.Highly touted prospects Samuel Morin, Shane Gostisbehere, and Travis Sanheim made big impressions in the Flyers’ pre-season training camp. Though it seemed obvious that recent draft pick Sanheim would go back to his junior club before the NHL season began, many fans expected that Morin and/or Gostisbehere would stick with the big club, at least for a little while. But before the regular season began, Morin was sent back to his junior club (he is not allowed to play in the AHL because he is not yet 20 years old) and Gostisbehere was sent to the AHL’s Lehigh Valley Phantoms. It is no secret that the Flyers desperately need help on defense, and Morin and Gostisbehere would likely have made an immediate impact in the NHL. But new Flyers GM Ron Hextall has made it clear that he believes in being patient with young prospects and not rushing them to the NHL.
One Flyers fan on social media had an excellent analogy for these prospects who look NHL-ready but probably are not. The fan said that the prospects were like cookies being baked in an oven. They look ready and smell ready, but when you take them out of the oven and bite into them, you realize that they needed another five minutes in the oven.
Unfortunately for Morin, that oven has recently proved to be very hot. He was struck in the mouth by a puck this week during play with his junior club and will be out 4-5 weeks. Several fans commented that if Morin would have remained with the Flyers, the injury would not have occurred. But there is certainly no way to know that. it is a dangerous sport at any level.
My opinion is that Flyers fans have to trust the process and give these prospects enough time to develop, even if it means the Flyers defense suffers for a year or so. With any luck, the Flyers will make the playoffs next spring, and in the lineup with be two of the most promising young defensemen the league has seen in quite a while.