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ESPN Says The Flyers Have The Best Prospect Pool In The NHL. Who Am I To Disagree?

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I know I give ESPN plenty of shit for their hockey coverage, or lack thereof. And 99.9% of the time it’s totally justified. But as the old adage goes, even a blind squirrel finds a nut once in a while. And ESPN just nutted with their rankings of NHL prospect pipelines.

ESPN – To kick off my coverage of the top prospects outside the NHL heading into the 2017-18 season, I begin with a ranking of each NHL team’s organizational prospect depth, sometimes referred to as its farm system or pipeline.

Two caveats to keep in mind:

  • For purposes of this ranking, a player is no longer a prospect if he has played 25 or more games in any NHL season, or 50 total in his career. Ultimately, the inclusion or exclusion of one player doesn’t move a team up or down 12-15 spots, unless you’re talking top-10 overall prospects.
  • If a player is not mentioned in the profile of the farm system, this does not mean that I failed to consider him. These profiles are brief summaries, with more detail to come in the team overviews…

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And that’s where it cuts off since I’m not going to spend money on an ESPN Insider subscription. But even without seeing the other 30 teams ranked, I know that ESPN knocked this one out of the park. Corey Pronman is a very smart man. He had 31 options to go with for that #1 spot. He had 30 chances to be wrong and only 1 chance to be right. The odds were stacked against him but he prevailed mightily. You just look at all the names the Flyers have waiting in the pipeline to get called up.

Obviously grabbing Nolan Patrick with the #2 overall pick this past June bumps him up to the top spot in the Flyers’ prospect pool. After that you’ve got a group of blueliners who will eventually give the Flyers the best D core in the league. Travis Sanheim, Philippe Myers, Sam Morin, Robert Hagg. The Flyers have gotten themselves to a point now where they can afford to deal one of these guys away in a package for an established NHL player and it still won’t put a dent in their prospect lineup. Once you move away from the defense and get back to the forwards with Patrick, you’ve got Oskar Lindblom and German Rubtsov and Mikhail Vorobyov and Pascal Laberge. Again, all top end level prospects that will either make the Flyers better by joining the roster or by getting packaged for an established NHLer in a trade. Things get a little tricky in the net since it’s so hard to tell how a goalie will pan out. Flyers fans have been waiting for Stolarz to be the #1 guy for a while now but you’ve also got Carter Hart who has won back-to-back WHL Goalie of the Year awards, and Alex Lyon who has this year to prove himself. Regardless, the Flyers’ goalie situation can end up being anywhere from okay to great. Not a bad position to be in.

So yeah. That’s 12, top tier prospects rattled off in one paragraph alone about the Flyers’ farm system. You want me to do a deep dive into the prospect pipeline and there’s at least another 5 or 6 guys who deserve some recognition. They are set at every position and they have plenty of ammunition to pull the trigger on a trade when the time is right. They built the pipeline, now it’s time to use it. If the Flyers still have the best prospect pool 2 years from now, then they’re doing something wrong. But Hexy don’t play no games. Soul in 2017. Eagles in 2018. Flyers in 2019. Sixers in 2020. Rinse & Repeat. City of Champions.

@BarstoolJordie