Image courtesy of Sportsnet.caIt was a big week for both Taylor Leier and Scott Laughton, as two of the best prospects for the Philadelphia Flyers keep showing they might have what it takes to make an impact in the NHL. Jakub Kovar was also seen on a global stage this week at the Olympics, as he saw action for the Czech Republic. It's also worth noting that Shayne Gostisbehere is doing very well in the fan voting of the Hobey Baker Award.
Leier was named the Denny's WHL Player of the Week for the week that ended on February 16th, 2014. The Portland Winterhawk had four goals and six assists in four games over the span of a week, as Leier's WHL club won their 16th straight game on Saturday in a 7-4 decision over the Vancouver Giants. The Flyers' prospect is fourth on Portland with 65 points, as the Winterhawks are still seven points out of first in the Western Conference behind Tyrell Goulbourne's Kelowna Rockets.
Selected in the fourth round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft by the Orange and Black, Leier has surfaced as one of the few prospects anticipated to have a chance at the next level. Leier is regarded as a player who can do everything from killing penalties, to winning puck battles, and to creating for himself offensively. The forward recently represented Canada at the World Junior Championship.
As for another popular Flyers' prospect, Laughton had a big night on Friday as he posted four points in the Oshawa Generals' 6-0 win over the Ottawa 67's. Laughton potted a shorthanded goal in the second period to cap off his hat trick, as he also had the primary assist on Oshawa's next goal from Dylan Smoskowitz. The forward currently has 75 points in 45 games for the Generals.
Drafted by the Flyers in the fourth round of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft, Kovar has spent this season in the KHL and has played the last few seasons in the Czech Republic's Tipsport Extraliga. This week, the 25-year-old netminder had his shot to represent the Czech Republic at the Olympics and didn't do too well. Although he earned the start in the nation's first game against Sweden over Ondrej Pavelec, Kovar was pulled 51 seconds into the second period after he allowed his third goal against on the 10th shot he saw. He didn't do too well against Sweden, but Kovar is doing fine with Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg in the KHL with a GAA under 2.00 and a save percentage over .930.
When it comes to prospects on defense, Shayne Gostisbehere is being recognized by several fans, as he currently leads the fan voting for the Hobey Baker Award as the NCAA's top ice hockey player. The mobile blue liner has 17,552 votes in his favor, which is almost exactly 1,000 more votes than Ryan Faragher of St. Cloud State, who is second with 16,553 votes. Both Carsen Chubak and Kyle Flanagan were top 10 finalists for the award last season.