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31 in 31

Top prospects for Philadelphia Flyers

Patrick, Lindblom hope to make impact this season

by Adam Kimelman @NHLAdamK / Deputy Managing Editor is providing in-depth prospect analysis for each of its 31 teams throughout August. Today, the Philadelphia Flyers.

The Philadelphia Flyers have spent the past five seasons building their prospect pipeline, and they believe this is the time to begin integrating some younger players on to the NHL roster.

"Who's going to step up? I don't know who's going to step up," general manager Ron Hextall said. "It's up to them to do it. … We've got a spot or two up front, we've got a spot or two on defense. It's up to our kids to come in and prove that they can help make us a better team."


[FLYERS 31 IN 31: Season preview | 3 Questions | Fantasy breakdown | Behind the numbers]


Here are the Flyers' top five prospects, according to 


1. Nolan Patrick, F

How acquired: Selected with No. 2 pick in 2017 NHL Draft

Last season: Brandon (WHL): 33 GP, 20-26-46

Patrick, who turns 19 on Sept. 19, spent more time off the ice than on it last season because of an undiagnosed sports hernia that required surgery June 13, 10 days before the Flyers drafted him. Recovery kept him off the ice during development camp, and then a facial infection kept him out longer.

When Patrick finally gets on the ice, he should be able to showcase the skill set that had him atop draft rankings all last season. He has NHL-ready size (6-foot-2, 198 pounds) and has shown a commitment to playing at each end of the ice. 

Projected NHL arrival: This season


2. Oskar Lindblom, F

How acquired: Selected with No. 138 pick in 2014 NHL Draft

Last season: Brynas (SHL): 52 GP, 22-25-47

In his second full season in the Swedish Hockey League, Lindblom, who turned 21 on Aug. 15, was second in the league in goals and fourth in points. He signed his entry-level contract May 30 and will play in North America for the first time this season.

Lindblom (6-1, 191) will compete for a top-nine forward spot with veterans Michael Raffl, Matt Read and Dale Weise.

Projected NHL arrival: This season


3. Carter Hart, G

How acquired: Selected with No. 48 pick in 2016 NHL Draft

Last season: Everett (WHL): 54 GP, 32-11-8, 1.99 GAA, .927 save percentage

Hart, 19, repeated as Western Hockey League goaltender of the year after leading the league in goals-against average, save percentage and shutouts. His nine shutouts were the most in the WHL since Darcy Kuemper had 13 in 2010-11.

Hart (6-1, 180) helped Canada win the silver medal at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship and is expected to be the starter at the 2018 WJC.

Projected NHL arrival: 2019-20


4. German Rubtsov, F

How acquired: Selected with No. 22 pick in 2016 NHL Draft

Last season: Vityazi Chekhov (KHL): 15, 0-0-0; Chicoutimi (QMJHL): 16 GP, 9-13-22

After playing in the Kontinental Hockey League and the Russia junior league, Rubtsov, 19, joined Chicoutimi of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League after playing for Russia at the 2017 WJC. 

Rubtsov (6-2, 178) is eligible to play in the American Hockey League, but it's more likely he spends at least one full QMJHL season before possibly jumping to the NHL.

Projected NHL arrival: 2019-20


5. Travis Sanheim, D

How acquired: Selected with No. 17 pick in 2014 NHL Draft

Last season: Lehigh Valley (AHL): 76 GP, 10-27-37

Sanheim, 21, had a solid adjustment to his first full professional season, finishing fourth among AHL rookie defensemen in goals and sixth in points. He also was plus-7, which Flyers management liked seeing because of his offense-first approach as a junior player.

The Flyers are stocked with talented young defensemen, and Sanheim (6-3, 181) will be competing against Samuel Morin, Robert Hagg and Philippe Myers for one of two open NHL spots. Morin and Hagg each made his NHL debut last season, which could put Sanheim a bit behind and headed for a second AHL season. But he could be first in line for an NHL spot if there's an injury or struggles on defense.

Projected NHL arrival: Next season

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