When the Philadelphia Flyers training camp started, two positional battles were at the forefront. Who would replace Matt Niskanen & who would be the 12th forward.
After 6-days of camp, those two battles are still undecided. But, the final outcomes to the battles could have answers soon.
With no preseason games this season, head coach Alain Vigneault is using the inter-squad tonight to get his lineup for Game1 game action.
“The inter-squad & the 12th (Flyers 1st official practice) you’ll be seeing probably our starting line-up there,” Vigneault said when asked about no preseason games. “On the 12th, we are going to have our group and I am very confident that what I’ve seen so far the work on the ice and the work off the ice that we are going to be ready come the 13th.”
When the Flyers hit the ice on the 13th to open their season, it will feature 16 players that were in the lineup last season for the Flyers. The lone newcomers being Erik Gustafsson, who signed a 1-year $3M deal this offseason, & Nolan Patrick, who missed last season due to a migraine disorder.
As the Flyers training camp ends, here is the current lineup…
Oskar Lindblom – Sean Couturier – Travis Konecny
Claude Giroux – Kevin Hayes – Joel Farabee
James van Riemsdyk – Nolan Patrick – Jake Voracek
Michael Raffl – Scott Laughton – Nicolas Aube-Kubel
Ivan Provorov – Justin Braun
Travis Sanheim – Phil Myers
Robert Hagg – Erik Gustafsson
The current group of Flyers is one of the stronger units the Flyers have exited camp with in years. Including having one of the best Top9s in the NHL. Let alone possibly the best in their division, the MassMutual East Division.
“I think it is really going to show through the season our depth,” Travis Konecny said about a healthy Nolan Patrick & Oskar Lindblom. “It doesn’t matter where you are playing in the lineup. There is a lot of skill and hardworking guys and heart. I think it is a good line up.”
Entering tonight’s inter-squad game, the lone two positions left to decide is the 4LW (Michael Raffl vs Sam Morin vs Morgan Frost) & Ivan Provorov’s partner (Justin Braun vs Shayne Gostisbehere). Both positions that could change on a nightly basis during the season.
With the Flyers needing grit & toughness in the lineup, the Flyers asked Sam Morin to change positions. A change that looks like Morin has made successful with the high likelihood Morin is the 13th forward. While it’s not a spot in the everyday lineup, in games head coach Alain Vigneault wants more physicality, Morin could & should slot right in.
After Matt Niskanen retired, the Flyers needed another partner for Ivan Provorov. Which, Shayne Gostisbehere looked to be the man who won that spot. But, due to being declared “unfit to practice”, Justin Braun looks to be in the position to play next to Provorov on opening night. A spot that Braun started in as well last season.
“Brauner and I started last year together. We played about 5-6 games at the beginning of the regular season together,” Ivan Provorov said when asked about Braun being his partner. “He has been in the league for a while, he plays responsible, defends well and if we play together, it should be fine.”
With the same group returning, the Flyers will look to continue their success from last season. A group that lost to the New York Islanders in a Game7 of the Eastern Conference semi-finals.
Players Daily Covid Routine
After the playoff bubble, the Flyers players are used to the covid protocol & daily testing. Something that will be much of the same this season.
Thanks to Ivan Provorov, here is what the players go through on a daily basis when it comes to covid testing.
“Get up, we answer a few questions on the app about how we are feeling. We check our temperature at home. Then we come to the rink and check our temperatures here and do our COVID test daily and start practicing. After we do our COVID test in the morning, we get the results by the end of the day. So, we all know if we are negative or positive if some people are.”
During the season, the NHL will release a daily list of all positive cases on the injury report.
Photo Credit : Mark Blinch – Getty Images