5 Flyers Takeaways: Focusing on the Prospects

VOORHEES, N.J. - The group of prospects making up 2019 Flyers development camp is an impressive one.

General manager Chuck Fletcher, who has worked in the NHL since 1993, said it's the most talent he's ever seen in a development camp. Assistant general manager Brent Flahr didn't disagree.

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After Day 4 Friday of the five-day camp, let's look at a prospect-centric five takeaways, with a focus on forwards:

1. One-and-done kid

Joel Farabee really stands out and he happens to play the one position in which the Flyers appear to have an opening. 

When projecting the Flyers' 2019-20 lineup at forward, the team's top six looks full. The fourth line very well could be in place with Michael Raffl, Scott Laughton and Tyler Pitlick. However, a third-line winger is clearly needed.

And here's Farabee, a 19-year-old goal-scorer with length, speed and the traits to play anywhere in the lineup along the wing.

"You watch a Joel Farabee, you watch the way he thinks the game, especially the small area hockey games out there - he's a guy that I can imagine you put him with NHL players, he can play," Flahr said. "Whether he's physically ready or mentally ready to handle the grind of an NHL season, I'm not sure. I'm not sure that's realistic."

Farabee is a bit wiry. He said this week he's around 6-foot-1, 175 pounds. The 2018 first-round pick proved he was ready for the pro level after an award-winning freshman season at Boston University.

While Fletcher said it's ideal for prospects to see developmental time in the AHL, he didn't rule out the possibility of a youngster winning a job in camp.

What Fletcher adds or doesn't add during the free agency period starting Monday will mean a lot for Farabee's chances. But if there's a prospect that seems most poised and fit to fill a roster need on opening night, it's Farabee.

2. Remember Rubtsov

When asked if there were any prospects in development camp that could challenge for a job in training camp, Flahr did not hesitate to mention German Rubtsov.

The 2016 first-round pick is strong, advanced and possesses the hockey IQ of an NHLer. He's a center that thinks defense first. When he pushes the puck, he can score, too. The 21-year-old raced out of the chute with AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley last season, scoring six goals and 10 points in 14 games before a shoulder injury ended his season.

"Rubtsov's a guy that you watch him in certain drills defensively - our coaches, they like a lot of things that he brings," Flahr said. "Something that maybe people won't watch first glance, but you watch, he's always above the puck. He's always responsible. He's always in position. A lot of those things young players have to learn, he does well."

If Rubtsov can start quickly with the Phantoms again, he'll be on the radar throughout 2019-20.

"Another young guy that needs time and experience," Fletcher said, "but a smart hockey player, physically strong, has good skill and we believe he has a bright future."

3. A shade of Wade

Wade Allison has all the goal-scoring tools, from a craftiness around the net to a powerful shot. He's shown plenty during development camp and the right winger will be a player to watch as a senior at Western Michigan (if he returns to school, which seems likely).

As a sophomore for the Broncos, Allison was rolling with 15 goals and 15 assists in 22 games before tearing his ACL. The 2016 second-round pick is still not quite 100 percent. If/when he returns to full health, there's a ton of promise.

Allison was one of two prospects (Isaac Ratcliffe being the other) to score four goals in the 3-on-3 tournament Friday at Flyers Skate Zone.

4. Following O'Brien

Wherever Jay O'Brien plays in 2019-20 - it could be in the BCHL or at Boston University - he'll be worth watching after the 5-foot-11, 185-pounder endured a rough 2018-19, resulting in his transferring from Providence.

The 2018 first-round pick suffered injuries and had a difficult transition to the Division I level.

O'Brien is a positive kid and ready to take his growing pains in stride. The size, strength and physical aspects of the game are important in his growth because when he has daylight, he can do damage. 

Nate Leaman, a national title-winning head coach, called O'Brien's skill set "elite."

"He's always been a competitor, he likes to play with pace," Flahr said. "A lot of things that he needs to work on are strength related. He's not the biggest body. Stepping in from high school into the college level, it's a challenge. It's not easy. It doesn't matter how good you are. I think he learned that. It's probably the first time in his career that he went through any adversity at any level."

5. Just like his dad

A stick tap for Carson Briere, who showed his game Friday. He scored a nice goal during a drill in the morning and tallied three markers in the 3-on-3 tournament.

Briere isn't the biggest or fastest, but he's skilled with the puck and scored 44 goals in the NAHL last season.

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