Starting on Dec. 26, the 2022 World Junior Championship promised to be a showcase of the best under-20 men’s talent in the world, which included three Flyers prospects — defenseman Emil Andrae (Sweden), forward Elliot Desnoyers (Canada), and defenseman Brian Zanetti (Switzerland).

However, the COVID-19 pandemic led the International Ice Hockey Federation to cancel the tournament just three days after its onset. Regardless of the World Juniors’ cancellation, we asked members of the Flyers organization, front-office members from the players’ current teams, and other scouting experts to analyze the games of Andrae, Desnoyers, and Zanetti.

For the final installment of this three-part series, here’s an in-depth look at Flyers prospect Elliot Desnoyers:

Elliot Desnoyers, Canada

Bio

Age: 19

Height: 5-foot-11

Weight: 172 pounds

Position: Forward

Shoots: Left

Club: Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)

Drafted: 2020 Round 5, No. 135 overall

Overview

Desnoyers spent his first two major junior hockey seasons with the powerhouse Moncton Wildcats (23 goals, 43 assists in 122 games). As a young player, Desnoyers didn’t receive as much ice time or as many special-teams responsibilities as his older teammates. However, Flyers assistant general manager Brent Flahr said former Wildcats coach John Torchetti was “adamant” that the team keep tabs on the budding centerman.

» READ MORE: Flyers prospect Elliot Desnoyers excited to make Christmas wish a reality with Team Canada

A few months before the Flyers drafted Desnoyers, the Halifax Mooseheads acquired him via trade on June 3, 2020.

“We were at a stage in our cycle where we hosted the Memorial Cup in 2019 and then after many championship runs, you have to sort of reset and rebuild and we had to part ways with some of our top-end players to start that rebuild and came the trade with Moncton,” Mooseheads head coach Sylvain Favreau said. “We knew that Elliot was one of the targeted players there that we wanted to build around him here in Halifax.”

With newfound minutes and power-play opportunities, Desnoyers put his offensive abilities on display with the Mooseheads in 2020-21 (21 goals, 28 assists in 37 games). Before the World Juniors, Desnoyers was following up his breakout season with another impressive performance (16 goals, 20 assists in 23 games). For Team Canada, Desnoyers slotted in as the fourth-line center and finished the abbreviated tournament with three assists through two games.

“He’s such a determined kid,” Flahr said. “Whatever role you give him, he’s excited. Playing here for Team Canada, whether he’s a fourth-line center or a third winger, whatever he is, he’s excited for the opportunity. I know the coaches appreciate that.”

Strengths

The World Juniors served as a preview of the role that Desnoyers can play down the line at the pro level — “a bottom-six energy guy that provides some scoring depth,” Daily Faceoff NHL draft and prospects analyst Chris Peters said. But aside from using his “good shot” as a goal scorer at the QMJHL level, Peters noted that Desnoyers’ usage in defensive situations, including on the penalty kill, makes him a versatile, valuable player.

“I really do think that the reason that he’s gonna have success is his play away from the puck,” Peters said.”It’s his ability to anticipate and then also to put pressure on an opposing player with closing fast and things like that, really do help him have that edge to make it.”

Similarly, Flahr described Desnoyers as a Swiss Army knife, capable of playing multiple roles on both sides of the puck.

“Details are really good on the defensive side of things,” Flahr said. “He’s just a relentless worker. He’s around the blue paint and he gets dirty goals. He can make plays when you need it. He’ll finish checks. He’ll do a little bit of everything, that’s probably the best way to describe him.”

» READ MORE: Flyers prospect Emil Andrae has drawn comparisons to Torey Krug

Areas of improvement

Next season, Desnoyers will turn pro and likely play with the Phantoms. According to Peters, as Desnoyers works toward taking the next step in his career, he must continue to build strength in an effort to handle playing against grown men in the AHL.

“There’s a transition to the AHL, which is his most likely next destination, is kind of something that you’ll have to monitor and see: Is he strong enough?” Peters said. “Do the things that work for him in junior work for him at the pro level? Because of the fact that he is so good as a two-way player and has some physicality and some jam and some jump to his game, all those things should really help him transition pretty easily.”

Of the three Flyers prospects at the World Juniors, Flahr said he believes Desnoyers will be able to make the most immediate impact on the Flyers organization. By tacking on strength, Desnoyers will be able to enhance his quickness on the ice.

“The pace of play at the NHL level is high and I think he’s come a long ways, but I do think like any young player, he’ll need to gain a step,” Flahr said. “I think he’s on the right path.”

Player comparison

Peters compared Desnoyers to Tampa Bay Lightning center Anthony Cirelli, who has established himself as a solid two-way forward in the NHL. Desnoyers, Peters said, figures to play a similar role in his pro career.

“He’s got that really solid defensive base that allows him to have success, but then he’s still able to put up points at a pretty solid clip and he’s more than just scoring depth,” Peters said. “He’s a guy that I think can be an impact player.”

» READ MORE: Flyers prospect Brian Zanetti projects as an NHL 'shut-down' defenseman