Prospects News & Rumors: Foerster, Zboril, Marchenko & Miftakhov

The Philadelphia Flyers quickly signed their top pick from last week’s draft. The Boston Bruins have been impressed with one of their defensive prospects and have rewarded him accordingly. One of the Columbus Blue Jackets’ top prospects is back on the ice and showing he is no worse for wear. Finally, the Tampa Bay Lightning are looking to Russia for their goaltending future and their newest prospect’s professional career is off to a great start.

Flyers Sign Top Pick

The Flyers wasted very little time in inking their top pick of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. On Wednesday, they announced that they signed Tyson Foerster to a three-year entry-level contract. Philadelphia used the 23rd overall pick of the draft to add the right wing into their prospect pool.

“Tyson obviously has a lot of offensive gifts,” said Flyers’ general manager Chuck Fletcher. “He can shoot the puck tremendously well. Goal scorer. Playmaker. Great hockey sense. Really good size. He’s got a lot of attributes. I think the good thing about Tyson was very good with self-awareness, of his strengths and the areas that he needs to improve. He’s worked very hard on those areas during the pause. We expect he’ll continue to develop into a pretty good player.”

Tyson Foerster, OHL, Barrie Colts
Foerster signed his first pro contract. (Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images)

Foerster is the second member of the Flyers’ 2020 draft class to sign with the team. They have already agreed to terms with fourth-round pick (94th overall) Zayde Wisdom. He is waiting for the start of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) season where he led the Barrie Colts last season with 36 goals and 80 points. He could make the case to turn pro at the start of the 2021-22 season.

Bruins Bring Back Zboril

Bruins’ general manager Don Sweeney announced a trio of contract signings on Wednesday, including a new two-year deal for defenseman Jakub Zboril. The 23-year-old signed a new two-year deal with a $725,000 salary cap hit per season.

Zboril was originally drafted by the Bruins in the first round (13th overall) of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. His progression has been slow, which has earned him some criticism, but the development is there. In 58 American Hockey League (AHL) games for the Providence Bruins last season, he scored three goals and had a career-high 16 assists to go with a plus-20 rating.

Phil Varone Lehigh Valley Phantoms
Zboril has been progressing nicely in the AHL. (JustSports Photography)

The most interesting thing about Zboril’s deal is that it is a one-way contract. That means he would have to clear waivers if he were to be sent back down to the AHL. You usually don’t give a player you plan on shuffling back-and-forth between the NHL and AHL a one-way contract. This is a clear sign that he is part of the Bruins’ immediate plans.

Zboril is currently on loan to HC Kometa Brno in his native Czech Republic. He has played in two games so far and will return for the start of training camp, hopefully in early December.

Marchenko Back with a Vengeance

Blue Jackets’ prospect Kirill Marchenko has had an interesting start to his 2019-20 season, to say the least. He started the season in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) where he scored two goals and four points in nine games for SKA St. Petersburg. Then, he tested positive for COVID-19.

After making a full recovery, he returned to action this week with SKA-1946, St. Petersburgh’s junior affiliate in the MHL. In just two games, the 20-year-old left winger has three goals and seven points.

Obviously, once he gets his conditioning back to where it needs to be, Marchenko will return to the KHL. Columbus originally drafted him in the second round (49th overall) of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. His game has been compared to that of Nashville Predators’ dynamic forward Filip Forsberg. Marchenko’s KHL contract runs through the 2021-22 season, so he still has some time to develop before heading over to North America.

Miftakhov has Stellar KHL Debut

While the Lightning’s goaltending situation is pretty secure with Andrei Vasilevskiy between the pipes, that did not stop them from keeping an eye on the future at last week’s draft. They used their sixth-round pick (186th overall) to select another Russian netminder in Amir Miftakhov.

The 20-year-old goalie made his KHL season debut for Ak Bars, on Wednesday, and it is hard to imagine a better way to make a first impression. Miftakhov stopped all 23 shots he faced in a 4-0 shutout, leading Ak Bars to their seventh straight victory.

Miktakhov made a name for himself at the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship. He outplayed first-round pick Yaroslav Askarov and eventually took the starting job away from him. He finished the tournament with a .919 save percentage, leading Russia to the silver medal.

As the season carries on in Europe, we will keep you updated on how your favorite team’s prospects are doing. This is an exciting time of year and hopefully, North America can join in on the fun in the near future.