 2015 NHL draft. Some, like seventh-rounder Ivan Fedotov, are long shots to make the NHL, but it is hard to predict with goaltenders—and there are some attributes to like about Felix Sandstrom and Matej Tomek. The new influx of goaltenders has put pressure on Stolarz, who still needs time to develop.

Stolarz should benefit from another year in the AHL, after spending a season as Rob Zepp’s backup. Stolarz put up a .905 save percentage through 31 games, and earned a call-up in the middle of the season. Stolarz served as a backup, but GM Ron Hextall admitted Stolarz is not NHL ready yet. The goaltender has been searching for playing time, and that should help him refine aspects of his game. He brings a 6-foot-5 frame, and moves well with his size.

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