Foerster and Attard among Philadelphia Flyers’ top prospects
When it comes to how competitive the Flyers are, few questions have been raised since the notorious Broad Street Bullies set the bar high a generation or two ago.
At least until recently. There have been talks that the team could use a few more energetic players, especially beyond this forgettable season.
Assistant general manager Brent Flahr, who leads the Flyers’ development program, agrees the team prioritizes skill, speed and strength, but a player with fire in his eye doesn’t hurt .
“Being a competitive guy, having that drive and compassion, is vital,” he says. “Some guys do better because of it.”
In the past week alone, college stars Noah Cates and Ronnie Attard have already made their NHL debuts with the Flyers.
Here are the top 10 prospects in the Flyers’ development system, according to a sample of NHL scouts:
1. Tyson Foerster, RW, 20, 6-2, 194, Lehigh Valley (AHL)
The Allison, Ont. native is out for the year after undergoing shoulder surgery. Before that, there was a chance he could get a glimpse with the Flyers. “He’s skating now,” Flahr said, “but we’re moving forward on the side of caution. I hope he can use the time to get stronger, he’s been skating hard. It’s frustrating to miss this year. You saw what he could do last year (10 goals in 24 AHL games); his level of competition is very good. Skating is something he is still working on and he continues to improve. His skill level, his hands, his shooting all point to big offensive potential for us.” Acquired: 2020 draft, 23rd overall.
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2. Egor Zamula, D, 21, 6-3, 177, Lehigh Valley (AHL)
Consistency is perhaps the biggest thing missing from the Chelyabinsk, Russia native’s game. Injuries and illnesses have combined to make this a difficult goal. “He’s lost five pounds and he’s not a player who can lose five pounds,” Flahr said. “Strength is a problem and it’s an ongoing process. His hockey IQ is very good, with and without the puck. He is lucky to have a (long) range. Zamula had brief tries with the Flyers the past two seasons; also impressed coaches in training camps. “In battles at the NHL level, it’s very different,” Flahr said, “in terms of the pace and size and skill level of the game.” Acquired: free agent, Sept. 20, 2018.
3. Wade Allison, RW, 24, 6-2, 205, Lehigh Valley (AHL)
Speaking of fire in the eyes, that description fits Allison perfectly. The only problem is that it prevents him from staying healthy. Last year he suffered two ankle sprains (one that cost him 25 games) and in 2022 an MCL sprain. Should he go back a notch? “It’s bad luck. We may have to sacrifice a chicken,” Flahr said. “There isn’t a guy who works harder off the ice. He’s built like an Adonis but he’s just been unhappy with the injuries. The level of competition, the juice he plays with can benefit both teams (Flyers, Phantoms), wherever he ends the season. He’s a guy we’re really passionate about.” Acquired: 2016 draft, 52nd overall.
4. Samu Tuomaala, AD, 19, 5-10, 180, Oulun Karpat, (Liiga, Finland)
It’s been a very eventful year for the young right-winger from Oulu, Finland. He had a brief tryout with the Phantoms and then returned to his homeland. “He has great tools,” Flahr noted. “He has the speed, the big wing kick. There is still work to be done on defense. He certainly has dynamic qualities. Flyers senior adviser Mike O’Connell added, “He’s a fun player to watch. Every time he gets on the ice he kicks me out of my seat watching this kid go. Very enthusiastic. We just want to educate him as much as possible in a short time.” Acquired: 2021 repechage, 46th overall.
5. Bobby Brink, RW, 20, 5-8, 159, University of Denver (NCHC)
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When your middle name is “Orr,” as in hockey legend Bobby Orr, the love of hockey is pretty much obvious. “This kid is a rink rat, he’s a hockey player,” Flahr said. “Tenacious, very intelligent, competent. He’s just one of those guys who likes to play the game. He sticks his nose in blue paint. He’s one of those guys that if you leave him on the ice after practice, he’ll be there all day.” Flahr believes Brink has a bright future. “He will be ready to turn pro after this season,” predicted Flahr. Acquired: 2019 draft, 34th overall.
6. Emil Andrae, D, 19, 5-8, 181, HV71 Jonkoping (Sweden-1): Smart and competitive leader. The speed makes up for its lack of size. Acquired: 2020 draft, 54th overall.
7. Noah Cates, LW, 23, 6-1, 179, University of Minnesota-Duluth (NCHC): Very detail-oriented American Olympian. Outperformer, plays in all situations. Offensive threat. Made his debut for the Flyers last week. Acquired: 2017 draft, 137th overall.
8. Ronnie Attard, D, 22, 6-3, 208, Western Michigan University (HCNC): Powerful point shooter. Needs to work on pace and speed of play. He was scheduled to make his Flyers debut on Saturday against Toronto. Acquired: 2019 draft, 72nd overall.
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9: Alexei Kolosov, G, 20, 6-1, 185, Minsk Dynamo (KHL): Finding rare success at a young age in KHL competition; confident and confident goalkeeper. Acquired: 2021 draft, 78th overall.
10. Tanner Laczynski, C, 24, 6-1, 190, Lehigh Valley (AHL): Hip surgeries have hampered progress. Sound player at both ends. Acquired: 2016 draft, 169th overall.