The future of the Philadelphia Flyers blue line looks bright and it’s not hard to see why. They have rookie Shayne Gostisbehere taking the league by storm and deserves to be in the discussion for the Calder trophy, prospects Robert Hagg and Samuel Morin are playing well with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms and seventh overall pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, Ivan Provorov, has been having a phenomenal year in the WHL.
Add everything up and the Flyers are going to have some decisions to make in the near future, but this is a problem that just about every other NHL team wants to have, they have a plethora of promising prospects.
Robert Hagg’s Rough Year with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms
In 47 games played, Hagg has just six points, 26 penalty minutes and is a minus-8 skater. He was a second round pick in the 2013 NHL entry draft at 41st overall and was selected for his smart defensive play and puck moving ability. However, the skills he showed prior to the draft haven’t exactly transferred over to the AHL.
In fact, Robert Hagg has been a healthy scratch a few times this season for inconsistencies in his play.
Robert Hagg is a healthy scratch unless I missed something last night in Albany.
— Tony Androckitis (@TonyAndrock) January 10, 2016
And it’s funny because that’s been the biggest knock on Hagg since he was drafted.
I spoke with a NHL pro scout at the Phantoms 3-0 loss to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins about Hagg and his future. Before I go any further, NHL scouts have a rating scale for prospects, and it’s absolutely subjective, but the scale goes A-F, with A rated prospects being the highest possible.
Here’s what the scout had to say about Hagg.
I’ve only seen Robert Hagg play a few times, but I keep seeing the same things from him. He’s got all of the tools to be an effective puck moving, not necessarily offensive, defender in the NHL, but you never know what you’re going to get from him. His biggest problem is all mental, one night he looks like a great player who can takeover a game and the next he’s one of the worst skaters on the ice. However, he is only 21-years old and there’s still time for him to hone his mental game and given the potential he has I’d rate him as an “A” prospect.
Again I’ve said the rating system that NHL scouts is very subjective and up to their interpretation and here’s the take of another scout.
@MPityk_PHI I had a scout label Hagg as a "lost cause" before I left town. No joke.
— Super Moist Via Getty Papa John (@BB2448885) March 5, 2016
Robert Hagg is the classic case of a player who’s got the fundamental tools and playing ability to be a very good player, but can’t seem to get everything together. Is he NHL ready yet? I don’t think so, but the Flyers are able to leave him in Lehigh Valley for another year or two and see how he responds. The biggest thing that Hagg needs to learn is “how to be a pro” as many scouts have said, once he figures that out, he could be a very solid NHL defender.
Thanks for reading! Feel free to leave your comments below or tweet me anytime @MPityk_PHI
* Featured image provided by Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers
Michael Pityk is an analyst who has written for numerous sites since beginning his professional career. He’s acted as a credentialed member of the media for the Philadelphia Phillies, Philadelphia Flyers, Pittsburgh Pirates and the Pittsburgh Penguins. His work has been featured in Sports Illustrated, The Sports Journal, MSN, PensLabyrinth, Montreal Hockey Talk, ESPN Pittsburgh, The Hockey Writers, Todays SlapShot and The Bleacher Report. He formerly was the editor of Pens Labyrinth and an analyst for The Sports Journal. Michael presently acts as an NHL Analyst for The Hockey Writers