Flyers Prospect Breakdown: Carter Sotheran, RD, Portland Winterhawks, WHL

The Player

Drafted by the Flyers in the 5th round #135 overall of the 2023 NHL Draft. A transition ace, Sotheran consistently creates favorable situations up the rink with patience and skill on the breakout. The anticipation and feel for the game appear on the side of the puck, too. He angles opponents, forcing them wide before going for the puck. And when he recovers possession, he instantly makes the best pass to start the counterattack.

Sotheran is the prototype of a modern-day defensive defenseman, with good skating and hockey sense which, when combined with his large frame and exceptional reach, allows him to regularly shut plays down and turn the puck the other way. 

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Strengths

He boasts a better physical game than most 18-year-olds I’ve ever seen in junior hockey, rag-dolling guys in board battles and boxing out opposing forwards in front of his net with ease. The crazy thing is that Sotheran has even more room to grow into his frame, which should allow him to handle NHL physicality in a few years. Sotheran’s gap control (the ability to maintain a safe/smart gap between him and the opposing attacker) is quite mature already and he’s always ready to be the last man back on defense.

Weakness

Sotheran’s offensive game hasn’t been particularly dynamic for most of his draft year, which is why he fell out of a top-two-round pick by most people. However, I think a big reason that’s the case is that he was paired with Cagnoni for most of the season, one of the best pure-offensive defenders in the class. Carrying the defensive load for the entire pairing this year left Sotheran with many fewer opportunities to show off his offensive skills.

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Projection

Sotheran spent the 2021-22 season in the Manitoba AAA U18 Hockey League (MU18HL) where he led all defensemen in scoring with 54 points in 41 games despite being a U17 player. This season marks his second full season with Portland of the WHL where he has scored 38 points in 68 games, good enough for 11th amongst defenders. Point production will never be Sotheran’s calling card, but I think he could put up significantly more points next season in the right situation.

Matt Bednarczyk
Matt Bednarczyk

Matt Bednarczyk is your host of Talking Philly Sports With Matty B. He is a proud retired US Army Sergeant First Class, he is also a combat veteran with over 80 months served in Afganistan, and Iraq . Huge Hockey Fan. Matt is a lifelong 4 for 4 Philly sports fan. Born and raised on the Mayfair and Tacony neighborhood lines of Northeast Philly. He brings over 40 years of Philadelphia Sports passion and provides a realistic look at our Major Sports Teams and the most passionate sports fans on the planet. Look for his show live on Edge of Philly Sports.

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