Philadelphia Flyers prospects will have one last chance to showcase their talents before the start of the 2021-22 NHL season. For the first time in two years, the team will host a development camp to evaluate the recent progress of their prospects. Development camp will open this weekend Aug. 28–Sept. 1 at the Virtua Center Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees, New Jersey.
The development camp will include 29 prospects drafted or signed over the last couple of seasons, including Wade Allison, Cam York, Tyson Foerster, and Jackson Cates. Of the players in attendance, a handful spent time with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms last season after the junior hockey leagues were suspended. Some of those prospects even earned time with the Flyers late in the season.
A schedule has not been released, and there’s been no word on whether fans will be allowed to attend camp. However, there will be more than enough players to keep an eye on as the Flyers’ organization is loaded with talented prospects. Yet, some stand out more than others. Here are four names worth watching.
Having already made his NHL debut at the end of last season, Allison is a player that Flyers fans are quickly becoming familiar with. He is a big, fiery forward who is not afraid to go into the dirty areas. His game compares to former Flyer Scott Hartnell, which is a tremendous advantage for the young winger. Some expect him to crack the NHL lineup this season, but after management signed a few veteran depth players, it is more likely that he will spend most of the season with the Phantoms.
Allison has been hard at work this offseason at his parent’s farm in Myrtle, Manitoba, where he has been lending his father a hand. He knows he still has plenty to prove in order to make the Flyers’ lineup but will not stop once he does (from ‘Down on the farm (literally), rugged Wade Allison looks like he can muscle up the Flyers’ lineup,’ Philadelphia Inquirer, 07/06/21).
“I obviously still have to prove myself,” Allison said. “I’m still a young guy and only got in a short stint with the Flyers. But in that short stint, I feel I do belong there. That it’s a place I can come into and have a positive effect.”
A video posted recently showed Allison during a training session and he looked ready to go for development camp. His wicked shot is going to be special once he joins the NHL lineup full time. He will provide that much-needed spark anytime he is on the ice.
All Flyers fans should be familiar with the name Cam York by now. After he was drafted 14th overall in the 2019 NHL Draft, he has been anticipated to be the future of the team’s defense. Selected one spot ahead of Cole Caufield, who many fans were hoping the Flyers would draft, he must prove his worth this upcoming season.
He made his NHL debut last season against the Washington Capitals and had a solid performance. He played in two other games with the big club. The Flyers signed Keith Yandle as a free agent this offseason, which means York will likely spend a large chunk of the campaign with the Phantoms. However, he will benefit from playing a full professional season at a faster, more physical pace.
Flyers fans are going to fall in love with York and be thankful that he was drafted by their team. He will continue to grow and get stronger as he continues working towards making the NHL.
Flyers fans are going to love watching Tyson Foerster in the orange and black in the coming years, though he is still a few seasons away from cracking the NHL lineup. The 19-year-old from Alliston, New Tecumseth, was drafted 23rd overall by the Flyers in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft.
Foerster spent last season with the Phantoms, where he put up 17 points (10 goals, 7 assists) in 24 games. That was more than impressive for a player that was supposed to be in the OHL with the Barrie Colts, but since the season was canceled, he was gifted the opportunity to play professional hockey and could get his footing in a professional setting.
There are some concerns over his skating abilities, but he seems to have figured those out more and more as he gains experience in a faster, more physical league. This development camp will be an opportunity for him to turn some heads and put a name for himself on the board.
Jackson Cates is the younger brother of fellow Flyers prospect, Noah Cates who was drafted in the fifth round of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. Cates spent the last three seasons with the Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs before he was signed by the Flyers as a college free agent to a two-year entry-level contract. During his time with the Bulldogs, he produced solid numbers with 64 points (27 goals, 37 assists) over 96 NCAA career games. He made his NHL with the Flyers last season, playing in the final four games, recording one assist and seven shots on goal.
He could become sneaky talented down the line for the Flyers and could fill a spot in the bottom six. He will spend most of the season with the Phantoms, where he will have the opportunity to play as a top-six forward and make a name for himself. During this summer, he played in Da Beauty League, a summer hockey league full of NHLers, College players, and other professional players.
While most of the players attending development camp will likely see time with the Phantoms and Flyers at some point this season, there are a handful who will be sent back to their junior teams before the season starts. The whole point of development camp is for prospects to make a name for themself and speed up the process of spending time with the big club. At the end of the day, some of these prospects will work out, and others will not, but it is reassuring to see how much talent the Flyers have in their system.
Bobby Bader is a freelance journalist from Philadelphia, PA covering the Philadelphia Flyers for The Hockey Writers since the start of the 2020-21 National Hockey League Season. He currently works with the Hershey Cubs Hockey Club (USPHL) as the team’s media coordinator as the team prepares for its inaugural season. For interview requests or to provide content info, follow Bobby on Twitter or his social media accounts. They appear under his photo on articles like this one.