The Philadelphia Flyers have had some formidable draft picks over the past number of years, many of them still working their way through the ranks to the NHL. They have a well-stocked system at both the forward position and defence. At the very top of this list are two forwards and one defenceman.
The Flyers’ main roster is talented all the way through and has left little room for young players to jump in and take a spot. This season and the coming seasons may change the fortunes of these prospects that have been waiting patiently and maturing in the minors.
Foerster hasn’t seen any NHL action in his career thus far, and this season will be no different after he’s set to begin the year with the Barrie Colts of the Ontario Hockey League. He has spent two seasons with the Colts already, and this would’ve been his fourth and final if not for the OHL not having a season in 2020-21. Instead, he played in the American Hockey League last season, posting very good numbers for a 19-year-old.
Not many players of that age get that much experience at a higher level if they don’t make the NHL squad and are eligible for junior. The 2020-21 season was the exception and should work out great for Foerster. He recorded 10 goals and 17 points in 24 games, continuing to show his goal-scoring ability.
Foerster was selected by the Flyers 23rd overall in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. At such a young age and more development needed, he won’t be able to crack the NHL lineup for a couple of seasons. By then, some of the larger contracts will be ending or coming to an end, and there will be space available. The Flyers will hope he is the player they hoped for when they selected him. It’s looking good to this point, but time will tell.
York is the top defensive prospect that the Flyers have in their system, and he or Yegor Zamula should get the first call-up if the big club is in need of reinforcements. Though just 20 years of age, York took a big step forward from the season prior, playing at the University of Michigan, his second and last there. In his first season with Michigan of the Big 10, he was solid, recording 16 points and a plus-9 in 30 games.
The step forward was clear when he proceeded to record 20 points in 24 games with a plus-13 last season before moving on. The road then took York to the American Hockey League, where he played eight games for the Flyers’ affiliate team, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. He impressed immediately, posting five points in those eight games.
In 2020-21, York also got a small trial run with the Flyers, playing in three games. He doesn’t look to start the season with the team since they just acquired Ryan Ellis, Rasmus Ristolainen, and Keith Yandle in the offseason. His name is the first I’d call upon if another defenceman goes down for a significant time so he can get more acclimated to the NHL. The Flyers will have to see if his production and play keeps up at the AHL level, but York should at least get the call-up later in the season when teams test out their young guys. Either way, this former 14th overall pick will be a key piece to the future of this franchise.
The oldest of the prospects on this list, Morgan Frost may be forgotten by many because of who he was drafted with. After missing the playoffs, the Flyers were able to move up and draft in a lottery spot. This may not have been the best in hindsight because they ended up selecting Nolan Patrick second overall, and he’s no longer on the team. Later in the same 2017 first round, they selected Frost with the 27th pick.
Frost has had two stints with the Flyers to this point. In his first-ever call-up in 2019-20, he scored two goals and seven points in 20 games, good for a rookie seeing his first NHL action of his career. Last season, he suffered a season-ending injury after just two games with the Flyers.
Though he had some injury troubles in 2020-21, Frost is back healthy and competing hard in preseason to earn his spot on the team again. This season, the second line centre position is his for the taking to start the season if he wants it. He has the opportunity with Kevin Hayes sidelined for a couple of months, so the Flyers hope that he will be able to step in with a chip on his shoulder and have a nice season.
Frost will be a rookie this season since he hasn’t exceeded 25 games in any preceding season or hasn’t played six or more games in any two previous seasons. If he is able to stay healthy and bounce back from his injury, the Flyers will be very happy with their former first-round selection and breathe a sigh of relief that this prospect was worth the wait. The team will need him to be the player they envisioned when they drafted him to add another level of threat to their already very deep offence.
A few honourable mentions for this list include Yegor Zamula, Samu Toumaala, Bobby Brink, and Emil Andrae.
The Flyers look like they have been hitting on first and second-round picks as of late, and if most of these players are given the time and tools needed, this franchise will have no problem being competitive for many years to come. Frost could contribute as soon as the start of this season, and they’re hopeful on York playing NHL games at some point within the next year. Foerster will be making his mark in due time as well. The organization and fans alike should be very excited about what’s on the horizon.