As the Flyers have hit the halfway point of this season, the playoff picture is starting to become clearer. As of Wednesday, January 17th, the Flyers are three points out of a wildcard playoff spot. When teams make the playoffs, or are making that final push to make it, they usually call up some of their higher-end prospects. As we all know, the Flyers have their fair amount of prospects in the pipeline, and many seem like they have the ability to make an impact at the NHL level.
Oskar Lindblom, one of the Flyers’ better-known prospects, has been playing with the Phantoms in the AHL this year. After an outstanding campaign in the SHL that saw him post 47 points in 52 games, he currently has 27 points in 40 games for the Phantoms. The Flyers have high-producing forwards in Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier, and Jakub Voracek, but other than them, the forward group has been struggling to score. This is where Lindblom has a chance to shine.
After not scoring in his first six games of the season, he has turned it around with 13 points in his last 13 games. His ability to score is something that the Flyers’ middle six could really benefit from. Voracek has been carrying the second line, recently, playing wing to Michael Raffl and Valtteri Filpulla, but the third line has been struggling the most. Wayne Simmonds has also been producing at a much lower rate than expected. He has been put with Nolan Patrick and Jordan Weal, but not much is clicking for any of them. Lindblom seems as though he would be a perfect catalyst to get them going. Bringing him up for the playoff push would allow him to get some NHL experience, as well as (potentially) provide a spark to the rest of the team.
On the defensive side of the prospect pipe, we have Philippe Myers. Many people would say Samuel Morin is ahead of him in terms of who should be called up next, but I believe Myers is the more exciting prospect. Bob McKenzie said he was NHL-ready at the WJC last year, and he’s also a right-handed shot; the Flyers currently only have one right-handed defender in Radko Gudas. Myers would fill a void on the back end that they have lacked all year. Myers is 6’ 5” and also a magnificent skater with a high hockey IQ. These qualities are a rare find in a defenseman. His ability to play both ends is something the Flyers would love to have. While Morin is a strong defensive defenseman, the Flyers already have several that fit that prototype in Ivan Provorov, Robert Hagg, and Gudas. I think adding Myers to the team would help push the Flyers to the next level.
I understand that giving the players time in the AHL is important for their development, but bringing them up to play along the likes of Giroux, Voracek, Provorov, and Shayne Gostisbehere would be even more helpful. Having the ability to just practice among these NHL players would be great for all of them. I hope that by the end of the season, we get to see at least one of them play for the big club.