You can post now. Chris, is there anyone I missed?
No you got everyone. Just note that I think we might be signing one or two out of this tryout class. Holmgren said he's not done "bolstering" (granted in his own creative and hopefully effective way) our pool just yet.
Another quick note: There are some that may be taken out shortly including Beaulieu, Bellamy, Clackson, Duchesne, Laliberte, and Teslak if they are not retained.
With a new editor here at HF, we're running through all the prospects. So a lot of the stuff that was unedited before is going to get fixed up. I'll be changing the depth chart up as soon as we get into July a bit as well as editing some of the grades for our non-top 20 prospects. The next top 20 is of course in the fall.
Right now I'm going through the list and double-checking all of our signed players that lose their status as a prospect as of tomorrow. I'll attach it at the bottom of this post when I'm finished.
HF is going through a bit of a spring cleaning, and it means a ton of work for us. Bare with me.
MASTER PROSPECT STATUS: (Bold denotes player no longer a prospect by HF standards as of tomorrow.)
Beaulieu has one season or 65 NHL games if re-signed. (CHL criteria)
Chaput has six seasons or 65 NHL games. (CHL criteria)
Clackson has one season or 65 NHL games if re-signed. (22+ NCAA criteria) Dingle is no longer an NHL prospect. (22+ NCAA criteria)
Harper has three seasons or 65 NHL games. (CHL criteria)
Holmstrom has three seasons or 65 NHL games. (22+ NCAA criteria)
Kalinski has one season or 65 NHL games. (21- NCAA criteria)
Klotz has three seasons or 65 NHL games. (CHL criteria)
Labrecque has four seasons or 65 NHL games if signed. (CHL criteria) Laliberté is no longer an NHL prospect. (CHL criteria)
Legein has three seasons or 65 NHL games. (CHL criteria)
Maroon has two seasons or 65 NHL games. (CHL criteria)
McGinn has five seasons or 65 NHL games. (CHL criteria)
Nödl has one season or 65 NHL games. (21- NCAA criteria)
Parks has six seasons if signed before 22 or three seasons from the time he signs a contract or 65 NHL games. (21-/22+ NCAA criteria)
Pither has three seasons or 65 NHL games. (CHL criteria)
Popov has three seasons or 65 NHL games from the time he signs a contract or, if he does not sign, he has two seasons remaining as a prospect. (21-/22+ EU criteria)
Ranford has six seasons or 65 NHL games. (CHL criteria)
Rinaldo has four seasons or 65 NHL games. (CHL criteria)
Rowe has three seasons or 65 NHL games. (22+ NCAA criteria)
Testwuide has three seasons or 65 NHL games. (22+ NCAA criteria)
Wellwood has four seasons or 65 NHL games. (CHL criteria)
Bartulis has one season or 65 NHL games. (CHL criteria)
Bertilsson has five seasons if signed before 22 or three seasons from the time he signs a contract if he signs after 22 or 65 NHL games or, if he does not sign, he has four seasons remaining as a prospect. (21-/22+ EU criteria)
Blidstrand has six seasons if signed before 22 or three seasons from the time he signs a contract if he signs after 22 or 65 NHL games or, if he does not sign, he has five seasons remaining as a prospect. (21-/22+ EU criteria) Bodrov has three seasons or 65 NHL games from the time he signs a contract or, if he does not sign, he is no longer an NHL prospect. (22+ EU criteria)
Bourdon has four seasons or 65 NHL games. (CHL criteria)
Gustafsson has three seasons or 65 NHL games. (21- NCAA criteria)
Hostetter has five seasons or 65 NHL games. (CHL criteria)
Lauridsen has three seasons if signed this summer or three seasons from the time he signs a contract or 65 NHL games. (21-/22+ NCAA criteria)
Lehtivuori has three seasons or 65 NHL games. (21- EU criteria)
Luukko has six seasons if signed before 22 or three seasons from the time he signs a contract or 65 NHL games. (21-/22+ NCAA criteria)
Marshall has three seasons or 65 NHL games. (CHL criteria) Syvret is no longer an NHL prospect. (CHL criteria)
Bobrovsky has three seasons or 45 NHL games. (21- EU criteria)
Duchesne has one season or 45 NHL games if re-signed. (CHL criteria)
Eriksson has four seasons if signed before 22 or three seasons from the time he signs a contract if he signs after 22 or 45 NHL games or, if he does not sign, he has three seasons remaining as a prospect. (21-/22+ EU criteria)
Kovar has three seasons if signed this summer or three seasons from the time he signs a contract if he signs after 22 or 45 NHL games or, if he does not sign, he has two seasons remaining as a prospect. (21-/22+ EU criteria)
Morrison has five seasons or 45 NHL games. (CHL criteria)
Phillips has three seasons if signed this summer or three seasons from the time he signs a contract or 45 NHL games. (21-/22+ NCAA criteria)
Riopel has three seasons or 45 NHL games if signed. (CHL criteria)
Stewart has three seasons or 45 NHL games. (22+ NCAA criteria)
Teslak has one season or 45 NHL games if re-signed. (22+ NCAA criteria)
Sorry it took so long. It gets a bit confusing, so I bolded the ones in particular to note. If Bodrov does not sign, he is no longer an NHL prospect. Likewise if Beaulieu, Bellamy, Clackson, Duchesne, or Teslak do not re-sign, they're no longer our problem. Syvret, Laliberte, and Dingle are no longer NHL prospects.
I'm going to put a motion forth to get Kovar removed from our prospect list for obvious reasons despite his continued status.
Surely you've heard how well Johan Backlund played in Glens Falls this year, and Paddock reiterated as much. While admitting that Backlund can always get better, Paddock doesn't think Backlund could have done anything more for the Phantoms.
"I think the final ringing testimony to that was when he got called up/injured, and that sort of both happened at the same time, the [Phantoms] lost 9 out of the last 10 games so we'd be foolish to think that he wasn't the MVP and that he wasn't giving the team a chance to win every night."
So does that mean Backlund could start the year in the NHL next season? Well, those are decisions made by the players.
"Players make those decisions for [the coaches and management], for you, with their performance on the ice. This is a guy who trains extremely hard. He worked hard on his game to fix a lot of things including the European game to the North American game. He's going to be given an opportunity to play."
It was just bad luck that prevented Backlund from getting more of a chance with the Flyers last year. "I think last year he had the unfortunate thing of a team up here (NHL) going bad at the times he was called up, and no matter how he was playing down there (AHL), you just can't throw a rookie in when you're four games under .500 in November or whatever when he was called up the first time. So it's like you have to go with a more veteran guy."
And now? "I think everybody who has seen him now were impressed up here during the spring and has a little more knowledge of him. He'll get an opportunity. I don't know what that or when that means. I do know he signed a two-year contract next year as a one-way deal. So maybe he's in the minors this year, maybe he's not, but after that he's probably going to be in the NHL."
Next, we discussed newly signed Sergei Bobrovsky. Who is Bobrovsky, you ask? Well, even John Paddock isn't really sure. "I don't know anything about him myself. I don't know why he's sort of fallen under the radar, but we hope that we got a bit of a sleeper here who can come in and someday be a top-flight goalie."
But that doesn't mean the Flyers don't know who he is. "He's somebody who, people we had watching over there thought he was excellent. His numbers were very good. He's somebody who played alongside, in their junior times, with [Semyon] Varlamov in Washington, sometimes played ahead of him."
Looking to next year, the Flyers have the same expectations they do for Backlund: See what happens. Based on these and later answers, Paddock (rightly) refused to slot players into positions prior to training camp. Nobody is - at least publicly - given roles in the organization. If Bobrovsky comes in and is the best goalie in camp, he could wind up in Pittsburgh on opening night.
When asked about how Bobrovsky will adjust to the North American game, Paddock gave an interesting quote. "I think normally you say yes, but it depends. If he's a goalie that's a little bit aggressive already, and plays atop the crease and not deep, then he's already one step closer than others would be. So we'll just have to wait and see."
Now, we aren't in the business of putting words in other people's mouths, but hearing, typing, and reading that quote makes me think of a particular Flyers UFA goalie. Could the two be related? Maybe, maybe not.
The only other goalie under contract (besides Brian Boucher) is Brian Stewart. He came to the organization after the Flyers were scouting some teammates of his and eventually recommended him to the team.
"It's sort of a, I don't want to say a shot in the dark, but here's a big guy who's really athletic, who is mature now physically and [is] tough because he's 25. He hasn't had a lot of coaching, so maybe with a little coaching we can catch lightning in a bottle. It's sort of a long shot in a way because of age but the other side of that is, goalies, Michael Leighton is an example, they don't hit their prime until 27 or 28. We just felt that there was no risk and there was potential for lots of reward."
And here we see the name Michael Leighton. Again, the comparison to Brian Stewart is not exactly a ringing endorsement of the free agent netminder.
The signing of those two goalies, presumably to play in the AHL, seemed to signal the end for Jeremy Duchesne and Michael Teslak. When asked if they will be back next year, Paddock gave his most succinct answer yet: "They're not coming back." Both Duchesne and Teslak started the year in the ECHL last year.
Turning to goalies who will not be turning pro this year, the Flyers still have Jakub Kovar in the system. Kovar was selected in the 4th round of the 2006 draft and has been battling injuries for the past two years. Since leaving the OHL after the 07-08 season, he's only played 17 games in the Czech Republic.
"He has to improve and continue to improve and he takes the next steps after that. So we're going to wait and see with him and hopefully he can play more and get going along with the recovery road a little bit for his injuries and progress towards playing pro hockey," Paddock said.
But after being drafted four years ago, is there a time limit on how long he stays property of the Flyers? Paddock answered, "I'm not sure of his age or whatever, but at some point you have to make a decision. I don't know whether it's next year or two years from now, I'm just coming to the organization, this will be my third year, and second as a manager, I'm not sure what year he was drafted. It's not an indefinite time, that's changed, so sometime in the next year or two he'll have to give us some reason to move ahead and we'll have to do that if that's the case."
Now, maybe Paddock has just never been asked about Kovar before, but when you pull out the "this is only my third year in the organization" card to explain why you don't know much about the player, that's generally not a good sign. If Kovar can't unseat Roman Turek this year, he's likely done in the Flyers organization.
The Flyers also control Notre Dame goaltender Brad Phillips, selected in the 7th round of the 2007 draft. He's part of a three-headed monster in college, only playing 15 games the past two years combined. When asked where he stands in the organization, Paddock again put the onus on the player.
"We're going to get a good feel for him, he's coming to the development camp in July here in a week or ten days time and we'll have a better idea and see where we go with him. We want to see where he's at and then make that decision. Hopefully he would play more in college. If you're not playing in college then there's not much chance that he's probably ready to play pro hockey."
Last season, the Flyers had three different goalies playing in Major Juniors; Adam Morrison, Jacob De Serres, and Nic Riopel. First, Paddock spoke about Morrison's season.
"He had a good start and then tailed off a little bit, he didn't play quite as much, and then had a concussion late in the season. He's somebody that we're high on, Neil Little our goalie scout, still is high on. But this is a big year for him in Junior. He needs to be the #1 goalie [in Saskatoon], play 60 games and get the job done."
Jacob De Serres was the Flyers 3rd round pick in 2008 and the Flyers decided not to tender him a contract this year. He is now a free agent. When asked if he had gotten a chance to watch De Serres in the Memorial Cup, Paddock said "no, we had people up there but because we kept playing in the playoffs, I didn't go out. I was scheduled to go up but I didn't go up. Neil Little was there and we had two different scouts there for part of the Memorial Cup, so we had a good viewing on up there."
Why wasn't De Serres signed? "He just, we decided not to renew because we had lots of young goalies and he didn't have as good a season that we needed him to. His season/Memorial Cup wasn't up to what he needed to be at."
Lastly, and some would say most importantly, is the status of Nicola Riopel. There was some confusion regarding whether Riopel was a free agent or not, but Paddock put those fears to rest. "He's still Flyers property. He can't go back to Juniors. He's going to be playing pro hockey and where he plays will be determined by, again, the players themselves."
So with Riopel, the Flyers have 4 goalies - in addition to Backlund, Bobrovsky, and Stewart - fighting for two spots in the AHL next year. As Paddock said, if any of them prove to be the best goalie in camp, they can start in the NHL. But with that said, the four are realistically going to be in either the AHL or ECHL.
To close, we asked Paddock - a former Wheat King himself - if he is familiar with Matt Calvert. "I've heard the name, but no, that's the extent of it." So he's not being looked at for a possible acquisition? "No."
How can an assistant GM not know much about our recently acquired top end goaltending prospect (Bob) and then waste breath on Kovar but not mention our other goaltending prospect overseas....
Because John Paddock is beginning to become just as clueless as everyone else in management in this organization. My God, hopefully next time Snider decides to clean house, he only keeps one person - Don Luce. He seems to be the ONLY person in management has one iota of sense with regards to hockey matters. Holmgren and Paddock are just drunken clueless idiots.
With their goaltending prospect core looking better than ever and their defensive depth established, it should not be all that much of a shock that the Flyers went forward-heavy in 2010. Four out of their six selections went toward adding some depth to a group that was noticeably thin after the graduations of James vanRiemsdyk, Claude Giroux, and Ville Leino.
Free-agent additions to the pool like Mike Testwuide, Luke Pither, Shane Harper, and Ben Holmstrom were only the precursor for general manager Paul Holmgren's draft exploits. When added to other forwards that have been developing for a few years within the Flyers' system as well as the 2010 draft class, there is definitely a positive difference in the position.
Blah, blah. Stuff you guys already pretty much know I assume if you read up on our new prospects.
Next up I will be working with the staff to update the entire website, in particular the Flyers' section. You will already notice a lot of our non-prospects and recently let go RFAs have been taken off. A few more profiles will be added shortly as well.
Then there will be the top 20s, but there's a lot to do this summer including the prospect camp, rookie camp, and training camp because, as BobbyClarkeFan16 just pointed out, someone is making this team.