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Flyers Prospect Roundup, Part 1: The CHL Report

Get up-to-date on the draft picks and prospects playing in Canadian Junior Leagues

by Bill Meltzer @billmeltzer

Several Flyers prospects have been among the hottest players in CHL junior hockey in recent weeks. Here's a look at how Flyers prospects in the Ontario Hockey League, Western Hockey League and Quebec Major Junior Hockey League have performed in November.

ONTARIO HOCKEY LEAGUE (OHL)

Morgan Frost (C, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds): The Flyers "other" 2017 first-round pick has been on fire offensively in November. The 18-year-old center has racked up 22 points (eight goals, 14 assists) in his last 12 games. For the season, he's up to 36 points (12 goals, 24 assists) in 25 games; a 1.44 points-per-game average. Among his 36 points, he has either been the goal-scorer or registered the primary assist on 30 of them, while three other have either been direct rebounds of chances he set up or the first pass of a tic-tac-toe goal sequence. 

Most recent game: Frost recorded even strength and power play assists in his team's 8-3 home blowout win over the Peterborough Petes on Saturday night.

Matthew Strome (LW, Hamilton Bulldogs): Over his last 10 games, Strome has been on an offensive tear. In that span, he has posted eight goals and nine assists for 17 points. For the season, he now averaging over a point-per-game (13 goals, 11 assists, 24 points in 23 games) after a slow start. While his skating remains a work in progress, Strome plays in all game situations for Hamilton and displays good hockey sense.

Most recent game: The Flyers' 2017 fourth-rounder compiled a Gordie Howe Hat Trick plus (two goals, one assist, one fight) in the Hamilton Bulldogs' 6-2 home win over the Ottawa 67's on Saturday. One of Strome's tallies was a "lacrosse style" goal. In one deft motion, he scooped the puck up behind the net on his stick blade, swung around the net and deposited it under the crossbar.

Connor Bunnaman (C, Kitchener Rangers): Bunnaman has been a streak scorer in his junior career, and has been red-hot of late. The 6-foot-2, 220-pound center has nine goals and 17 points in his last 14 games. The Rangers' captain has points in seven straight games (three multi-point games) and at least one point in 13 of the last 14 matches. For the season, he has recovered from a slow start to be at a point-per-game average; 14 goals, 11 assists, and 25 points in 25 games.

Most recent game: Bunnaman recorded a third-period power play assist as the Rangers rallied for for three unanswered goals in the final stanza to defeat the host Owen Sound Attack on Wednesday night. He had a rough night on faceoffs (4-for-13). However, the Flyers' 2016 fourth-round selection has won more than half of his draws in eight of the last 14 games, including a pair of 10-for-13 nights on the dot. 

Maksim Sushko (RW, Owen Sound Attack): A shoo-in to represent Belarus at the upcoming 2017-18 World Junior Championships in Buffalo, Sushko went on an offensive tear in October, including a four-goal outburst against Oshawa on Oct. 14. Points have been much harder to come by in November. The Flyers' 2017 fourth-round pick went through a stretch of seven pointless games out of 12. However, he closed out the month on an up note. He is still close to a point-per-game for the season (12 goals, 21 points in 23 games) after he raced out of the games with nine goals, five assists and 14 points through the first 11 games. 

Most recent game: Sushko recorded a goal and an assist against Kitchener on Wednesday night as his team built a 4-2 lead over the middle stages of the second period to early in the third stanza. The Rangers then rallied for three goals to win the game. 

Isaac Ratcliffe (LW, Guelph Storm): Ratcliffe's individual season has been the opposite of Sushko's. The hulking (6-foot-6, 200-pound) left winger scuffled to score in October but has taken flight this month. He has points in six of his last eight games. In that eight-game span, Ratcliffe has scored seven goals and added five assists for 12 points. For the season, the Flyers' 2017 second-round pick is up to 21 points (12 goals, nine assists) in 24 games. While still minus-11 overall at even strength, he's plus-three over the last 12 games. 

Most recent game: Ratcliffe's four game goal/point streak came to an end on Sunday in a 5-1 road loss to the London Knights. He had two shots on goal and was minus-one. Over his last five games, Ratcliffe has recorded 19 shots on goal.

Anthony Salinitri (C/W, Sarnia Sting): The speedy Flyers' 2016 sixth-round pick broke out of a six-game pointless drought on Nov. 10 with a two-goal game against Sault Ste. Marie. He went on to build a four-game point streak including a hat trick (on five shots on goal) against the Windsor Spitfires on Nov. 17. Since then, Salinitri has one assist in the last four games. For the season, the fourth-year forward has posted 10 goals (three power play tallies), 13 assists and 23 points in 26 games to go along with 27 penalty minutes and a minus-two rating.

Most recent game: The Sting captured a 4-3 road win against the Erie Otters on Saturday. Salinitri did not record a point. He has one shot on goal and was 0-for-3 on faceoffs.

 

WESTERN HOCKEY LEAGUE (WHL)

Carter Hart (G, Everett Silvertips): Competing to earn starting goalie duties for Team Canada at the World Junior Championships, Hart has not skipped a beat since missing most of the early season with mononucleosis. In 12 games this season to date, Hart has an 8-3-3 record, 1.63 GAA, .951 save percentage and three shutouts. The Flyers' 2016 second-round pick has set a new Everett franchise record with 22 career shutouts. 

Most recent game: Hart stopped 22 of 24 shots to earn the win on Saturday night as the Everett Silvertips downed the visiting Vancouver Giants, 5-2. 

Carsen Twarynski (LW/C, Kelowna Rockets): The Flyers' 2016 third-round pick has had quite a week. Last Friday, he celebrated his 20th birthday in style, scoring a shorthanded goal early in the first period and posting three shots on goal in the Kelowna Rockets' 6-3 road win against the Vancouver Giants. The next night, he enjoyed a three-point game (one goal, two assists) on Saturday night as the host Rockets blanked the Medicine Hat Tigers, 4-0. He earned second-star honors that night. The hot streak has continued into the current week. Twarynski has posted points in eight of his last 10 games. For the season, he has compiled 18 goals (six power play goals, two shorthanded) among 30 points in 23 games. The fourth-year WHL player is technically an over-ager this season. His previous full-season career highs in offense were 20 goals and 45 points as a member of the Calgary Hitmen in 2015-16; Twarynski will most certainly surpass those totals if he stays healthy this season.

Most recent game: Twarynski recorded a hat trick as Kelowna downed the visiting Prince George Cougars on Wednesday night. 

 

QUEBEC MAJOR JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE (QMJHL)

German Rubtsov (C/W, Acadie-Bathurst Titan): The Flyers' 2016 first-round pick recently missed three games with an undisclosed injury but has returned to the Titan lineup. In eight games since being traded from the Chicoutimi Sagueneens to Acadie-Bathurst, the Russian forward has posted eight points (two goals, six assists). He had 11 points (three goals, eight assists) in 11 games prior to the trade. Rubtsov is likely to play for Team Russia at the upcoming World Junior Championships. He has played more wing than center this season in the Quebec League, although the Flyers envision him as a center at the pro level.

Most recent game: The Titan were shut out, 4-0, by the host Charlottetown Islanders on Tuesday night. Rubtsov was even in plus-minus with two shots on goal.

Pascal Laberge (C, Victoriaville Tigres): The Flyers 2016 second-round pick fell short of expectations last season, partially due to injury. The fourth-year Quebec League forward is healthy now but is having a slow start to the season. He has posted five goals and 14 points in 25 games. On Saturday night, Laberge came to the defense of teammate Vitalii Abramov in an early second period skirmish and received a fighting major and aggressor penalty (fighting an opponent who made no effort to fight back or was otherwise defenseless), and received a one-game suspension for his troubles. Laberge served his one-game suspension as the Tigres visted Sherbrooke on Tuesday night

Most recent games: The visiting Rimouski Oceanic shut out Victoriaville, 3-0 on Wednesday night. 

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