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PROSPECT UPDATE: Checking in with Flyers prospects

A look at the club's prospects thriving in their league's postseason.

by Bill Meltzer @NHLFlyers

Regular season play is complete in the three Canadian Hockey League circuits (Ontario Hockey League, Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, Western Hockey League) as well as the NCAA and the various top professional and junior leagues in Europe. Here's an up-to-date look at how Flyers-affilated prospects are faring in the playoffs of their respective leagues.


Swedish Hockey League (SHL)/ J20 SuperElit (Swedish Junior Hockey)

Oskar Lindblom: Lindblom's Brynäs IF Gävle team leads its playoff semifinal series against Frölunda HC Gothenburg, 1 games to 0. He did not get on the score sheet in game one. Last Tuesday, Lindblom notched a goal and an assist on Tuesday as Brynäs IF Gävle closed out its SHL quarterfinal series in six games with a 6-0 home win over Linköpings HC. Lindblom had five points in the series (1g-4a). It could easily have been more. Playing into some tough puck luck, Lindblom had shots go off the crossbar and the goal post over the course of the series. He was also very strong in puck battles along the walls. 

Despite being a left winger, the 20-year-old forward took faceoffs due an apparent upper body injury to his line's center. Lindblom won 43 of 70 (61.4 percent) of his draws during the series. On the ice for just one LHC goal the entire series, he was +5 at even strength. During the regular season, Lindblom was second in the league in goal scoring. 


Felix Sandström: Sandström got the start for Brynäs in Game One of the semifinals. He stopped 34 of 37 shots, including a win-preserving save right before the buzzer to earn a 4-3 victory. Frölunda was held scoreless until the third period but a pair of power play goals in the final three minutes shaved the deficit to one goal, and set up the hairy finish. A teammate of Lindblom's on Brynäs and all-tournament Best Goaltender award winner at the 2016-17 World Junior championships, the 20-year-old Sandström appeared in 22 regular season games (2.25 GAA, .908 save percentage). The Flyers' 2015 third-round pick (70th overall) did not start a game in the quarterfinals against Linköping but made a 25-second cameo in game two. Thirty-one-year-old veteran goalie David Rautio started all six games of the first-round series. 


Linus Högberg: The 18-year-old defenseman, selected by the Flyers in the fifth round (135th overall) of the 2016 NHL Draft appeared in 35 SHL games this season with the Växjö Lakers. He has three goals on loan to an Allsvenskan (the highest pro minor league) club and 11 regular season games (nine points) and one playoff game for the Växjö under-20 team in the J20 SuperElit circuit. He also played four games internationally for the Swedish under-19 national junior team and three with the under-20 team. This is a valuable array of experience for any teenage player in one season. 


David Bernhardt: The 19-year-old offensive-minded defenseman dressed in all seven games for Team Sweden at the 2016-17 World Junior Championships (three assists, plus-seven rating) and 27 regular season games in the SHL for Djurgårdens IF Stockholm (two goals, seven points, plus-seven). He also played in 21 regular season games (nine goals, 21 points) and two playoff games (one assist) for the Djurgården J20 team in the SuperElit league.



Merrick Madsen: Harvard will take on Minnesota Duluth in the Frozen Four on Thursday, April 6. Flyers goalie prospect Madsen has been a key reason for his team's success. The 21-year-old Madsen used both his positional savvy and his entire 6-foot-5 frame to capture Most Valuable Player honors during the ECAC championship tournament. Madsen authored a 41-save shutout against Providence in the Crimson's 3-0 win in the opening game. Most recently, he made 27 saves against Air Force and slammed the door late in including several big ones in the final minutes to preserve a 3-2 win over Air Force. Havard's Frozen Four semifinal opponent, Minnesota Duluth, is coached by Flyers Alum defenseman Scott Sandelin. Notre Dame will take on the University of Denver (coached by Jim Montgomery, a Flyers and Phantoms Alum forward).


Tanner Laczynski: A member of gold medal winning Team USA at the 2016-17 World Junior Championships, Laczynski enjoyed a very strong freshman year at Ohio State University (10 goals, 32 points in 34 games, plus-20 rating). He played an outstanding game in a losing cause against Minnesota Duluth in the NCAA West regional semifinal, earning one assist and generating three shots on goal but also showing both creativity, being hard to separate from the puck and playing a responsible game. Ultimately, Ohio State lost in overtime, 3-2. Laczynski was plus-one in the game.



Wade Allison: The Western Michigan University freshman power forward had a strong first collegiate year in his own right. The Flyers' 2016 second-round pick (52nd overall) posted 12 goals and 29 points in 36 games as well as 53 penalty minutes and a plus-six ranking. He nearly scored early in his team's NCAA East Regional Semifinal game against Air Force on March 24. Ultimately, though, the game was not the way Allison or his team would have scripted it. The underdog Air Force team built leads of 2-0, 4-1 and 5-3 only to see Western Michigan push back each time and close to within 5-4. With 1:13 left, Allison was assessed a checking-to-the-head major penalty and a game misconduct. Shorthanded the remainder of the game, Western Michigan could not find an equalizer. Allison did not record a point and had two shots on goal. Western Michigan is coached by Andy Murray, a former Flyers assistant coach. 


Matej Tomek: Drafted by the Flyers in the third round (90th overall) of the 2015 NHL Draft, the sophomore University of North Dakota netminder made his first two NCAA game appearances this season while otherwise serving as UND's backup. He represented Slovakia at the 2016-17 World Junior Championships, appearing in two games. The Slovak team was outmatched all tourney except against the relegation-bound Latvians. Under siege in two preliminary round starts, Tomek went 0-2 with a 3.50 goals against average but his .913 save percentage was the better indicator of his actual play.


Western Hockey League (WHL)

Carter Hart: Hart had a performance for the ages as his Everett Silvertips team closed out its first-round playoff series with the Victoria Royals in six games. The deciding match on Sunday was the longest in Western Hockey League history, going five overtimes and for 151:36:00 before Everett finally prevailed. Hart stopped 64 of 66 shots to earn the historic win. 

Game five was also an overtime decision in Everett's favor (3-2 final) and Hart previously recorded a 25-save shutout in the third game of the series. Overall, Hart posted a 1.58 GAA and .938 save percentage for the series, stopping 180 of 192 shots. Everett will play the Seattle Thunderbirds in the second round. Signed to a slide rule eligible entry-level contract by the Flyers earlier this season after being drafted in the second round (48th overall) of the 2016 NHL Draft, Hart enjoyed his second straight dominant regular season as a workhorse starting goalie for the Everett Silvertips after earning CHL Goaltender of the Year honors last year. 


Carsen Twarynski: Traded from the Calgary Hitmen to the Kelowna Rockets during the season, the Flyers' 2016 third-round (82nd overall) pick's new team took a three games to one lead in their first-round series against the Kamloops Blazers with a 1-0 win on Wednesday. They will look to close out the series on home ice on Friday. For the series to date, the 6-foot-2 winger had a pair of goals and four points. During the regular season, Twarynski played 36 games for Calgary prior to the trade (10 goals, 21 points, 42 penalty minutes, minus-11) and 28 with the Rockets (seven goals, 22 points, 18 PIM, plus-19).


Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) 

Philippe Myers: The defending QMJHL champion Rouyn-Noranda Huskies hold a three games to two lead over the Halifax Mooseheads in their first-round playoff series. The Huskies won the first two games of the series on home ice, lost the next two in Nova Scotia and then went triple overtime to earn a 5-4 win in Game Five. Myers chipped in a pair of assists. The Huskies will try to close out the series in Halifax on Monday. For the series to date, Myers has posted five points (one power play goal, four assists), six penalty minutes, an even plus-minus and 21shots on goal. Myers is under entry-level contract to the Flyers. 


German Rubtsov: Due to an injury, the Flyers 2016 first-round pick did not appear in the Chicoutimi Sagueneens' four-game sweep of their first-round QMJHL playoff series against the Victoriaville Tigres. He did, however, travel with his team to Chicoutimi. In 16 regular season games with Chicoutimi after coming over from the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) following the World Junior Championships, the dynamic Russian center racked up 22 points (nine goals, 13 assists) and a plus-11 rating. The Flyers signed Rubtsov to a slide-rule eligible entry-level contract on March 2. 


Pascal Laberge: The Flyers' 2016 second-round pick (36th overall) scored a pair of goals in Victoriaville's first-round series loss to Chicoutimi in four games. Amid an injury-plagued regular season, Laberge came on a bit over the latter portion of the season to finish the campaign with 12 goals and 32 points in 46 games played.


Samuel Dove-McFalls: The top-seeded Saint John Sea Dogs dispatched the Rimouski Oceanic in a first-round sweep. Rugged two-way center Dove-McFalls chipped in one assist in the four games but also won 61.2 percent of his faceoffs, produced 11 shots on goal overall and was plus-two. Healthier this season than last, the soon-to-be 20-year-old Flyers 2015 fourth-round pick (98th overall) contributed 17 goals (including three shorthanded tallies and a pair of power play goals), 53 points, a plus-21 rating and 57 penalty minutes in 65 games during the 2016-17 regular season.


Ontario Hockey League (OHL)

Connor Bunnaman: The hard-nosed forward, who enjoyed a 37-goal campaign during the regular, season sat out games two and three of his Kitchener Rangers' first-round series with the Owen Sound Attack stemming from a two-game suspension by the OHL. Bunnaman received a match penalty for slew footing in the first game of the series. The 6-foot-3, 214-pound center returned to the lineup in Game 4 on Wednesday, notching power play and even strength goals and going 16-for-35 on faceoffs. Bunnaman then recorded both goals in a Game 5 loss, which ended the season for the Rangers. He logged four goals in three games of the series.


Anthony Salinitri: Chosen by the Flyers in the sixth round (172 overall) of the 2006 NHL Draft, Salinitri's Sarnia Sting club was swept, four games to zero, by the Erie Otters in their first-round series. The center chipped in one assist and six penalty minutes in the series. During the regular season, Salinitri produced 28 goals, 58 points and 33 penalty minutes in 66 games, including a pair of hat tricks.


KHL/ Russian national team

Mikhail Vorobyov: The 20-year-old forward, who led all players with 10 assists at the 2016-17 World Junior Championships and scored a shootout goal in the medal round semifinals for bronze medalist Russia, saw his KHL team, Salavat Yulaev Ufa, ousted in five games in the playoffs. The 20-year-old center has since played in tournament action for the Russian "B" senior national team. He had 11 points in 44 regular season games this season for Salavat Yulaev; solid production in a generally low-scoring league from a player who receiving relatively limited ice time.


Ivan Fedotov: The towering (6-foot-7, 205 pound) 20-year-old Russian goaltender appeared in one playoff game for VHL (Russian minor league) team Toros Neftekamsk after making seven regular season appearances. Andrei Litvinov, a young veteran at the age of 24, got the majority of playing time for the club this season, both in the regular season and playoffs. Drafted by the Flyers in the seventh round (188th overall) of the 2015 NHL Draft, Fedotov attended the Flyers' Development Camp last July.


Czech Extraliga

David Kase: Kase's Chumutov Pirates (Pirati Chumutov) club has reached the semifinal round of the Czech Extraliga playoffs. Through his first 11 games of primarily third-line duty, the 20-year-old Flyers 2015 fifth round (128th overall) selection has posted four points (one goal, three assists) in 11 games. A team leader on the Czech junior national team, Kase returned from a collapsed lung earlier this season to play in his third and final WJC. An elusive "waterbug" and heart-and-soul type, Kase was the player of the game for the Czechs in their tournament opener. He also helped account for all of the Czechs' offensive output (one goal, one assist) in a 5-2 loss to Sweden and then provided an early lead with a goal against Canada off a bounce that went right to him.

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