Flyers Prospect Devin Kaplan Learning the Ropes at Boston University
When the Philadelphia Flyers selected right winger Devin Kaplan in the third round of the 2022 draft, they knew there was a fair amount of development that needed to take place. Just because Kaplan played with the U.S. National Development Program, it doesn’t mean that was going to translate into instant success everywhere he went.
NCAA hockey is the perfect next step for the 6-foot-3, 198-pound power forward. Most power forwards take some extra time to develop. I fully expect Kaplan to play at Boston University for two or three years. After that, the Flyers can evaluate where he is, and he can always play in the AHL.
In his first 12 games of the 2022 season, Kaplan has two goals, three helpers, and 23 penalty minutes for BU. The freshman’s passing has been on point, and he can expect to score a fair amount of his goals around the net. One of his goals was off a rebound. The Bridgewater, N.J., native has gotten some power- play time. He needs to shoot more, and that should come as his confidence grows throughout the season.
Kaplan has toughness. Sometimes that turns into roughing penalties, but he will figure out the best time is to do that. Players can lay hits in college hockey, but they can’t have the same follow-through as the NHL. Someday, when he’s playing for the Philadelphia Flyers, the fans and his teammates will appreciate that facet of his game.
Let’s see if Kaplan gets a Team USA camp invite for the upcoming World Junior Championship. He will be 19 in January. Because he can play that tough fourth-line role, on an elite team that could be good for him. Just getting that experience gives players a boost.
Kaplan will soon get to play in the Beanpot tournament and will surely play against future Philadelphia Flyers teammate Cutter Gauthier, who plays for Boston College. Kaplan has another Flyers draft pick as a teammate, center Jay O’Brien. O’Brien, 23, a first-round draft pick in 2018, has eight points (1-7) in 12 games at BU this season.
I like Kaplan’s speed. At best, I think he can be a third-liner in the NHL someday. If not, the fourth line is an option, provided he isn’t rushed. Let him get all of these experiences. That’s what is best for him.
Prospects expert Russ Cohen can be heard on XMSirius NHL Radio.