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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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
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