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Joel Farabee and Jay O’Brien

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Flyers WJC Invites: Frost, Farabee headline preliminary teams

The best hockey tournament of the year is coming: the annual World Junior Classic.

This week, several countries announced their preliminary teams and there are, as always, little Flyers to look for. In recent years, the Flyers have been among the most highly represented teams in the NHL in this prestigious tournament.

Starting with the Americans, the Flyers have three of their 2018 draft picks looking to crack the lineup for 2020.

Both first round picks, Joel Farabee and Jay O’Brien, are among a good forward corps.

Farabee is fourth on his team, Boston University, in points. He has seven in 13 games, and is the highest scoring freshman on the team. He’s played with Wahlstrom and 17 year-old Jack Hughes before, so he could complete a sweet top line for the Americans.

O’Brien hasn’t started off as well as he would have liked to, but he missed some time to injury and has gotten his first goal behind him. He did look very good on Farabee’s team in the USNTDP.

Jack St. Ivany, a fourth round pick, has been invited as well. He’s started off well at Yale, with six points in nine games (1-5–6). The 6’3” defenseman will be fighting for ice time with three returning players from last year’s bronze medal team, as well as 2018 first round pick K’Andre Miller.

Interestingly, 2017 fifth rounder Noah Cates has found his way on the team. The Minnesota-Duluth winger has six points (3-3–6) in 14 games, just one fewer point than fellow American Joel Farabee.

Moving up north to Canada, the Flyers are sending two 2017 picks to compete for a spot.

Morgan Frost and Isaac Ratcliffe are just two of the very talented, highly drafted players on a good Canadian team. While this is the story every year, a new story begins in goal, as Carter Hart has aged out of the Canadian crease.

Frost has somehow elevated his game above his pace from last seasons’ 100+ point performance. It was questionable if he’d be able to, with the surrounding talent graduating to the pro levels. He’s surpassed all expectations, and has considerably raised his stats from 1.67 points per game to 1.89.

Ratcliffe is scoring at a slightly higher pace than his 41 goal outburst last year. If he continues, he’ll end the year at 47. An early second round pick after Frost, Ratcliffe has a goal with the Phantoms from last year and is a lethal shooter. He’s got a nice set of hands for a 6’6” guy.

In Europe, the Swedish team includes 2018 second round defenseman Adam Ginning along with goaltender Samuel Ersson. Ersson is having a great season and is looking like another great late round Hextall choice from the fifth round.

Ersson is one of, if not the best goaltenders in Allsvenskan through 15 games. He’s playing against men with a 1.72 GAA and .943 save percentage. These are fantastic numbers, and the Flyers would love to see some more growth in the SHL.

Meanwhile, Adam Ginning is an impact defenseman on the big club in Linköping. Only four points this season, but the offense isn’t really his game. He’s a defensive shutdown guy, but he’s going to have to work hard to break a deep Swedish back-six.

The final lineups will be announced in the next few weeks, and pre-tournament friendlies are scheduled for late December.

Evan Watson
Evan Watson

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