The city of brotherly love is up next as I bring you the Philadelphia Flyers
Nick Cousins - Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
While the Greyhounds certainly underachieved this year, Cousins did not, improving on every offensive category, but also rounding out his game to become a more versatile player. Obviously the thing that most people talk about with Cousins is his ability to agitate the opposition. He's definitely a pest, and while I think he crosses the line sometimes, he is effective. He's effective because he's very quick and aggressive. This makes him a very effective player on the forecheck and in puck pursuit. He backs up his yapping and antics on the ice with hard work and determination. Cousins is also a terrific playmaker, an aspect of his game that really grew this year. In his draft year, I felt like he played selfishly (and foolishly) at times, but this year I found he used his linemates much more effectively. He was also more patient with the puck. His defensive game and play in all three zones improved, but I think there's still room to grow there. The big test for Cousins this year will be assuming a leadership role. He's definitely a candidate to be the Hounds new captain. I think taking on this leadership role could force him to focus less on his antics and more on setting an example for the younger players on his team. The Hounds are going to look to be competitive this year, but they'll be fighting it out for a playoff spot yet again. Another solid year (~ the 90 point mark) from Cousins would go a long way.
Colin Suellentrop - Oshawa Generals
Suellentrop continues to progress slowly, but nicely. At this point, he plays a pretty safe game, but it works for him. I like the way he plays in his own end. He's aggressive when he needs to be, but is also comfortable just using his stick and good mobility to angle the opposition off the puck. He'll push guys around in front of the net or in the corners, but isn't the type to take undisciplined or lazy penalties. Offensively, he's slowly gaining confidence with the puck. He's progressed from being a chip the puck out of the zone kind of guy, to someone who will occasionally skate the puck out, or is comfortable enough to be patient and find a streaking forward with a breakout pass. This year, that's the area of game I really want to see improve. Hopefully he's willing to take a few more chances with his passes, and hopefully he can get some time on the second powerplay unit. If he can make his offensive game at least average, he'd be a much more valuable prospect. I'd say a realistic expectation this year would be a 25 point season.
Derek Mathers - Peterborough Petes
There's absolutely no question that Mathers is one of, if not THE most feared fighter in the OHL. This year, there were some baby steps taken to improve the rest of his game. He was more active on the forecheck where he was successful at times in creating offense off the cycle. He's also taken to going hard to the net without the puck, looking to be a screen or for garbage goals. These are great things. Moving forward, he's going to continue to need to improve his skating, his play in all three zones, and his goal scoring ability/instincts if he wants to find a regular role in the NHL. This year, I'd imagine he'll be given a chance to fulfill a larger offensive role, maybe even as a 2nd line winger and on the powerplay. It'll be interesting to see how he handles it. I could actually see him achieving a small amount of success as a goal scorer, considering how hard he can be to remove from the front of the net. A 20 goal season probably isn't unrealistic.
Scott Laughton - Oshawa Generals
I loved the Flyers selection of Laughton. He had such a terrific 2nd half of the season (including the Under 18's), I knew someone would take him in the first. He's already a committed two way center, and I just love the aggressiveness he brings away from the puck. He's not big, but he's a real bulldog out there. His offensive creativity, playmaking ability, and goal scoring instincts are all highly underrated. I'm assuming he's probably trained hard this summer to get stronger, which will help his game HUGELY. In particular, he'll be able to protect the puck better when driving to the net and become a lethal player off the rush, and not just off the wall/cycle. The Gennies have a solid 1/2 punch down the middle for this coming year with Jenner and Laughton. The question is, which one gets to play with Lucas Lessio (the teams best winger)? Either way, I think Laughton has a big year. Heck, he was a point per game player last year from December on. There's no reason to think that he can't be a 70 point player this year, maybe even more.