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Flyers Prospect Profile: Denver Barkey

Flyers' Denver Barkey (Heather Barry Images, LLC)
(Heather Barry Images, LLC)

Denver Barkey, 19, was one of two third-round selections by the Philadelphia Flyers in the 2023 NHL Entry Draft. He tied for fourth most in points (102) with the London Knights last season, then on March 4th, 2024, Barkey signed a 3yr/$2.74mil entry-level contract with the Flyers.

“It’s something you grow up dreaming about. [It’s] a bit of a relief and a sign that all the hard work you put in your whole life paid off.” – Denver Barkey; 7/2/2024

Daniel Brière admitted his philosophy at the 2023 NHL Entry Draft was taking big swings on high-potential prospects. Philadelphia chose ten players to fulfill their 2023 draft class. They had the draft capital to gamble on smaller forwards, which Barkey is (5’9″ and 155lbs). Brière, a small forward in his playing days, cited Barkey, Alex Čiernik (5’11” and 176lbs), and Cole Knuble (5’10” and 184lbs) as forwards he hopes to see play, but stressed patience in growth and development. He asked his Knights teammate and fellow Flyers prospect, Oliver Bonk, for intel on Barkey at the 2023 NHL Combine.

Dale Hunter counted on Barkey in London. Barkey fell short of making the final cut for Canada at the 2024 IIHF World Juniors but used it as motivation. He credits Hunter for giving him the opportunities and letting him lead the Knights last season. Growing his game in various situations, Barkey accumulated 102 points (35G, 67A).

“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

A playmaker, Barkey helped London hoist the J. Ross Robertson Cup, representing the OHL in the hunt for the Memorial Cup. In the round-robin tournament, Barkey finished among the top five in points. Unfortunately, the Knights fell short against the Saginaw Spirit.

Barkey remained on the radar as one of the most intriguing participants at the Flyers Training Center in Voorhees, NJ.

In drills, Barkey worked well with JR Avon. His control and patience with the puck created space for a cross-ice pass to Avon for a sweeping goal. He is an effective two-way forward, crediting Hunter in helping fine-tune his defensive skills. Excelling off the puck is a quick way for skaters to earn the trust of their coaching staff.

“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

Bonk teamed with Barkey since Barkey was 16. That familiarity can help aid the growth and development on the defensive side of the puck. In the pipeline, Bonk is one of the highest touted defensive prospects. The familiarity with Bonk helped the transition to his first Flyers Development Camp in 2023, and they both were standouts last week. At the 2025 World Juniors Camp, Barkey will audition again for Canada, hoping to join Bonk.

Next season could be the biggest for Barkey. He set his sights on the 2025 World Juniors, but Barkey wants to add size and strength after signing his entry-level contract with Philadelphia. As a small forward, that will be the norm for his career.

“The biggest thing for me, my whole life, has just been continuing to get bigger and stronger; putting on weight, spending time in the gym, that’s always been the biggest thing for me. That’s going to be another big thing this summer.” – Denver Barkey; 7/3/2024

Hunter will rely on Barkey next season in London, who hopes to build upon his breakout season. He could lead the Knights to repeat as OHL Champions, and if that comes to fruition, he and Bonk will have another chance at the Memorial Cup.

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