It's July 1, meaning NHL free agency is underway.
Some of the biggest names of last season opened up on the market — players including Artemi Panarin and Matt Duchene, who look to be instant impact players for the Rangers and Predators, respectively. However, those acquisitions came at a costly price.
If Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher was able to go into the market having a ton of cap space, things would be a different story. With all of their restricted free agents still unsigned (Ivan Provorov, Travis Konency, Scott Laughton and Nicolas Aube-Kubel), it seems like the way to go about finding depth for next season’s roster is to let the kids play.
Here are five possible players who could fill the third-line spot at right wing without the team having to tap into the free-agent market.
The only player on this list who did not attend development camp, Aube-Kubel should be a somewhat familiar name. He played nine games with the Flyers last season and while he didn't register a single point, his average time on ice was a mere 5:35.
What really stands out is his ability to drive play while with the Phantoms. Last season was his third full year playing with the Flyers' AHL affiliate and his game and overall performance continued to improve.
Playing 54 games with the Phantoms, Aube-Kubel tallied 30 points (16 goals, 14 assists).
It's also important to keep in mind that Aube-Kubel is an RFA but was extended a qualifying offer.
Twarynski was notably one of the best contenders for this same spot when training camp kicked off last season. His aggressiveness, quick wrist shot and ability to drive to the net are what can make him a contender for this position once again.
He eventually fell to runner-up as Mikhail Vorobyev got the call to start off the season and Twarynski was assigned to the Phantoms. It appears to have affected him in a negative way, since he had a very difficult time getting into a groove with the Phantoms. If he kept improving rather than slumping for the first three months of the season, it would’ve been more than likely that he would’ve gotten the next call up instead of Aube-Kubel.
While his 24 points (10 goals, 14 assists) with the Phantoms weren't nearly what the team was hoping to get from him, the physicality of his game picked up.
Don’t count out Twarynski. While 2018-19 was his first full season as pro and he was still getting adjusted to the speed of the game, he showed a lot of positives that could be a great addition to the bottom six of the roster.
The tallest Flyers prospect at 6-foot-6, Ratcliffe had himself one heck of a final season in the OHL with the Guelph Storm and is ready to turn pro.
Through the past regular season, Ratcliffe played a total of 65 games and had 82 points (50 goals, 32 assists). Ratcliffe had an excellent postseason for the Storm, who won the OHL championship.
Even with Ratcliffe's height, he is able to get down the ice in just a few solid strides. Anticipating where the play is going next is another one of his strengths that should translate well to the NHL level, not to mention his puck-handling is at its best when being tested in front of the net.
Ratcliffe is typically on the left wing, so shifting to the right wing would be an adjustment for him in addition to adapting to the quicker pace of the game.
Frost has certainly lived up to the hype after being deemed as one of the Flyers’ top prospects over the past two seasons. The combination of his speed and how he handles the puck is something that will translate very well once he goes pro.
Completely dominant in his final season of the OHL, Frost led the Soo Greyhounds with a whopping 109 points (37 goals, 73 assists). That landed him fourth overall in points in the OHL.
He also made a clear mentality shift at the start of last season, taking on as big of a leadership role as possible.
With the addition of Kevin Hayes to supplement Sean Couturier and Nolan Patrick, the center depth for the Flyers looks very solid. While a right wing spot is available, transitioning to the pro game might be easier for Frost at the position he is most comfortable with — although a slight adjustment to the wing seems like something he is capable of doing.
Frost certainly made his mark at the end of development camp this past Saturday as he potted one filthy shootout goal.
Following his highly successful development camp, it seems like Farabee could be the top contender on the team’s current list of prospects to get the call up.
Selected by the Flyers 14th overall in last year’s draft, Farabee has stood out in the best way possible. Transitioning Farabee's game to the NHL could be ideal for the Flyers since they are in a more "win now" mentality than in previous seasons.
After completing his freshman season at Boston University and winning the 2019 Tim Taylor Award as college hockey's Rookie of the Year, Farabee signed his entry-level contract with the Flyers and is ready to turn pro. He led the Terriers with 36 points (17 goals, 19 assists) in 37 games played.
His instincts on the ice in addition to his hockey IQ make for one intimidating player. After playing right winger for most of his teenage years, slotting him into the third line could be the perfect way to jump-start his professional career.
While Farabee's stature (6-foot-1, 175 pounds) was once a concern, the league is changing. The number on the scale may have been too light for Farabee to play in the NHL a decade ago, but his skating ability and speed would be a nice fit in the current look of the NHL. If he can put on some extra weight before training camp in September, his chances at cracking the roster will only grow.
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