Photo credit: Amy Irvin (38Photography)
Just about everyone is familiar with the Flyers big four defensive prospects of Shayne Gostisbehere, Sam Morin, Robert Hagg and Travis Sanheim, but the Flyers may have a fifth standout defensive prospect as well; Mark Friedman.
Friedman was drafted in the third round of 2014, 86th overall, out of the USHL. He’s put up a solid freshman season as Bowling Green State University with 2G-17A-19P as a 19 year old, which bodes well for his future. Friedman’s not NHL ready by any stretch for the 15-16 campaign or likely even 16-17, but come the 2017-18 or 2018-19 seasons, he’s got a chance to begin making an impact if he turns pro and stays healthy. The Flyers have a long term prospect here, and that’s helpful given his Entry Level Contract would start ticking right around the time the big 4 D-prospects all need their first raises as RFA’s.
The question is, how does he project at the NHL level. Based off Vollman’s NHL-E formula; from above, Friedman right now, projects as a .2 Point per game player, or 17 points per 82 games. This isn’t too impressive, but he’s got, likely 2 more years of development in the NCAA to get better and project out to a better role.
Also working in his favor, Friedman is a right shooting, puck moving defender which will likely mean he can find a spot on the second powerplay unit in the left faceoff dot position that Claude Giroux occupies on the top unit. This will likely increase his point production.
Finally, as an aside, Ryan Suter had almost identical scoring as a Freshman in the WCHA which makes him comparable to Friedman. Ryan Suter is probably the ceiling of Friedman’s development.
Via Own the Puck
Suter’s a third pair defender who scores like a top 4 player based on being used a lot. That said, given the amount of round 3 picks who contribute at the NHL level, if Friedman is a cheap third pair guy, even if only for a couple seasons, the Flyers will have gotten solid value from him.