Projecting Top-End Potential for Philadelphia Flyers' Best Prospects

Garrett BakerSenior Analyst INovember 18, 2013

Projecting Top-End Potential for Philadelphia Flyers' Best Prospects

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    Len Redkoles/Getty Images

    The Philadelphia Flyers have finally stepped up and turned their season around, but that doesn't mean we can't still look at the team's future.

    There is not much depth at all in the Flyers' farm system, but their top prospects have a good bit of talent.

    The point of this article isn't just to discuss their realistic ceiling, however; it's also to gauge their absolute top-end potential.

    For the purpose of a more comprehensive evaluation, I've also included the likelihood that they will hit that potential, with 5 being "decent" and 1 being "highly unlikely." I did this because, by definition, there can't be more than a "decent" chance for them to reach that potential.

    Here's a look at the top-end potential for the Flyers' top prospects.

Shayne Gostisbehere, Defenseman

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    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    Ceiling: Second-pairing 

    Likelihood: 2

    Gostisbehere is a talented puck-moving defenseman who is undersized but can skate really well and has a good shot from the point. 

    His lack of size and defensive acumen keep him from having a top-pairing upside, but there's a chance he can crack the Flyers' top four in a few years.

Nick Cousins, Center

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    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    Ceiling: Second-line 

    Likelihood: 4

    There are a few things that could keep Cousins from becoming a second-line center, but he has certainly shown glimpses of that potential.

    He's very quick, hardworking and has good hands, but his offensive upside in the NHL is somewhat limited, and he makes a lot of contributions just on pure effort. His size (5'11", 170 lbs) doesn't help.

Samuel Morin, Defenseman

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    Ceiling: Top-pairing 

    Likelihood: 1

    Morin was taken with the 11th overall selection in this past draft, and I have to say I was not (and am still not) a fan of the pick. Morin is a big (6'6") and tough kid with solid defensive ability.

    But the Flyers' rough start to the season illustrated how important speed is in today's NHL, and he is not very quick and doesn't move the puck well. This lack of offensive ability makes it unlikely that he ends up being a top-pairing guy in the NHL.

Robert Hagg, Defenseman

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    Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

    Ceiling: Top-pairing 

    Likelihood: 1

    Hagg, picked in the second round of the 2013 draft, is almost an identical prospect to Morin from an upside standpoint.

    He is a totally different prospect than Morin, however, as he is a much more complete two-way player who has gotten a lot of experience in Sweden's top league and on their U-18 and U-20 teams. But he doesn't do anything spectacularly, which is why there isn't a very good chance of him becoming a top-pairing defenseman.

Scott Laughton, Center

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    Ceiling: Second-line 

    Likelihood: 5

    Laughton is currently the Flyers' best prospect, and he has been tearing it up with the OHL's Oshawa Generals, scoring an impressive 35 points in 20 games. 

    He plays a hard two-way game and has shown a lot of development offensively over the past couple of seasons. But he still isn't quite skilled enough offensively to be a first-line guy, although he definitely has a decent chance to be on the second line at some point.