The Nashville Predators aren’t just selling at the deadline. Last night they made a smaller deal to acquire Isaac Ratcliffe from the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for future considerations. The move gives the former top prospect a new home, and perhaps a fresh start as he continues to struggle at the professional level.
Selected 35th overall in 2017, Ratcliffe was a force to be reckoned with for the Guelph Storm of the OHL. The 6’6″ winger could lean on smaller junior players and bully his way to the net, resulting in massive point totals and sky-high expectations. In his final year with Guelph he scored 50 goals in 65 regular season games, while adding 105 penalty minutes. He seemed like the perfect Flyers prospect.
Unfortunately, that performance never carried over to the AHL. Ratcliffe scored just 15 points as a rookie in 2019-20, and was limited by injuries the following year. His best performance so far was in 2021-22 when he had 11 goals and 28 points for Lehigh Valley, while also making his NHL debut. Through 10 games with the Flyers, he had four points—not bad for a young player still finding his way, and encouraging enough to earn a new one-year deal with the club.
This year has been a disaster though, with just two goals and four points in 26 minor league contests. Given his age and performance so far, Ratcliffe was a real candidate to go unqualified in the offseason. He’ll get a chance to catch on in Nashville before that happens, though his future as an NHL player is still completely unclear.