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2024 Flyers Development Camp: Day Two and Four

Flyers' Denver Barkey (Philadelphia Flyers)
(Philadelphia Flyers)

On-ice sessions for the 2024 Flyers Development Camp wrap up today. Tomorrow, the participants in the camp will compete in a five-on-five team scrimmage.

Oliver Bonk and Jett Luchanko stood out on the first day of the Flyers Development Camp. Bonk is the top defensive prospect in the Philadelphia Flyers‘ pipeline, and Luchanko was the 13th overall pick in the 2024 NHL Entry Draft. Riley Armstrong, the Flyers’ Director of Player Development, spoke highly of Bonk on Tuesday:

“I think his [Bonk] confidence really shows out here. He looks like he’s played pro hockey already; the way he just handles himself in the locker room and out on the ice. Throughout the course of the year, he never put a teammate in a bad spot when he’s breaking a puck out. Then, throughout the course of the year, ‘Bumper Bonk’ got put into the play there, and I think his confidence grew, being on the powerplay and scoring a lot of goals in that area. He knows who he is as a player. He’s so smart; covers for teammates well, breaks pucks out well, and he’s rewarded with the offensive opportunity at the end of the day.” – Riley Armstrong; 7/2/2024

Riley commented on Luchanko, too:

“When I went to go watch Barkey and Bonk play, they were against Guelph. Going into the game, I’m not like, ‘Oh, who’s the next draft class coming up?’ I constantly was checking Elite Prospects, like, ‘Who’s this number seven on the Guelph Storm?” It was Jett [Luchanko].” – Riley Armstrong; 7/2/2024

Luchanko raised his stock, and Daniel Brière chose him. Once Matvei Michkov agreed to his entry-level contract to join the NHL roster, Luchanko became the next top forward prospect. The top prospects centered the focus on Tuesday. When the on-ice sessions finished, who else made an impression?

Wednesday, Flyers Development Camp: Day Two

Carson Bjarnason

Carson Bjarnason is the only goaltender at the Flyers Development Camp drafted by Philadelphia. The others, Matteo Drobac and Arthur Smith, are camp invites.

Last season, with the Brandon Wheat Kings, Bjarnason contributed to a postseason berth. However, he fell apart in the playoffs, going 0-3-1 with a 7.15GAA and 83.1%SV. Already, Bjarnason focuses on his room for improvement, hoping to earn another postseason berth next season and his first playoff win:

“Moving forward through the season and carrying into the next, a lot of footwork is a big thing for me. I’m a big guy, and I think I have to learn to use my size a little better and just being able to cover more net given the body that I have. That, and just speed and footwork.” – Carson Bjarnason; 7/3/2024

Brady Robinson and Kim Dillabaugh remain in touch with Bjarnason. Robinson is the goaltending coach for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, and Dillabaugh holds the same role for the Flyers. Bjarnason, 19, will return to the Wheat Kings next season.

Denver Barkey

Denver Barkey was all over the place, making a great impression. He showed four-on-four chemistry with another standout from Wednesday, Alex Bump.

Barkey already understands how to earn the trust of the bench boss. He knows that being an effective two-way forward. Those finer details will go a long way in the NHL for Barkey because they fit the John Tortorella philosophy:

“I learned a lot of things. The biggest thing was just playing on both sides of the puck. Dale [Hunter], my head coach, he taught me a lot about the defensive zone and just little skills like that because you need to get trust from your head coach at the next level on the defensive side of the puck.” – Denver Barkey; 7/3/2024

However, Barkey let the London Knights in point production with 102 points (35G, 67A). Barkey mentioned that getting cut from Team Canada ahead of the 2024 IIHF World Juniors became the motivation for the best season of his career. He and Bonk led the Knights to an OHL Championship, hoisting the John Ross Robertson Cup.

“The World Juniors camp was a cool experience, and not to make it was heartbreaking. It was a tough couple of days for me. It stung a bit, but you got to move on, and my goal was to prove them wrong and use that to fuel the fire.” – Denver Barkey; 7/3/2024

Bonk and Barkey reunite at the Flyers Development Camp before returning to London next season, poised to hoist the Memorial Cup.

Jack Berglund

Jack Berglund is a big-framed center, a power-forward. He used his frame to protect the puck past Ryan MacPherson and later flexed his shooting accuracy.

Berglund cited Mikko Rantanen as a player he studies in the NHL. They are 6’4″, but Berglund is 209lbs, and Rantanen is 215lbs. Last season, Rantanen totaled 104 points (42G, 62A) for the Colorado Avalanche. For Färjestad BK J20, Berglund notched 34 points (15G, 19A) in 41GP, then earned a bronze medal at the U18 IIHF World Juniors.

“I have a big frame, and why not use it? It’s great to have and great use as well. That would help me along the way.” – Jack Berglund; 7/3/2024

Next season, Berglund returns to Färjestad BK J20, hoping to help Team Sweden place at the IIHF World Juniors.

Friday, Flyers Development Camp: Day Four

Technically, day three did not feature any on-ice activities. Independence Day broke up the Flyers Development Camp in Voorhees, NJ. However, they all were back on the ice today.

Heikki Ruohonen

Heikki Ruohonen is another power-forward playing down the middle, similar to Berglund. Ruohonen said he models his game after Aleksander Barkov. Recently, Barkov hoisted the Stanley Cup with the Florida Panthers.

“Aleksander Barkov is the biggest. Of course, he’s a Fin [Finland] and a big body, but moves pretty well.” – Heikki Ruohonen; 7/5/2024

Ruohonen showed his shooting ability. He can snipe a corner and rip an effective one-timer, efficient with his shot. On the second day of the 2024 NHL Entry Draft, Ruohonen said he knew Philadelphia was interested in selecting him.

In 2026-2027, Ruohonen is committed to Harvard University.

Alex Ciernik

Alex Ciernik suffered two significant head injuries last season. Even still, he improved his point totals from his 2022-2023 campaign in HockeyAllsvenskan. Last season with Västerviks IK, Ciernik finished with 14 points (4G, 10A) in 26GP.

“It wasn’t the easiest. I didn’t play for half the year with the head injuries, so it was a little bit lonely and a little tough at times, but just happy to be back here, be with the guys, be on the ice, work out, and all that fun stuff.” – Alex Ciernik; 7/5/2024

Ciernik communicated with the Flyers, taking advice from the club about navigating his head injuries. Philadelphia advised him to take the season slower instead of returning early. Västerviks IK lost their relegation series to Östersunds IK, where Ciernik contributed three assists in six games.

Next season, Ciernik will continue his venture in HockeyAllsvenskan with Nybro Vikings IF.

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