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Updated Flyers Prospect Rankings Following 2024 Draft, Development Camp

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Elliot Desnoyers, Philadelphia Flyers
Elliot Desnoyers underwhelmed in the AHL last season, scoring only six goals and 22 points in 63 games. (Photo: AP)

With the 2024 NHL Draft and the annual development camp complete, we have a good idea of where most Philadelphia Flyers prospects stand relative to their peers in the prospect pipeline.

Due to the unfairly balanced teams in Saturday’s development camp scrimmage, the newcomers were unable to improve or worsen their positions on the totem pole beyond their draft statuses and what we already know about them.

All that said, we’ll work from top to bottom on this exercise and exclude experienced players ready for NHL time, such as Ronnie Attard, Adam Ginning, and Olle Lycksell; all three players are 24 years old or older.

Of course, Matvei Michkov will be absent from this list as well, since he’d command a tier of his own and is going to be a full-time NHLer this season anyway.

Tier 1: Top-Six Forward, Top-Four Defenseman, Starting Goaltender

(4) D Oliver Bonk, G Alexei Kolosov, F Jett Luchanko, G Egor Zavragin

The fact that two of these four players are goaltenders paints an ugly picture about where the Flyers are at in their rebuild, but the organization hopes that the 2025 NHL Draft can start to turn that around. Oliver Bonk is the team’s clear No. 1 defense prospect and should be ready for some NHL action within a year or two. Jett Luchanko is further away than Bonk, but relative to the rest of the forwards in the system, he has the highest ceiling by far.

It’s currently unclear if Alexei Kolosov returns from Belarus for the start of the season, and Egor Zavragin will be a project on his own after a few seasons of developing in Russia. The Flyers hold Kolosov in very high regard and would hate to lose him after he made his North American debut for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms at the end of the AHL season. As for Zavragin, well, he was virtually unbeatable in 2023-24.

This group is still a mixed bag, to be clear, but the NHL upside is tangible.

Tier 2: Middle-Six Forward, NHL Defenseman, NHL Backup

(17) D Emil Andrae, F Denver Barkey, F Jack Berglund, F Alex Ciernik, G Carson Bjarnason, F Alex Bump, F Elliot Desnoyers, D Spencer Gill, D Helge Grans, F Devin Kaplan, D Hunter McDonald, F Noah Powell, F Massimo Rizzo, F Heikki Ruohonen, D Ethan Samson, D Carter Sotheran, F Samu Tuomaala

This is a pretty large group, so I won’t comment on each individual player. This group would also be much more appreciated if Tier 1 had more than two skaters in it.

Carson Bjarnason is tough to get a read on right now because the Brandon Wheat Kings are not a great WHL team, and he posted good but not great numbers playing on it. Bjarnason had a pretty good development camp overall, but when it was time for the scrimmage, he got shelled for seven goals. The defense in front of him was Bonk, Matteo Mann, and a bunch of camp invites, so it would be completely unfair to make any kind of assessment on Bjarnason when he was set up to fail on Team Briere from the onset.

We won’t know more about where Bjarnason is at until he makes Canada’s World Juniors roster, if he makes it this year, or when he turns pro. He’s a great kid who works his tail off, and the Flyers really believe in his talents. That’s good enough for me for now.

Assistant General Manager Brent Flahr referred to Alex Bump as an “NHL player” after Saturday’s scrimmage, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he makes his Flyers debut at the end of this season. I can see him developing into a Jason Zucker-style player.

I’m not ready to write Elliot Desnoyers just yet after he nearly made the Flyers last year, but a pretty poor season almost sent him to the bottom of this list. It will be interesting to see how he, Samu Tuomaala, and Massimo Rizzo work together in the AHL this season.

Helge Grans has a ton of AHL experience, so he needs to start moving in the right direction when it comes to pushing for the NHL; Ethan Samson is clawing at an AHL spot, and deservedly so.

I’m worried about Alex Ciernik and his two concussions, because one more bad stroke of luck could end his career. I’m rooting for him and I think Ciernik is a talented player, but concussions are a very scary thing.

Lastly, if you combined Emil Andrae and Hunter McDonald, you’d get the perfect NHL defenseman. Andrae has no size but great puck skills and poise, while McDonald has tons of size and strength but rarely makes anything happen with the puck.

Both are probably in line for at least one NHL game with the Flyers this season, but their ceilings are limited by their weaknesses.

Tier 3: Borderline NHLers

(6) F J.R. Avon, F Alexis Gendron, F Cole Knuble, F Owen McLaughlin, D Austin Moline, F Ilya Pautov

The truth is that Alexis Gendron is the victim of a numbers game currently, with a number of right wing prospects ahead of him both on the NHL roster and in the system. The same goes for 2024 draftee Ilya Pautov. Both players are undeniably skilled, and while Pautov has some time, this is another big season for Gendron.

It’s also a big season for J.R. Avon, who had a dismal 2023-24 campaign in the AHL with the Phantoms. Perhaps now that he knows what to expect, Avon might have a better season all-around and find himself scoring more points. He and Gendron both had a bunch of nice moments at development camp, but it’s up to them to capitalize on it.

NCAA forwards Cole Knuble and Owen McLaughlin were both pretty quiet during development camp as members of Team Briere, but both enjoyed strong finishes to the ends of their respective college seasons. Knuble, I think, has the smarts to play in the pros, but the shot and the foot speed need to catch up.

McLaughlin caught me by surprise with a strong 2023-24 season and maybe has a chance to turn pro at the end of this year, but I don’t envision him overtaking his peers in the long run.

Lastly but certainly not least, Austin Moline has a lot of tools to work with. The first Las Vegas-born player drafted into the NHL, Moline has impressive size, moves around the ice well, and usually makes a good first pass. I believe he had at least one assist in the scrimmage on Saturday, as well.

I think his foot speed could catch up to his agility and he needs to become more violent for his size, but the potential is there to be harnessed by the Flyers. I would not be surprised to see Moline make the NHL one day.

Tier 4: Missed The Cut

F Ryan MacPherson, D Matteo Mann, D Ty Murchison, F Santeri Sulku, F Zayde Wisdom, D Brian Zanetti

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