"It's an awful thing to say, but if you had to start in a week, [Phantoms goalie Antero Niittymaki] would be ahead of [Flyers goalie Robert Esche]. This kid has already played 20 games and Esche hasn't played any. I love Esche, but if you started a year from now, you would have to play [Niittymaki]."
And that goes for the other younger players now with the Phantoms, including Patrick Sharp, Dennis Seidenberg, Joni Pitkanen and the two hot juniors, Jeff Carter and Mike Richards, both of whom were outstanding in Team Canada's recent victory at the World Junior Championships.
If the league allows juniors a chance to play in a shortened season this year, both will push for roster spots.
"Darn right," Clarke said. "They're going to push these guys right off the map because they're ready to play. And that's not a threat, that's a reality. These kids are ready to go because they're been playing and they're good players."