Wayne Simmonds is headed to Los Angeles this weekend to participate in his first NHL All-Star Game. As the team leader in goals with 19, including nine on the power play, the nine-year veteran will serve as the Flyers’ lone representative.
He will join the rest of his teammates, which include Sydney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin, on the Metropolitan team in the new 3-on-3 tournament that was instituted last year that consists of four All-Star teams based on the NHL’s four divisions.
The hard-nosed winger, also known for his physicality and willingness to drop the gloves, is the third straight different player to represent the organization at the mid-season event. Captain Claude Giroux was named last year while Jake Voracek and Giroux got nods in 2015.
While Simmonds, Giroux and Voracek were the Flyers' top candidates to make the All-Star Game this season, let’s take a look at who else on their roster has the potential to become one in the future (listed in order of likelihood).
This is the one obvious choice. The 19-year-old defenseman has played well beyond his years as a rookie this season and already is the team’s No. 1 blue liner. As he gains more experience and develops an offensive game, his stock is only going to rise — as well as the number of All-Star selections.
Despite enduring a bit of a sophomore slump, Gostisbehere showed his true ceiling last year when he was a finalist for Rookie of the Year. He still needs to clean up on the defensive end, where’s he’s shown improvement this year, but this is a showcase that rewards offense and flashy skills in 3-on-3 play, which we all know are his specialties.
Give him a few more years when he is moved to center to watch his true ability bubble to the surface. In due time, the playmaking 19-year-old forward, who has exhibited jaw-dropping moves and passes, should be an All-Star candidate every season.
Still only 25-years-old, Schenn is on pace to top last year’s numbers, which were career highs in goals and assists. The Flyers think there is another gear to reach even higher. Set to hit the prime years of his career, Schenn has the tools to elevate his game even more.
Already a respected shut-down forward, Couturier is still looking for a consistent offensive game as a complement. The 24-year-old has shown flashes of breaking out with one, but injuries or a lack of commitment on offense have stalled his progress. He definitely has All-Star potential if he can put both ends together.