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Flyers prospects getting valuable ice time in Europe while pandemic closes most North American leagues | Sam Carchidi

Here is a progress report on the Flyers' prospects in Europe, courtesy of assistant general manager Brent Flahr, who is the organization’s draft guru.

Right winger Linus Sandin (right) has a chance to earn a spot on the Flyers this season. He is among several Flyers prospects playing in Europe at the moment.
Right winger Linus Sandin (right) has a chance to earn a spot on the Flyers this season. He is among several Flyers prospects playing in Europe at the moment.Read moreTomi Hänninen / Sipa USA via AP

Normally, the Flyers would be about six weeks into their season at this time of the year and have their systems in sync.

But these are not normal times, of course.

Instead of playing NHL games, the Flyers are spread throughout the world, working on training regimens sent by their coaches and hoping training camp starts at some point in December, depending on the coronavirus.

As for their prospects, they, too, are spread all over the map. Most aren’t playing because their respective leagues are shut down, including the AHL.

Some of their prospects, however, have been temporarily loaned to teams in Europe, or were already playing there. When the Flyers' camp starts, some of the prospects will remain overseas, while those with a chance to make the team will head to Voorhees.

Here is a progress report on the Flyers' prospects in Europe, courtesy of assistant general manager Brent Flahr, who is the organization’s draft guru:


Linus Sandin, RW: Sandin, 24, a free-agent signee, has six points (two goals, four assists) in 12 games in the Swedish Hockey League and has a decent shot to start the season with the Flyers. The fact he has been playing regularly will help him when camp starts. His team’s games this past week, however, were postponed because seven of his teammates tested positive for the coronavirus.

Flahr comment: “He’s playing a big role there. He’s around the blue paint and is real competitive. He’s anxious to get over here and see where he fits and what he can do.”

German Rubtsov, C: Rubtsov, 22, who had a four-game stint with the Flyers last season, had just one goal and four assists in his first 17 games in Russia’s KHL this season. He was the Flyers' first-round selection (22nd overall) in 2016, and is coming off a disappointing season with the Phantoms (two goals in 42 games), one that was filled with injuries and a personal issue.

Flahr comment: “He was out for a little bit with injuries, but he’s back. He’s playing lots; their team isn’t that strong, but he’s got a big role and he missed so much hockey the last few years and, just for his psyche, it’s great that he’s playing so much again.”

David Kase, RW/C: Playing center in the Czech Republic, the 23-year-old Kase had four points, all assists, in his first five games with Karlovy Vary this season. A fifth-round draft pick in 2015, Kase is a high-energy player who doesn’t let his small stature stop him from going into high-traffic areas. He played six games with the Flyers last season.

Flahr comment: “He missed some time with an injury and knows he needs to get stronger, and I think it’s going to be a big year for him.”

Maksim Sushko, RW: In his first pro season, Sushko, 21, had 11 goals, 21 points, and a plus-7 rating with Lehigh Valley. Now playing in the KHL, he had one goal in his first 13 games.

Flahr comment: “He’s played really well. He’s going to be an interesting guy. I think it’s going to be really tough for him to make our team [this season], but he made a good impression on our coaches last year. He’s kind of one of those guys who grew on them. He’s a useful guy who has a chance to find a role down the road.”

Olle Lycksell,LW: Another Flyers prospect playing in Sweden, Lycksell, 21, had two goals and a pair of assists in his first 13 games. He was a sixth-round pick in 2017.

Flahr comment: “Lycksell is making strides. He really needed to get stronger and work on his game, but he’s getting more and more ice time. Realistically, I think he’ll need another year over there.”


Emil Andrae: The Flyers' second-round selection (No. 54 overall) in last month’s draft, Andrae, 18, is one of Sandin’s teammates in Sweden. He has three points and a minus-5 rating in 14 games.

Flahr comment: “He’s been real good for a young kid in that league, which is a challenge. He’s a real confident kid with the puck, and to play at that level at his age is commendable.”

Linus Hogberg: Drafted in the fifth round in 2016, Hogberg, 22, continues to impress. Playing in Sweden for Vita Hasten, he had nine points, including eight assists, and a plus-1 rating in his first 13 games this season.

Flahr comment: “He’s played really well on a second-division [team]; he’s playing huge minutes, and he should be confident” by the way he’s performing.

Adam Ginning: Selected by the Flyers in the second round (50th overall) in 2018, the 6-foot-3, 196-pound Ginning, 20, had an assist and an “even” rating in his first 12 games in Sweden this season.

Flahr comment: “He hasn’t played a lot, but he’s in the lineup and he’s working his way up. He’s a big guy and he plays heavy. He’s probably more suited for hockey over here, to be honest with you, by the way he plays.”


Samuel Ersson: His stats in Sweden – a 3.10 GAA and a .903 save percentage – are misleading because of one bad outing in seven games. Ersson was chosen in the fifth round of the 2018 draft.

Flahr comment: “He played on the Swedish national team and he’s off to a real good start. ... He’s very competitive and doesn’t give up on making a save."

Kirill Ustimenko: Playing in Belarus, he had a 2.50 GAA and .910 save percentage in his first two games. He was a third-round selection in 2017.

Flahr comment: “He’s mostly been training because he had a little bit of a groin issue. He’s getting back to good health.”

Felix Sandstrom: He has bounced back nicely from offseason abdominal surgery and posted impressive numbers (2.43 GAA, .932 save percentage) in his first four games in Sweden this season. Sandstrom, 23, was a third-round selection in 2015.

Flahr comment: “Coming off the surgery, he’s getting into games and he’s temporarily playing over there until we get going over here. He really battled through an abdominal [injury] and tried to play through it last year and it’s hard for that position.”

Ivan Fedotov: Fedotov, who turns 24 on Nov. 28, keeps opening eyes. He had a 1.54 GAA and .945 save percentage in his first nine KHL games this season. In 2015, he was drafted by the Flyers in the seventh round.

Flahr comment: “He’s a big goalie [6-foot-7, 202 pounds] and he’s getting a chance to play a lot and his numbers are really good."

Especially for someone who was drafted 188th overall by then-general manager Ron Hextall, who five-plus years ago admitted he took a “shot in the dark” by selecting the raw Fedotov, the third goalie he chose in that draft.

Bottom line: Led by Carter Hart, the organization’s goalie situation is as strong as it has been in memory.