Flyers development camp is always a chance to peek into the team's future a bit by getting an up-close look at the organization's prospects.
The majority of the players in attendance each year are not ready to help the big club. Then again, sometimes there are a few directly on the NHL doorstep. Travis Konecny and Ivan Provorov took part last July and were in the Flyers' opening night lineup three months later. Robert Hagg, Sam Morin and Mike Vecchione (camp invitation) participated in last camp, as well, and all three made their NHL debuts in April.
So the annual youth gathering can feature prospects in all different stages of their development. But it's important to understand the meaning behind the camp and what it entails, so let's take a look at five things to know for the 2017 edition, which begins Friday morning in Voorhees, New Jersey.
1. No evaluation
Flyers general manager Ron Hextall always emphasizes that development camp is not for player evaluation, but for teaching purposes.
The Flyers' front office and development staff aren't taking copious amounts of notes to rank their prospect pool. The goal of camp is to introduce on-ice drills and off-ice fitness training, so throughout the season, prospects can utilize what they learned while they're away from the Flyers.
And camp is also an opportunity for the prospects to get further acquainted with one another, as well as the Flyers' coaching staff and culture. A focus is put on building team bonding and practice habits.
2. No Patrick … sort of
As many know, Nolan Patrick, the 2017 No. 2 overall pick, will not hit the ice.
The 18-year-old center is recovering from surgery he underwent on June 13 to address a nagging sports hernia injury. Patrick is doing well, though, and expected to be fully ready for training camp in September, when he'll have a legitimate chance at winning a roster spot.
On June 30, Hextall said Patrick was two to four weeks away from resuming full activities.
"He's got long enough now where we believe he can be in shape and be at his best in training camp," Hextall said then.
Patrick is already at Flyers Skate Zone and will be in the house for development camp — just not on the ice. He's expected to address the media late Friday morning.
3. Numbers to watch
There will be plenty of players on each sheet of ice (both rinks are used, oftentimes simultaneously, at Skate Zone). Forty prospects are listed on the development camp roster.
Let's give you five jersey numbers you'll want to keep an eye on when in attendance.
No. 63, German Rubtsov — This was a number you watched closely in training camp last season, as Konecny wore it before taking No. 11 once he made the Flyers' roster. But anyway, Rubtsov was the Flyers' first-round pick (No. 22 overall) in 2016 and was not at last year's development camp. The Russian center just turned 19 last week.
No. 54, Oskar Lindblom — The rising winger that has caught everybody's attention, Lindblom expectedly signed his entry-level contract in May. After a big season in the Swedish Hockey League, Lindblom will be in a real push for a roster spot come training camp. He turns 21 years old in August.
No. 61, Philippe Myers — An exciting 6-foot-5, 209-pound defenseman, Myers really impressed last training camp. He could be a dark horse in September to make the Flyers' roster. However, he'll likely be with the Phantoms, set for his first AHL season.
No. 57, Travis Sanheim — Everybody knows Sanheim by now, but he's still very well worth watching because we may see him with the Flyers at some point in 2017-18. He's a big (6-4/199), dexterous, offensive-minded defenseman the Flyers selected in the first round of the 2014 draft.
No. 79, Carter Hart — The guy many feel is the Flyers' goalie of the future, Hart was the top netminder taken in the 2016 draft. He turns 19 years old in August and had an excellent junior season in 2016-17.
More on some of these players right here, while the full roster is below:
4. The schedule
The development camp is free and open to the public.
Friday, Saturday and Sunday feature on-ice activities. Monday will be a day off the ice for the prospects, while Tuesday will see some 3-on-3 tournament action. Then, on Wednesday, development camp concludes with the annual Trial on the Isle in Stone Harbor, New Jersey.
Here is the full schedule with times:
5. The coaches
Player development coaches John Riley, Kjell Samuelsson, Brett Hextall and Brady Robinson will lead the camp.