The Philadelphia Flyers couldn't have done much better with their rookies last year.
Sean Couturier and Brayden Schenn were two of the NHL's top rookies this past season, and with training camp (hopefully) starting in less than a month, people will be curious to see if there are any youngsters worth playing this year.
Plenty of things have to go right for a young player to make the team, but Philadelphia has a few players that could crack the roster.
Let's take a look at four players that have a shot at making the 2012-2013 Flyers roster.
Jason Akeson has had a strange road to Philly.
"So, by signing Jason Akeson as an undrafted free agent, the Flyers have landed themselves a blue-chip prospect without tapping a single asset in the form of a draft pick, or trade of a prospect or roster player. Indeed a shrewd move by Flyers general manager Paul Holmgren. Right?"
NHL success for Akeson would make Philadelphia's management look pretty smart. He put up 108 points during the 2010-2011 season in the OHL and had 55 points last year for the Adirondack Phantoms, Philadelphia's minor league affiliate.
The majority of his points are from assists, and being able to put another distributor on the ice is always good.
If Akeson can find a way to stand out among Philadelphia's strong forwards then he has the potential to be a good role-player for the Flyers.
If a young player does end up making the roster, a potential choice could be Philadelphia's first-round pick, Scott Laughton.
At 17 years old, Laughton finished last year with 53 points for the Oshawa Generals of the OHL. A year later, he is impressing Flyers Director of Player Personnel, Ian Laperriere, in offseason workouts.
His biggest disadvantage is that he just doesn't have as much experience as the other players he'll be competing against. Say what you want about skill, but experience can't be undervalued.
Most of the other young players at Philly's training camp will be at least 20 years old so he'll have to play ahead of his age.
That being said, he was drafted in the first round for a reason. Pure talent won't get him on the roster, but playing with confidence and poise while putting his talent on display will.
One thing is for sure though, Laughton has a shot.
If Nick Cousins gets the opportunity to play in training camp then he has to be one of the favorites to make the team.
Unfortunately, that's a big "if" after his recent arrest.
Cousins was arrested and charged with sexual assault, leaving people to wonder about how the Flyers will manage the situation.
He hasn't been convicted or punished by the team, but it still has to be seen as a major setback for a player that could one day be seen as a fan favorite.
His aggressive and physical play is exactly what Philadelphia fans love to see. The fact that he can score at a high level is the icing on the cake.
"The Flyers faithful will love his spunk and spirit, and call for him to make the team as that loveable louse. The media will gush all over about him, clamoring for him to make the team as the needed salt to rub in to the opponent’s wounds."
You hate to see a young player with so much potential getting caught up in legal issues. It doesn't serve any purpose other than to delay his progression.
If he finds himself clear of the charges and clear of the distraction that it's sure to provide, then maybe he'll be able to make the squad. He certainly has the ability to.
Brandon Manning could find himself in the perfect situation.
He was able to see his first NHL experience last year after playing in four games for Philadelphia. He didn't have any goals or assists, but he did have a plus/minus of +1.
That doesn't seem like a significant stat, but it means the Flyers' defense didn't give up goals when he was on the ice—pretty important for a player with little experience at that level.
He's the only player on this list that has NHL experience and that plays in a position of need for the Flyers. Both are critical advantages for Manning and people should expect him to take advantage of this opportunity.
He could end up being a reliable rookie for Philadelphia this year.