Flyers camp notes, quotes and tidbits: Jori Lehtera's move, sweet connection, more

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Flyers camp notes, quotes and tidbits: Jori Lehtera's move, sweet connection, more

VOORHEES, N.J. — It was around 7 a.m. in his native Finland when Jori Lehtera was woken up by his wife.
"She said, 'We're going to go to Philly,'" Lehtera recalled Saturday.
He had been traded to the Flyers.
"I was like, 'OK,'" Lehtera said. "And I kept sleeping."
No big deal, huh?
"I'm just kidding," he said with a laugh. "I started to Google the place."
This came during June when Lehtera was acquired by the Flyers on the night of the NHL draft in the deal that sent Brayden Schenn to the St. Louis Blues.
Lehtera, a 29-year-old center, now finds himself in Voorhees for his first training camp with the Flyers. And just like when he started researching Philadelphia, Lehtera is excited about his new beginning. Last season — his third with the Blues and in the NHL — the 2008 third-round pick set career lows across the board, scoring 22 points (seven goals, 15 assists) in 64 games for a minus-6 rating. He was also a healthy scratch in three of the team's 11 playoff games.
"The whole last year was frustrating," he said. "I'm really happy to get a fresh start here. Really excited."
Through two days of training camp, Lehtera has been paired on a line with fellow Finn Valtteri Filppula. The two are well-acquainted, having worked out together in previous summers. Lehtera and Filppula are two of many options the Flyers have at the center position. Should Lehtera have to play the wing, that's no problem he said.
"I've played winger before in the world cup, Olympics, world championships," he said. "I'm fine with that."

So what did he find out about Philadelphia on that Google search?
"It's a big city," he said.
Then Claude Giroux, at the locker stall right next to his new teammate, chimed in.
"Great media!" the Flyers' captain said with a huge smile.
Game time
Following two days of camp, the Flyers jump right into their preseason schedule with a 1 p.m. game Sunday against the New York Islanders at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.

As for who plays among the 57 players on the training camp roster will be announced Sunday morning, Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol said.
Per NHL rules, a club has to dress at least eight veterans for an exhibition game, while a first-round pick from the most recent year's entry draft can constitute as one.
Regardless, we'll find out the lineup Sunday morning. Expect more junior and AHL players than established NHLers, though, as early roster cuts could come as soon as Monday morning.
What does the preseason opener mean for Hakstol?
"We've barely touched on or talked about a system," he said. "It's not going to be about systems tomorrow, it'll be more so about individuals going out and playing to their strengths and doing that throughout the 60 minutes. We're coming off a couple of real hard days. I would expect at some point in time — we might get a little low on energy at some point in time in the 60 minutes. I'm not concerned with that. I want to see guys that are able to rise above that a little bit, continue to think the game well and play hard and play intelligent."
Captain to kid
The morning session with the first group provided an exciting sequence between Giroux and anticipated prospect Oskar Lindblom.
In a 2-on-2 drill, Giroux slipped a pretty pass through traffic to Lindblom, who skillfully deflected it home for a goal. The play just so happened to occur on the south end of the rink where fans are allowed to watch along the glass.
Fans packed Flyers Skate Zone at 9:15 a.m. for festivities and to watch practice.
They certainly took delight in the Giroux-Lindblom connection.
Back together?
It appears Dean Lombardi is reuniting with Ron Hextall.
The Flyers have hired the ex-general manager, according to a report Saturday by The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun. In what function he'll serve Hextall has not yet been reported.
Hextall was Lombardi's assistant GM when the Los Angeles Kings won the Stanley Cup in 2012. The Kings, who also won the Cup under Lombardi's watch in 2014, fired the 59-year-old in April.
Lombardi was a scout for the Flyers from 2003 to 2006.
Patrick's line
Like Day 1, No. 2 overall pick Nolan Patrick was paired with Jordan Weal and Wayne Simmonds.
The Flyers clearly want to see how Patrick and Lindblom fare with NHL talent as the organization's two biggest roster hopefuls in camp.
Weal has been impressive with his speed and puck-handling. Once he gets a head of steam, he makes things happen.
He has also been impressed by Patrick.
"He's a smart player, you can tell right away," Weal said. "He's calm in the middle of the ice. It's nice to have a guy like that that has a good presence in there and is calm with the puck and can make plays out to the wingers. It's the first couple of days, so we're just starting to get to know to each other and I think it's just going to keep on getting better from here."
Hard to believe Patrick turns just 19 Tuesday?
"They're getting younger and younger, you know?" Weal said. "It's pretty crazy. He's a talented kid and it'll be nice if we can get to play together a little more moving forward."
Crushin' Cole
Forward prospect Cole Bardreau seemed to hit just about everything in sight Saturday.
Bardeau is only 5-foot-10 but 194 pounds and fearless physically. Playing in the first group, he bulldozed Mark Friedman (5-10/192) — an energy guy himself — in front of the net and sent Ivan Kosorenkov (5-10/187) hard into the boards shortly thereafter.
The all-out style is Bardreau's calling card.

"It's part of who he is as a player, he's in the middle of everything," Hakstol said. "In the first couple of days, he's certainly a guy that is trying to take advantage of every opportunity. There's no part-time to what he's done so far in the first couple of days. And I guess I would expect that out of him. He's an energy-type player, he plays the game in your face. He did that all last year when he was in the lineup in Lehigh. He's continued to do that here early this week."
The 24-year-old will more than likely start 2017-18 with AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley and provide that edge in hopes of being a depth option for the Flyers if needed.
Injury note
Forward prospect Pascal Laberge, who left Friday's morning practice early to be examined by a doctor for an undisclosed issue, is fine and was back on the ice Saturday.
He played alongside prospects German Rubtsov and Kosorenkov.
"It felt good, the second practice of the main camp, we had a good pace out there and I think we worked well," Laberge said. "It was fun.
"They're Russian players, they have a lot of skills, I think I can bring skills, too. We have a great line out there and hopefully, we can play together tomorrow or later in the camp."
"Your first goal is always to make the playoffs and then you go from there. I think our division is tough, but at the same time, our team, we're molding as a good team pretty quick here. Having those young guys come in and make a difference for us right away, I think it's going to make us a pretty dangerous team."
- Claude Giroux
"It's really intense, a lot is concentrated on the D joining the rush and scoring. It's the first two days, I'm sure they have their reasons for certain drills. We just have to trust the process, go out there and do what they're asking us to do. The first couple days haven't been really goalie-friendly, let's just say that. The D drills will come out soon and we'll be sorting out defensive-zone coverages and things like that."
- Brian Elliott
Group lines, pairings and goalies
They were nearly identical to Day 1.
Oskar Lindblom-Claude Giroux-Travis Konecny
Jori Lehtera-Valtteri Filppula-Nicolas Aube-Kubel
Taylor Leier-Mikhail Vorobyev-Colin McDonald
Pascal Laberge/Anthony Salinitri-German Rubtsov-Ivan Kosorenkov
Greg Carey-Corban Knight-Cole Bardreau
Ivan Provorov-Travis Sanheim
Sam Morin-Andrew MacDonald    
Will O'Neill-Mark Alt
Maxim Lamarche-Mark Friedman
Brian Elliott    
Alex Lyon    
John Muse
Dale Weise-Sean Couturier-Jakub Voracek
Jordan Weal-Nolan Patrick-Wayne Simmonds
Michael Raffl-Scott Laughton-Matt Read
Connor Bunnaman/Carsen Twarynski-Phil Varone-Mike Vecchione
Tyrell Goulbourne-Radel Fazleev-Danick Martel
Robert Hagg-Shayne Gostisbehere
T.J. Brennan-Radko Gudas
Brandon Manning-Phil Myers
Frank Hora-Reece Wilcox/James de Haas
Michal Neuvirth
Carter Hart
Leland Irving

Ivan Provorov played Game 6 with a Grade 3 AC separation

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Ivan Provorov played Game 6 with a Grade 3 AC separation

VOORHEES, N.J. — Ivan Provorov revealed Wednesday he played his final postseason game with a Grade 3 AC separation — an injury in which the collarbone separates from the shoulder blade.

Provorov will not require surgery but will need eight weeks to properly heal. The Flyers’ No. 1 defenseman was given medical clearance to play and was injected with a number of pain-numbing shots prior to Game 6, but ultimately the severity of the injury was too much to overcome.

“It was really frustrating going down in the third period, where I was starting to lose the feeling in my arm,” Provorov said. “I lost the puck a bunch of times and turned it over. As a competitor, it’s hard not to be out there and not try to do everything to help the team win.”

Provorov’s injury is the same Grade 3 separation that Redskins tight end Jordan Reed suffered in 2016. Reed sat out two weeks of the regular season before returning to action against the Eagles. Provorov was back on the ice two days after his injury.

As physically impaired as he was, Provorov was just as visibly emotional on the bench when it was inevitable the Flyers would be eliminated.

“Yeah, it definitely still hurts,” Provorov said. “I hate losing, what can I say.

“I think we can come back strong next year and keep growing as a team, and try and become a better team than we were this year and do better in the playoffs.”

Provorov increased his point total from 30 in his rookie season to 41 during his sophomore campaign, while nearly tripling his goal production from six goals to 17, as well as drastically improving his plus/minus rating from a minus-6 to a plus-17.

“I think I had a pretty good year," Provorov said. "Three, four or five games this year where I didn’t play like myself. It wasn’t because I wasn’t mentally prepared or did anything like that. Sometimes it happens. I think I’ve improved since last year and I’m a better player than I was a year ago and a better player now than I was at the start of the year.”

Provorov’s durability and resiliency have already set him apart. He has yet to miss a game in his two-year Flyers career and is the current franchise record holder with 164 consecutive games to start a career.

Provorov’s injury will not derail his rigorous offseason conditioning program that he’ll start in July. 

He’ll also be entering the final season of his three-year entry-level contract. The Flyers will have the option of extending Provorov’s contract starting this summer.

Flyers' focus shifts toward another busy NHL draft

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Flyers' focus shifts toward another busy NHL draft

With the Flyers' elimination from the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the team's third-round pick in the 2018 NHL draft was officially transferred over to the Red Wings.

What was originally a fourth-round selection in the acquisition of goaltender Petr Mrazek was upgraded to a third-rounder once Mrazek won five regular-season games and the Flyers qualified for the postseason.

The Flyers could potentially still owe the Red Wings a third-round pick in the 2019 NHL draft if Mrazek is re-signed. However, that seems unlikely with Brian Elliott and Michal Neuvirth already under contract for next season and Mrazek’s poor play over the final five weeks of the regular season.

In all likelihood, the Flyers will have the 19th overall pick in the June draft, which is scheduled for June 22-23 at American Airlines Center in Dallas. If the Blue Jackets are eliminated before the Eastern Conference Finals, then they will select 18th with the Flyers slotted in at the 19th selection.

Once again, Flyers general manager Ron Hextall will be watching intently during Saturday’s NHL draft lottery, where the Flyers could also acquire the St. Louis Blues' first-round selection.

The Flyers have a 95 percent chance of obtaining the Blues' first pick as compensation in the Brayden Schenn trade that was completed at last year’s draft in Chicago. 

The Blues' pick is top-10 protected, but they have only a five percent chance of moving into the top three — 1.5 percent for No. 1 overall, 1.7 for No. 2, 1.8 for No. 3, 91.8 for No. 14 and 3.2 for No. 15. So, either the Blues draft in the top three, they remain at 14 or fall back to 15.

However, as Hextall discovered just a year ago, anything is possible.

Last year, the Flyers made the monumental leap from the 13th-worst record in the league to obtaining the second overall pick — a lottery move that had just a 2.4 percent chance of falling in their favor. With that selection, the Flyers chose Nolan Patrick.

Swedish defenseman Rasmus Dahlin is the consensus No. 1 pick in this year’s draft and a future cornerstone blueliner. 

The NHL draft lottery is held in Toronto.