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August 3, 2013
Top 10 Prospects 2013
Philadelphia Flyers

by Corey Pronman

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Full list of NHL Organizational Rankings

Philadelphia Flyers Top 10 Prospects

1. Scott Laughton, Center
2. Robert Hagg, Defense
3. Nick Cousins, Center
4. Brandon Manning, Defense
5. Samuel Morin, Defense
6. Shayne Gostisbehere, Defense
7. Petr Straka, Right Wing
8. Tye McGinn, Left Wing
9. Jason Akeson, Center
10. Anthony Stolarz, Goaltender

Organizational Ranking: 29th

System Overview:

The Flyers system is ranked 29th largely due to the lack of true top-tier/star prospects, as they lack a top-50 NHL prospect. Not all is lost, however. While Philadelphia will likely not get a game breaker from their pipeline, their depth is fairly decent. The Flyers have drafted some players with intriguing potential, on top of being aggressive in free agency (as they commonly are) over the last few years.

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1. Scott Laughton, Center
2011-12 Ranking: 1st
Date of birth: 05/30/1994
Age: 19
Height: 6'1''
Weight: 190
Shoots: Left
Statistics: 49 GP, 23 G, 56 P (Oshawa, OHL)
Acquired: First round, 20th overall in 2012 by Philadelphia

Year in Review: Laughton was an above-average OHLer, displaying value at both ends of the rink. He also looked good in his trial with the Flyers, flashing average NHL ability at a very young age.

The Good: Laughton is a good all-around forward who has the puck possession elements a team would want in a scorer, to go along with the pace and grit of a pro. He exemplified the latter in his brief stint on the Flyers roster. He has above-average speed and hands. Laughton's best skills are his hockey sense and work ethic. He has good offensive instincts and an unusual level of awareness and defensive acumen for a U20. He also works very hard in battles, can dish out some good hits, and can pressure defenders effectively.

The Bad: Laughton does not have a glaring hole, other than continuing to gain strength, as well as gain more confidence offensively.

Projection: He could be a good second line forward, with good defensive value.

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2. Robert Hagg, Defense
2011-12 Ranking: N/A
Date of birth: 02/08/1995
Age: 18
Height: 6'2''
Weight: 204
Shoots: Left
Statistics: 27 GP, 0 G, 1 P, 7:46 ATOI (MODO, SHL)
Acquired: Second round, 41st overall in 2013 by Philadelphia

Year in Review: Hagg had a very up-and-down season. He was great at the summer Ivan Hlinka tournament as well as the World Juniors, but he was just average at the November and April tournaments. He was inconsistent in league play as well.

The Good: Hagg is a gifted player with a lot of intriguing tools. He thinks the game well, displaying great calmness and a real easiness to his game. Hagg skates at a high level, as his first few steps are very good and he has an effortless stride. While he can rush the puck up the ice, Hagg also is an above-average distributor. He can outlet or make creative passes through tight lanes.

The Bad: While Hagg can show flashes of quality defense, he can still make some significant errors. His game-to-game consistency is also a bit of an issue.

Projection: He could be a good second pairing defenseman.

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3. Nick Cousins, Center
2011-12 Ranking: 4th
Date of birth: 07/20/1993
Age: 20
Height: 5'11''
Weight: 177
Shoots: Left
Statistics: 64 GP, 27 G, 103 P (Sault Ste. Marie, OHL)
Acquired: Third round, 68th overall in 2011 by Philadelphia

Year in Review: Cousins was one of the top scorers in the OHL, but he did undergo some off-ice issues.

The Good: Cousins has a lot of puck possession skill as he is an above-average puck handler with high-end offensive hockey sense. He finds a way to make plays with his soft touch, quick processing, and pinpoint passing. He is hard working and tough, as he battles well, and he has an edge to his game. He is a decent-to-solid skater, although he is not above average in that area for a player his size in the NHL.

The Bad: His size is an obvious issue, as he needs to get much stronger to play his style and succeed at the top level. His defensive work also leaves a little to be desired.

Projection: He could be a top-six forward.

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4. Brandon Manning, Defense
2011-12 Ranking: 5th
Date of birth: 06/04/1990
Age: 23
Height: 6'1''
Weight: 195
Shoots: Left
Statistics: 65 GP, 6 G, 21 P (Adirondack, AHL)
Acquired: Free agent

Year in Review: Manning was a quality two-way defenseman in the AHL, earning an invite to the AHL All-Star Game. He received a brief callup with the Flyers, too.

The Good: Manning has a good physical game, as he is a very competitive player who battles well in his own end and he can land quality hits. Manning displays value in both ends, as he makes good defensive reads and can excel in a shutdown role. He makes a good first pass and can flash solid offensive instincts.

The Bad: Manning is not devoid of offensive skill, but overall, he is a below-average offensive player. His skating could be a tad better as well.

Projection: He could be a number four defenseman.

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5. Samuel Morin, Defense
2011-12 Ranking: N/A
Date of birth: 07/12/1995
Age: 18
Height: 6'6''
Weight: 202
Shoots: Left
Statistics: 46 GP, 4 G, 16 P (Rimouski, QMJHL)
Acquired: First round, 11th overall in 2013 by Philadelphia

Year in Review: Morin developed very well over the course of the season, including good performances in the second half of the regular season and in the QMJHL playoffs. He was merely average at the Under-18 Championship.

The Good: Morin is a defenseman with great physical gifts. He uses his 6'6" frame well. He is a pretty coordinated skater given his size and age, with good four-way movements and a technically sound stride. Morin plays a tough game, as he will win a lot of battles and deliver some quality hits.

The Bad: Morin's puck moving and puck skills have improved, but that area of his game is average to below average. His two-way reads still need to improve as well, as he is somewhat raw.

Projection: He could be a top-four defenseman.

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6. Shayne Gostisbehere, Defense
2011-12 Ranking: 3rd
Date of birth: 04/20/1993
Age: 20
Height: 5'11''
Weight: 170
Shoots: Left
Statistics: 41 GP, 5 G, 22 P (Union College, NCAA)
Acquired: Third round, 78th overall in 2012 by Philadelphia

Year in Review: Gostisbehere was a very good offensive player in college, on top of being a solid asset for Team USA at the World Juniors, where he won a gold medal. He did receive a suspension at that tournament, however.

The Good: Gostisbehere is a toolsy offensive defenseman who can make many things happen with the puck. "He has a great offensive mind for the game," said one NHL source, as Gostisbehere is a creative puck handler who can move the puck very well. Combine that with his great speed and he can be a catalyst for a team's offense, whether in breaking out of his zone, off the rush, or along the blue line on the power play. He has upside, and he can flash top-end skill.

The Bad: Gostisbehere still has to round out his game while simplifying it. He can be too aggressive with his attacks and plays with the puck. His defensive game can be solid at times, and other times he can be a liability in his own end. He is a little small, although to my eye, he looks bigger than his listed measurements indicate.

Projection: He could be a top-four defenseman.

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7. Petr Straka, Right Wing
2011-12 Ranking: N/A
Date of birth: 06/15/1992
Age: 21
Height: 6'1''
Weight: 198
Shoots: Left
Statistics: 55 GP, 41 G, 82 P (Baie-Comeau, QMJHL)
Acquired: Free agent

Year in Review: Straka had a good overage season in the QMJHL after the former second round pick went unsigned by Columbus the previous summer.

The Good: Straka is a gifted player with a lot of desirable offensive attributes. He is an above-average to plus skater with a great first few steps and a quality top gear. He is a crafty, skilled puck handler who can make flashy plays and create chances from nothing. Straka is an above-average passer as well, with a good shot, and he can be hard to handle when his team has the man advantage.

The Bad: Straka's all-around game has been his issue. He is not really a tough player in regards to physical play, and while his defense has improved, it is not his best area. While not as much an issue this season, in his QMJHL career, he could go long stretches without doing much.

Projection: He could be a below-average second line forward.

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8. Tye McGinn, Left Wing
2011-12 Ranking: N/A
Date of birth: 07/29/1990
Age: 23
Height: 6'2''
Weight: 195
Shoots: Left
Statistics: 42 GP, 14 G, 26 P (Adirondack, AHL)
Acquired: Fourth round, 119th overall in 2010 by Philadelphia

Year in Review: McGinn was solid in the AHL, and he impressed at the Flyers camp after the lockout. He was decent in his 18-game stint in the NHL.

The Good: McGinn is a good-sized forward with some strength and the ability to control the puck well due to his protection skills and a decent pair of hands. McGinn has solid offensive instincts, as he will generally make smart plays that will not hurt his team. He also has a good shot. McGinn displays above-average work ethic, as he will battle for pucks and attack the net effectively.

The Bad: McGinn's skating is his most notable issue. His first few steps are fringe, and his top speed is just average. His defensive coverage still needs work as well.

Projection: He could be a third line winger who can spot on a second power play unit.

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9. Jason Akeson, Center
2011-12 Ranking: Unranked
Date of birth: 06/03/1990
Age: 23
Height: 5'10''
Weight: 190
Shoots: Right
Statistics: 62 GP, 20 G, 53 P (Adirondack, AHL)
Acquired: Free agent

Year in Review: Akeson started off the season in the ECHL before heading to Adirondack, where he continued his offensive success from last season.

The Good: Akeson is a skilled offensive forward with good puck possession elements. He is creative with the puck and he has the hands and offensive instincts to generate scoring chances. Akeson is always around the puck in the offensive zone. His notably above-average vision is his best skill, as he is a good playmaker.

The Bad: Akeson is a roughly average skater, but his speed is a little below average for a smaller player. His value is mostly around his skill elements, as he is not physically imposing, and his defense needs work.

Projection: He could be a sheltered scoring line forward.

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10. Anthony Stolarz, Goaltender
2011-12 Ranking: 11th
Date of birth: 01/20/1994
Age: 19
Height: 6'6''
Weight: 220
Shoots: Left
Statistics: 8 GP, .898 SV% (Nebraska-Omaha, NCAA) / 20 GP, .920 SV% (London, OHL)
Acquired: Second round, 45th overall in 2012 by Philadelphia

Year in Review: Stolarz began the season in the NCAA with Nebraska-Omaha, where he struggled. In midseason, he left for the OHL, where he became a key cog for the eventual OHL champions.

The Good: Stolarz is the definition of a "toolsy goaltender." He is 6'6'' giant who moves like a 6'1'' goaltender, with the athletic ability to make a highlight reel save. He has the ability to dominate a game with his net coverage and the difficult stops he can make. His feet are very good, as his lower movements and his glove can flash plus.

The Bad: Stolarz is very raw, with one NHL source noting he needs a lot of repetitions to work out the kinks in his game. His positioning can be off at times, and he needs to learn how to control his rebounds better. On the whole, he needs to refine the technical aspects of his game.

Projection: He could be an average to below-average starting goaltender.

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The Next Five

11. Oliver Lauridsen, Defense: Lauridsen is a 6'6'' defenseman, and he uses that big frame well. He has some shutdown projection, albeit with little to no offensive upside. He was in the NHL this past season, and he could be a third pairing defender next season.

12. Taylor Leier, Left Wing: Leier does a lot of things well, but he does not stand out in any one area. He works hard, skates well, has some skill, and plays good defense.

13. Marcel Noebels, Left Wing: Noebels is a forward with size and skill who protects the puck well. His skating remains an issue.

14. Kyle Flanagan, Center: Flanagan was a Hobey Baker finalist last season. He is a gifted puck possessor, but he may lack the upside to score given that he is really small.

15. Mark Alt, Defense: Alt will not put up points at the pro level, but he is a big, strong defenseman who skates well and is physical.

The Sleeper: Fredric Larsson , Defense

Larsson played in the Swedish junior circuit last season, and while he did not amass many points, he is a 6'3'' defenseman with good skating ability. He is also a quality physical player. Larsson has the potential to be a shutdown defender if he develops well.

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Philadelphia Flyers Organizational Top 10

Players 22 or under as of 09/15/2013 or still considered a prospect as defined here.

1. Sean Couturier, Center
2. Brayden Schenn, Center
3. Scott Laughton, Center
4. Robert Hagg, Defense
5. Nick Cousins, Center
6. Brandon Manning, Defense
7. Samuel Morin, Defense
8. Shayne Gostisbehere, Defense
9. Petr Straka, Right Wing
10. Tye McGinn, Left Wing

Couturier did not record good counting numbers this year, but given his tough usage, he still had a successful season. He has not broken through yet, but he has the potential to be a top-tier forward at both ends. Schenn is a very gifted offensive player who also has not broken out yet, but he has the upside to put up a lot of points. Given the nature of Schenn's skill set, if he is going to have a big year, it likely has to happen soon.

Corey Pronman is an author of Hockey Prospectus. You can contact Corey by clicking here or click here to see Corey's other articles.

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Top 10 Prospects 2013 (08/02)
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Top 10 Prospects 2013 (08/02)
Next Column >>
Top 10 Prospects 2013 (08/07)
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Top 10 Prospects 2013 (08/07)

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