Flyers Prospect Update: Europe

     It’s no secret that Philadelphia Flyers general manager Ron Hextall likes to accumulate draft picks. With this abundance of selections, Hextall has built arguably the strongest crop of prospects in the league, many of whom may find themselves in the orange and black sooner rather than later. The Flyers own ten prospects playing in the CHL, seven in the NCAA, two in the USHL, and another seven in Europe. Let’s take a look how the youngsters playing across the pond have performed so far this season.


David Kaše (RW, Mora IK, SHL)

2017-18 Stats: 18Gp, 3g, 8a, 11pts, -5

     David Kaše has been a solid contributor to his Mora IK team, who sits near the basement of the Swedish Hockey League standings. Kaše is second on his team in points and is receiving, on average, 16 minutes of ice time per game – a huge increase from his time in the Czech Extraliga last season. The 20-year old Kaše signed a one-year deal with Mora last summer, meaning he may sign an entry-level contract with the Flyers after this season to come play in North America. Unfortunately, the Flyers’ fifth-round selection back in 2015 is currently out with an apparent injury. He has missed Mora’s last three games.


Olle Lycksell (C/LW, Linköping HC, SHL)

2017-18 Stats: 8GP, 2g, 0a, 2pts, +3 (SHL)

18GP, 6g, 8a, 14pts, +4 (SuperElit J20)


     Lycksell, a sixth-round pick by the Flyers last June, is beginning to see some time in Sweden’s top league after beginning the season in the SuperElit J20. In fact, the 18-year old scored his first career SHL goal on November 17th, and followed that up with his second career goal just three days later.

Despite his strong play recently, Lycksell remains a longshot to represent Sweden at the 2018 World Juniors.

 
Linus Högberg (D, Växjö Lakers, SHL)

2017-18 Stats: 21GP, 0g, 3a, 3pts, +2 (SHL)

7GP, 1g, 0a, 1pts, -4 (Champions League)

     The steady blueliner has logged a good chunk of minutes for Växjö, who sit comfortably atop the SHL standings with 15 wins in their first 23 games. Högberg has averaged approximately 13 minutes of ice time per game, a good sign for the promising defenceman who turned 19 just two months ago. Högberg, who is not best known for his offensive prowess, has chipped in three helpers this season. Flyers fans will have an excellent opportunity to watch Högberg at the 2018 World Juniors next month. He is a virtual lock to represent his native Sweden, who boast an impressive back-end.

David Bernhardt (D, Djurgården IF, SHL)

2017-18 Stats: 20GP, 0g, 2a, 2pts, +4

    Bernhardt, a seventh-round pick in 2016, is averaging over 13 minutes of ice time per game for Djurgården IF. He logged a season-high 19:34 TOI on November 16th. Bernhardt tallied seven points in 27 SHL games last season, but has just two assists in 20 games this year. The 6-foot-3 blueliner turns 20 in early December, making him ineligible for the 2018 World Junior Championship in Buffalo.


Felix Sandström (G, Brynäs IF, SHL)

2017-18 Stats: 8GP, 2.87GAA, .905sv% (SHL)

3GP, 1.67GAA, .929sv% (Champions League)

     Sandström has not played since October 26th, missing Brynäs’ last nine matches with a stomach/diaphragm issue. It’s a tough break for the 20-year old goaltender, who will likely come over to North America following this season. Sandström put up the best numbers of his SHL career last season. Hopefully he can build upon that once he is cleared to return to the lineup.

 
Kirill Ustimenko (G, MHK Dinamo St.Petersburg, MHL)

2017-18 Stats: 26GP, 1.77GAA, .924sv%, 5 shutouts


     The Belarusian netminder continues to prove that he is a dominant goalie at the MHL level.  Ustimenko recorded a 33-save shutout last Friday, bumping up his save percentage to an impressive .924 and dropping his goals-against-average to 1.77. It will be intriguing to see whether or not the 6-foot-2 goaltender gets promoted to the VHL, Russia’s second tier league, at some point this season.

 
Ivan Fedotov (G, Toros Neftekamsk, VHL)

2017-18 Stats: 13GP, 2.61GAA, .894sv% (VHL)

1GP,  3.61GAA, .917sv% (KHL)


     Following the 2015 draft, Ron Hextall called Ivan Fedotov’s selection “a shot in the dark.”  The towering 6-foot-7 goaltender from Saint Petersburg, Russia, had a brief stint in the KHL this season before returning to the VHL. He has split time in the cage with more experienced goalie Pavel Khomchenko. Fedotov, who turned 21 on Tuesday, has been outplayed by Khomchenko thus far. Fedtov needs to put together quality starts on a regular basis in order to earn more playing time.

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