With many teams beginning their regular seasons overseas, and with junior, pro, and college hockey in North America underway, now is a great time to check in with Flyers’ prospects. The Blue Line will now be a regular segment at The Painted Lines, where we will check in on prospects.
Cam York (University of Michigan)
York has yet to play “meaningful” games for Michigan, but he absolutely dominated in their first preseason game against the University of Windsor (in the Canadian University circuit). York showed the offensive prowess that made him a top 20 pick. He used his speed, finesse, and excellent puck handling ability to make some highlight reel plays. With two goals in his first game, keep on eye on York has he enters regular season play this week.
Egor Serdyuk (Victoriaville, QMJHL)
Serdyuk has missed some games with injury, but statistically he has been a revelation in the Quebec League so far this season. With six goals in four games, he is leading his team offensively and showing that last year’s offensive outburst wasn’t just a flash in the pan. Serdyuk is unlikely to keep up his torrid pace, but 40 goals isn’t out of the question for him this season.
Olle Lycksell (Linkopings HC, Sweden)
Lycksell, a 2017 6th round pick, didn’t make my list of top 30 Flyers prospects. However, it doesn’t mean he isn’t a legitimate prospect, especially considering just how deep the Flyers truly are. Lycksell is a winger who plays in Sweden. Even at 5’9″, Lycksell is known for his tenacious forechecking and two-way play. After scoring 12 points in 51 games last season, Lycksell is on pace for significantly more. With four points in nine games, he could rack up 30 points easily in Sweden’s top league.
Jay O’Brien (Penticton, BCHL)
O’Brien has been on the Flyers’ radar for all the wrong reasons the past year. After heading into last season in Providence injured, he never really found his game. He decided that the program wasn’t a fit for him, and he transferred to Boston University. Unfortunately, due to NCAA rules, he can’t play for B.U. this season. Instead, O’Brien is suiting up for the Penticton Vees in the BCHL. The Vees are known for their prospect development, even as a Tier 1 junior league. Nashville stud rookie Dante Fabbro is a product of their system, and the team was pouring money into video coaches and analytics consultants well before some NHL teams were. So far, O’Brien has shown the Vees are a fit for his style of play. The Vees are 10-0, and O’Brien has 17 points in 10 games.
Mason Millman (Saginaw, OHL)
Millman has had an abysmal start to the 2019-20 season. Playing for the Saginaw Spirit in the OHL, it was expected that Millman would step into a key offensive role from the blueline this season. While Saginaw has been without their top defender Bode Wilde (currently injured and receiving treatment with his NHL team, the New York Islanders), Millman has managed to score only one goal in nine games and has been on the ice for a significant number of goals against. Even with Wilde missing, Saginaw has a high level of talent, including potential top 10 pick in this year’s draft Cole Perfetti. The Spirit are a .500 team right now and need Millman to turn his game around quickly to remain competitive in the OHL. Millman had great underlying numbers last season, and Flyers fans can hope that those numbers are the norm and not what we have seen in the early stages of this season.
Pascal Laberge (Reading, ECHL)
Laberge’s difficult beginning to the season has more to do with injury than anything else. A former second round pick, Laberge looked like a potential middle six forward in his draft year, but injuries (especially concussions) have derailed his career. He made the Phantoms last year, but only managed 15 games before injury ended his season. This year, Laberge failed to make the Phantoms and has been assigned to Reading of the ECHL. Some of this is the result of a number of Flyers’ prospects graduating to the pros from college and junior. However, it is still a disappointing result for Laberge. Laberge’s position in the organization is sad, considering his development has been stalled by injury. Flyers fans can hope he can find his way in the ECHL and make a push as an AHL call-up.