Quick Hits: Prospect Updates, TIFH and More
Quick Hits: October 22, 2020
1) On the Flyers official website later today, we will have post-Draft updates on what each of the five players the Flyers' selected in the 2020 NHL Draft have been doing since the Draft. Two prospects (Tyson Foerster and Zayde Wisdom) have already been signed to entry-level contracts. Two others, Emil Andrae and Elliot Desnoyers, play in leagues where the regular season is underway, while the other three are in CHL leagues that are still a month or more away from their targeted start dates for next season.
One item that I did not cover in the roundup article is what happened with Flyers sixth-round pick Connor McClennon and his longtime friend Ridley Greig (Ottawa 2020 first-round pick and the son of Flyers scout Mark Greig). The Western Hockey League is not slated to start its next season until January 8. Prior to that league's targeted start date announcement, as well as shortly prior to the NHL Draft, McClennon and Greig planned to sign together to play for Karlskrona HK; a club in Sweden's third-tier pro league. The hope was to at least have the chance to play hockey while awaiting a Western Hockey League season.
According to Elite Prospects, McClennon and Greig signed contracts with Karlskrona. However, the two players' respective Western Hockey League teams, the Winnipeg Ice (McClennon) and Brandon Wheat Kings (Greig), denied the players' requests to go overseas. Thus, both players are back in the same boat as every other WHL player; hoping the subsequently announced Jan. 8 start date comes to fruition.
The WHL figured out a workaround to the border-crossing issue of having teams both in Canada and the United States. Since there is one entirely U.S.-based division in the Pacific Northwest, all four WHL divisions will play an entirely in-conference schedule during the regular season.
The Ontario Hockey League does not officially have a targeted start date but has reportedly been aiming for an early December start. They, too, have a border-crossing issue among other things to sort out. The OHL's border issue cannot be resolved identically to the WHL's. There are only three U.S.-based organizations leaguewide (Erie Otters, Saginaw Spirit and Flint Firebirds) and they are spread across two divisions. Erie plays in the Midwest Division while Saginaw and Flint are in the West Division.
The QMJHL, which is entirely Canadian-based with predominantly Quebec-based teams and several in the Maritimes, has had its regular season underway for a few weeks.
2) There are also two must-read Flyers prospect-related articles on the web today. Sam Carchidi wrote a profile piece on Foerster, especially notable for a discussion with the player's skating coach on the dramatic improvements the Flyers' 2020 first-rounder has made in that vital aspect of his development. Over on the Athletic, Charlie O'Connor interviewed Flyers assistant general manager Brent Flahr about Morgan Frost, Bobby Brink, Foerster, Isaac Ratcliffe and other Flyers' forward prospects.
Separately, we are planning a prospect series for the Flyers official website, with input from Brent, once there is more clarity on NHL training camps, the viability of the 2020-21 American Hockey League season, and how the return-to-play plans for the OHL and WHL are taking shape. Those various moving parts will have major impact on the developmental plans for Flyers prospects over the upcoming season.
3) Today in Flyers History: Oct. 22, 1969
On this night in 1969, the Flyers earned a 4-3 road win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. At the time, most of the attention was focused on two Philadelphia players. Flyers center Andre Lacroix led the way offensively with a hat trick, while goalie Bernie Parent turned out a stellar 32-save performance to earn a win over one of the NHL's "Original Six" franchises.
Historically, however, the most notable moment of the game happened at 6:01 of the third period. Playing in his fourth career NHL game, Flyers rookie center Bobby Clarke set up his former Flin Flon Bombers teammate. Lew Morrison, for a goal that opened a 3-2 lead for the Flyers shortly after the Leafs had tied the game. The assist marked the first point of Clarke's NHL career. The future three-time Hart Trophy winner and Hockey Hall of Famer would go on to set Flyers franchise records with 852 assists and 1,210 points.
4) Today in Flyers History: October 22, 1974
In an earlier TIFH this week, we talked about the Flyers' 42-game home unbeaten streak (39-0 with three ties) against the Pittsburgh Penguins, which spanned nearly 15 calendar years from beginning to end; Feb. 7, 1974 to Feb. 2, 1989.
On this evening in 1974, the Flyers began another epic unbeaten streak against an NHL club; this one an overall unbeaten string spanning both home and road games. Philadelphia earned a 4-2 road win over the LA Kings, riding third period goals by Moose Dupont and Ross Lonsberry (empty net) to prevail in a hard-fought contest at the LA Forum.
Thereafter, Philadelphia would go on be undefeated by the Kings over a 32-game span (27-0 with five ties) at both the Forum and the Spectrum. Los Angeles finally broke the streak on Feb. 13, 1983.