Philadelphia Flyers Development Camp: Free Agent Invitees

The Philadelphia Flyers Development Camp will run July 7th to July 12th, and management announced the roster yesterday. No real surprises, a few interesting invitees, all prominent prospects will be in attendance except Myers.

Everyone from Ivan Provorov to this years’ 7th Round selection David Bernhardt will be in attendance next week. The prospects will be put through various on and off ice tests to gauge development. Full detailed list here from Flyers.NHL.com.

All prominent Flyers prospects will be there save Phillipe Myers. Myers went down with a knee injury in the Memorial Cup as his QMJHL Champion Rouyn-Noranda Huskies failed to claim the CHL’s ultimate prize. It looks like he’s sitting out Development Camp as a precaution.

Myers of course attended the Flyers pre-season training camp last year after attending the Calgary Flames Development Camp as an invitee. He was promptly offered a contract after impressing during that training period, and after a break-out year it looks like Hextall and company made good on that deal. One of the four invitees to this years’ Development Camp could easily be the next steal so let’s take a quick look at whom the Flyers have invited.

Mike Vecchione

Forward – 5’10” – 195lbs – 23 years old – Union College (ECAC)

Photo: Matt Dewkett

Photo: Matt Dewkett

Vecchione is the most developed of the four invitees at 23 years old. A former member of the ECAC All-Rookie Team he just completed his 3rd year at Union College (an old Shayne Gostisbehere teammate!). He’s displayed a good scoring touch netting 113 points in 111 total games.

Listed as a winger Mike would fill an organizational need. He didn’t have the best of seasons as a Junior with just 29 points in 34 games. Still the terrific 50 point year as a Sophomore is hard to overlook. It’s fair to mention that Union’s program is in a bit of a rebuild right now. Best case scenario the Flyers have found the next Matt Read, worst case he’s an AHL guy.

Curtis Joe – Elite Prospects:

A strong and speedy two-way transition winger who possesses good puck and passing skills, and is equally adept at finishing plays as he is creating them. All-in-all, an offensively minded two-way winger that can produce strong numbers due to his patience and responsibility in all three zones.

Ondrej Vala

Defenseman – 6’5″ – 207lbs – 18 years old – Kamloops Blazers (WHL)

Photo: Kamloops Blazers

Photo: Kamloops Blazers

Many scouts were surprised no team took Vala in this years’ draft with a late pick. He was ranked as high as 100th and as low as 189th among respected scouting circles. A team like the Flyers who had 10 picks could have easily taken him instead of one of their Swedish D picks. Scouts usually clamor over lanky 6’5″ defensemen who’s shown some skill; Ondrej had 21 points this year in 72 WHL games.

He also suited up for the Czech Under-18 Team at the competition in Grand Forks, ND this season. The Czech’s weren’t very strong this year (Vala went pointless in 5 games), but that’s still a tournament for the best young prospects in the world. He may have been seen as too much of a project.

Corey Pronman – ESPN:

..he’s no Erik Karlsson, but Vala has shown the hockey sense to be competent with the puck. And at the under-18 and WHL levels, he has been effective during his time on the power play. He is decent defensively too, using his big frame to clog up lanes and win battles. His skating is poor, with a real awkward stance and stride. He can be turned horizontally a little too easy by quick forwards, which is a major hurdle that he’ll need to overcome on his way to potentially becoming a top prospect.

Garrett McFadden

Defenseman – 5’11” – 180lbs – 18 years old – Guelph Storm (OHL)

Photo: Owen Sound Sun-Times

Photo: Owen Sound Sun-Times

It’s very rare to find an 18 year old defenseman with 166 games of OHL experience so the Flyers have done well to dredge Garrett up. McFadden played as a 16 year old for Guelph, and drew early comparisons to Drew Doughty for his puck moving ability. He didn’t play much for the Storm as they marched to an OHL title in 2015. This past year he was thrust into a prominent role as the team looks to rebuild.

A former 12th overall selection in the OHL entry draft, McFadden hasn’t exactly become the elite puck mover Guelph had hoped for. Despite that he’s still been a great contributor for a bad Storm. Guelph finished 13-49-4-2, but McFadden managed 40 points in 68 games. That ranked him 8th out of draft eligible OHL defensemen in scoring which isn’t too shabby.

Tyler Parchem – Elite Prospects:

McFadden got better as the season went on, especially when injuries forced Guelph to use him more often. McFadden is undersized, but skates well and has good instincts. He is not overly physical, but is a smart player who makes the sure play.

Brennan Menell 

Defenseman – 5’10” – 172lbs – 19 years old – Vancouver Giants (WHL)

Photo: Christian J Stewart - ISN

Photo: Christian J Stewart – ISN

An Minnesotan playing for the Vancouver Giants of the WHL, Menell has received very little good publicity despite good scoring statistics. Brennan notched 53 points this year in 69 games as the Powerplay Quarterback. Most people suspect that Menell has been earmarked as a bit of a troubling case because of his attitude.

While playing for a losing Vancouver club he actually announced that he’d quit the team early this season. The Giants struggled to a 4-10-2-1 start, and 4 other players had also announced they were going home. It’s difficult to gauge what exactly was going on with the team, but an attitude like that is certainly a black mark for Scouts. Regardless Menell sucked it up and rejoined the bottom-feeding Giants as they stumbled through the WHL. There’s no harm in inviting him to a Development Camp to see if he’s got the goods.

Steve Ewen – The Province:

The WHL doesn’t keep ice-time stats, but Menell played in every situation for Vancouver. He played maybe more than any other Giant. He’s small and not blazing quick, but he’s smart and shifty. If you talked about potential pros with the Giants, Menell has to be in the conversation.

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