After watching the CHL Top Prospects Game, a few players jumped out, and that is reflected in my new rankings.
Some players stood out, and the Philadelphia Flyers should have an interest in them in case one falls. Or one magically happens to be in the spot they’re picking.
As it now stands, the Flyers are tied for the ninth-worst points percentage in the NHL. That could change, of course, and the draft lottery might also scramble the order of selections.
Here are three players to keep an eye on:
The 5-foot-11, 179-pound Heidt plays for the Prince George Cougars in the WHL. He has 19 goals and 60 points in 44 games. He plays on the same power play as Philadelphia Flyers prospect Ethan Samson, a righthanded defenseman who is the team’s captain.
A versatile player, Heidt can play center or wing. He’s won 51% of his faceoffs this season. Heidt has good speed, and is a patient passer, especially on the power play. He has a quick wrist shot, and a pro one-timer. Heidt is super dangerous around the net. I can feel him rising.
— Canadian Hockey League (@CHLHockey) January 26, 2023
Barlow, a solidly built, 6-1, 187-pound left winger, plays for the Owen Sound Attack in the OHL. He has 36 goals and 63 points in 42 games. Barlow is strong, and he’s a goal scorer. He’s confident, but not cocky.
The owner of a deceptive release, Barlow works tirelessly on his shot angles to keep goalies guessing. He scored a nice goal in the Top Prospects Game. It mattered just to see if he would play the same way with different teammates, and he did.
Benson will get drafted outside of the Top 3. He’s a player who could fall to the Flyers if a few surprise picks happen, depending on some lottery luck as well.
He’s a 5-10, 159-pound center who has been playing on the wing this season. Benson has 25 goals and 41 helpers in 40 games for the Winnipeg Ice in the WHL. If you talk about Benson being 510, then you are missing the point. Benson is like a coach on the ice. He has great hockey sense, and his puck possession is terrific.
Benson can create on the rush, and he does film study in-season as well. His two-way game is top-notch already. Flyers fans can dream.
Here’s a look at Zach Benson’s Goal during last night’s CHL Top Prospects Game! 👀 pic.twitter.com/kmhIblD2Lw
— Winnipeg ICE (@WHLWpgICE) January 26, 2023
It’s early and there will be more twists and turns in the NHL season as far as where the teams pick, how these players perform, and where I ultimately place them in my final rankings.
Russ Cohen is a prospects expert for sportsology.com and .www.eprinkside.com, and he can be heard on SiriusXM NHL Radio.