Grades for Each Philadelphia Flyers Prospect at 2014 World Junior Championships
For the first time in a long time, the Philadelphia Flyers are developing with youth.
Seven of the team's regular forwards, including captain Claude Giroux and offensive dynamos Jake Voracek, Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn, are all 25 years or younger. Meanwhile, defenders Braydon Coburn, Nicklas Grossmann, Erik Gustafsson and Luke Schenn are all under the age of 29 while standout goaltender Steve Mason is just 25.
But what's most encouraging for the Orange and Black is that this team has even more young talent in the pipeline, including several skaters who were recently on display in the 2014 World Junior Championships.
Here's a look at how each of Philadelphia's participating prospects performed in the recent showcase.
Robert Hagg, Sweden
Robert Hagg had the most successful run of any of the Flyers' prospects during the 2014 World Juniors, as he and Team Sweden earned a spot in the gold-medal game only to suffer a heartbreaking 3-2 overtime defeat to Finland.
Philadelphia's second-round pick in the 2013 NHL entry draft, Hagg managed one goal and 12 penalty minutes while suiting up in all seven of Sweden's outings in the tournament.
What's more, the 6'2", 188-pound blueliner finished with a plus-four rating overall and was a plus or even skater in six of seven games over an 11-day period. Unfortunately, his one minus outing came in the gold-medal game, where Hagg finished minus-two.
Still, a silver medal isn't bad for the 18-year-old.
Scott Laughton, Canada
For the second year in a row, Canada is returning home from the World Juniors empty-handed. That's considered an epic drought for a nation where hockey is king.
Still, it wasn't all bad for Flyers prospect Scott Laughton.
Philadelphia's first-round pick (20th overall) in the 2012 NHL entry draft, Laughton was named captain of Team Canada in advance of the tournament, which speaks volumes about his leadership and tenacious work ethic.
On the ice, the Oakville, Ontario, native produced just one assist and a plus-two rating in seven contests. But that one assist was a perfect example of what makes Laughton so valuable.
While short-handed against the Czech Republic, Laughton forced the issue in the Czech zone, leading to a takeaway and an eventual game-tying short-handed goal for Canada's Aaron Ekblad.
Taylor Leier, Canada
Taylor Leier was another member of the disappointing Team Canada squad whose run through the 2014 World Juniors ended with a 2-1 loss to Russia in the bronze-medal game on Sunday.
Unfortunately for Leier, his impact was even less significant than that of his fellow Canadian and Flyers teammate.
Philadelphia's fourth-round selection (117th overall) in the 2012 NHL entry draft, the Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, native failed to register a point while producing just six shots and a minus-two rating in six games.
Leier has already recorded 22 goals and 43 points in just 31 games with the Portland Winterhawks (WHL) this season but disappeared offensively in Malmo.
Anthony Stolarz, USA
One of three netminders named to Team USA, Anthony Stolarz dressed in all five of USA's contests at the 2014 World Juniors but was called upon to start in just one of them.
Instead, Calgary Flames goaltender Jon Gillies was the club's No. 1 option, starting four of the squad's five outings, including its final two showdowns of the tournament against Canada and Russia.
Still, Stolarz excelled in his lone appearance, recording a 15-save shutout as part of an 8-0 drubbing of Germany.
Philadelphia's second-round pick (45th overall) in the 2012 NHL entry draft, Stolarz is in the midst of a phenomenal campaign with the London Knights (20-3-1, 2.50 goals-against average, .926 save percentage) but was just never really given the opportunity to showcase his abilities at this year's World Juniors.
Valeri Vasiliev, Russia
Defenseman Valeri Vasiliev was the only other Flyers prospect beyond Hagg to medal after serving on a Russian squad that garnered the bronze medal.
Philadelphia's seventh-round pick (201st overall) in the 2012 NHL entry draft, Vasiliev suited up in all seven of Team Russia's outings and produced a goal, four penalty minutes and an even rating during the tournament.
The 6'2", 207-pound blueliner was steady throughout in his own end and wasn't afraid to jump up into the play, as evidenced by the goal he converted in Russia's 4-1 setback against Finland.
Vasiliev wasn't among Russia's most dynamic defenders in the team's bronze-medal run but still found a way to have a positive impact.