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Lehigh Valley Phantoms

Flyers Prospect Isaac Ratcliffe Must Overcome Struggles This Season

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Isaac Ratcliffe, Philadelphia Flyers

Isaac Ratcliffe was a second-round selection who was drafted 35th overall by the Philadelphia Flyers in 2017. At the time, it was looked upon as a good selection. At 6-foot-6, 200 pounds, this guy was a goal scorer, and the Flyers were looking for that.

But the promising power forward, drafted ahead of sensational winger Jason Robertson of Dallas, has taken a step back and must regroup. He is now 23, and his future is cloudy,

Ratcliffe had a great run at Guelph. He scored 41 goals in his draft year, and here was my report on him at the time:

He’s scoring buckets of goals. A beast in the crease. You have to chip the puck away from him or else you will lose the physical battle. Ratcliffe has some good dekes for a big man. He has a hard wrist shot. 

The next season he scored 50 goals, and Guelph had a solid playoff run. Ratcliffe had 15 goals and 15 assists in 24 playoff games. After that, he turned pro.

In 2020-21, Ratcliffe had a pre-camp rib fracture, plus a collapsed lung. He only played 22 games that season for the Phantoms. He then played in 59 games in 2021-22, scoring 11 goals with 17 helpers. When the Flyers struggled, he got a look in the NHL and had four points in 10 games. I saw just a slight improvement. That’s it.

Shot needs work

What happened to his shot? I felt at the time he didn’t do enough to improve the release in which he shoots and the angles. These days you have to change the angles. I also noticed his skating had plateaued.

In late September, the Philadelphia Flyers waived their prospect. Ratcliffe could have been claimed by another team or he would report to Lehigh Valley. He passed through waivers and got a second chance. Really the last chance with this organization is the way it was being viewed.

Ratcliffe scored two goals on Nov. 18. One was a long-distance wrist shot that may have caught the goaltender off guard. The other was a nice wrist shot near the slot. They were his only two points in 15 games this season.

On Nov. 26, his last game to date, he incurred an unspecified injury. He continues to sit.

Saying Robertson should have been the pick is great revisionist history. Most teams didn’t see it that way and that’s why Robertson was drafted 39th overall.

Dallas was the smart team. Give their scouts props.

Right now, Ratcliffe is a fourth-liner who has to work his way back up the lineup. Unless his speed improves, he’s not going to be an everyday NHL player. The big left winger is being physical, but it all hasn’t clicked.

Stay tuned.

Prospects expert Russ Cohen can be heard on SiriusXM NHL Network Radio

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