4 Philadelphia Flyers Prospects Who Must Have an Impact in the Next 5 Years

General manager Chuck Fletcher and the Philadelphia Flyers weren’t willing to pay the price to really improve, so now they must rely on their players staying healthy and the development of their young stars. They have several prospects who are either ready for a larger role on the team or will be looking to break in shortly.

A couple of older players who haven’t found a spot in the NHL yet are Wade Allison, Hayden Hodgson, and Tanner Laczynski. If any of them do manage to break in, they likely won’t play higher than the third line. The prospects we are going to focus on today are a few up-and-comers who got a sniff in the NHL last season and a recently drafted, highly-touted player who should all make an impact on the club in the coming years.

Cam York

Cam York may not be a rookie next season, but with only 33 NHL games under his belt, he should still be considered a prospect. The Flyers have five top-four defensemen already and went out and signed Justin Braun. Ryan Ellis’ health could affect the defensive lineup, but York has earned a spot on the opening night roster regardless of what happens with the other blueliners.

Cam York, Philadelphia Flyers (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

York made an immediate impact last season, playing throughout the defensive pairings. He naturally plays left defense but was moved over to the right side to accommodate the other players when needed. The team also didn’t really have a defender who could run point on the power play, and with Ivan Provorov struggling, York assumed the role for a short time.

The young defenseman scored three goals and 10 points, including four power-play points in 30 games as a rookie. He’s expected to play a third-pairing role next season, but those defensemen ahead of him on the depth chart who are making more money aren’t going to be with the team forever. York will have an impact with the team as soon as 2022-23 and could realistically turn into their number one defenseman in time.

Bobby Brink

Bobby Brink appears to be following in the footsteps of Joel Farabee by spending a couple of years in college developing before having an early impact on the Flyers. The team is lacking high-end talent up front, especially since Farabee is expected to miss time at the beginning of the season. That means third-line talents like James van Riemsdyk and Scott Laughton will be playing in the top six.

Bobby Brink Philadelphia Flyers
Bobby Brink, Philadelphia Flyers (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Some think Brink will start the season in the American Hockey League (AHL) before getting an early call-up and sticking around in the NHL, but I think the Flyers are lacking so much that he will impress and get a middle-six role.

Related: 3 Flyers Prospects Who Could Crack NHL Lineup in 2022-23

In his 10 NHL games last season, Brink spent time playing alongside Morgan Frost or Kevin Hayes. Those are the Flyers’ middle-six centermen, and Brink has the skill set and familiarity with them to make an impact not only next season but down the line.

Noah Cates

Noah Cates also saw some time with the Flyers last season and did very well. He jumped right into the NHL out of university and scored five goals and nine points in 16 games, averaging just over 13 minutes a game. He worked well with Frost and Owen Tippett on the third line and could easily be right back in that spot next season.

Noah Cates Philadelphia Flyers
Noah Cates, Philadelphia Flyers (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Cates is capable of scoring goals and putting up points, and he has an edge to his game. The Flyers need scoring, and he provided that in a limited role. With one of their best offensive producers out to start the season and possibly a couple (van Riemsdyk, Travis Konecny) moving on sooner than later, Cates will be needed next season and beyond as roster spots open up higher in the lineup. He will need to make an impact to help keep the Flyers from entering a rebuild and making all the trades they’ve done worth it. But even if the team needs to rebuild rather than retool in the end, he will be one of the pieces that should help make it more bearable.

Cutter Gauthier

The Flyers had the fifth overall selection in the 2022 NHL Draft, which they didn’t intend to give up. They selected Cutter Gauthier, one of the more NHL-ready prospects drafted this year, however, that doesn’t mean he will be in the NHL next season. He is committed to Boston College, where he will play center even though he is capable of playing all forward positions.

Cutter Gauthier Philadelphia Flyers 2022 Draft
Cutter Gauthier, Philadelphia Flyers (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Gauthier described himself as “a two-way power forward with lots of skill who loves throwing the body, is extremely versatile, whether it’s playing left-wing, right-wing or center, power play, penalty kill. I’d say I’m a complete package. I can play any role in any situation.” Given his size and that he would fit into a system run by new head coach John Tortorella, he may be the perfect draft choice and could be one of the Flyers’ top-three centers within the next two years.

He is very good defensively and uses his body effectively to win any puck battle, Elite Prospects states. He is not only a stud defensively but great offensively as well and drives the offense. He is a high-end talent, and Philadelphia will need him to have an impact if they are going to break out of mediocrity.

The Flyers need to find an identity, and that should include adding some of their young talent who can make an impact. The organization has struggled with this, and it will have to change if the team wants to be relevant anytime soon.

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