Flyers training camp: 5 sleepers to watch

Flyers training camp: 5 sleepers to watch

We know about Ivan Provorov and Travis Konecny.

Everyone has the 19-year-old building blocks circled as the Flyers’ two biggest roster hopefuls entering 2016 training camp.

But could anyone surprise?

Let’s take a look at five sleepers, players whom may not make the roster out of camp but might impress and join the orange and back at some point this season.

Robert Hagg, D, 6-2/210, No. 48
The Swede may not provide the offensive jolt like his defensive counterparts, but Hagg is sound in his own zone and seasoned for 21 years old. He provides quality size, a mature build — which is a big checkmark with general manager Ron Hextall — and penalty-kill experience. With two seasons at AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley under his belt, as well as four Flyers development camps, the 2013 second-round pick feels ready. “Absolutely,” he said in July. “I don’t know the time, but hopefully I can get a shot this year, that’s my goal for the year. We will see.” The Flyers’ blue line is far from sacrosanct and injuries/moves happen. Hagg, knowing his role, may be one of the more NHL-ready prospects in which Hextall would feel comfortable calling up.

Roman Lyubimov, C, 6-2/207, No. 60
Lyubimov is not your average rookie, having played 185 career games in the KHL, where he also competed in 39 postseason contests. The Flyers signed him away from Russia on a one-year, two-way deal in July after the 24-year-old “really popped at the World Championships this past year,” according to Hextall. Lyubimov is a depth forward likely headed to the Phantoms, but he’s here to compete and will certainly have his chances throughout the season to make the Flyers.

Taylor Leier, LW, 5-11/177, No. 58
A 2012 fourth-round pick of the Flyers, Leier had a cup of coffee with the big club last season when he was called up for six games in November. The 22-year-old produced at the junior level and has two AHL seasons on his résumé, the last being a 20-goal, 29-assist campaign in which he led the Phantoms in power-play markers (10) and was second in points (49). His time could be coming soon. “[Hextall's] been saying patience, and Taylor is a perfect example of that,” Flyers assistant GM and director of player personnel Chris Pryor said to in July. “He has to grow as a pro and took a big step last year. He’s on the cusp from the AHL to playing in the NHL. Needs to get a little bigger.”

Tyrell Goulbourne, LW, 6-0/199, No. 56
Goulbourne brings feistiness to the ice and is a pest for opponents because of how hard he plays. Scoring isn’t his forte, but he can impact a penalty kill and brings an edge. The 22-year-old, a prototypical dirty-work player, made his presence felt in Wednesday’s prospect game against the Islanders. He’s likely a year away from the Flyers, but his style of game will have the team’s attention in Lehigh Valley.

Alex Lyon, G, 6-1/198, No. 49
The standout at Yale and the Flyers agreed to a contract for a reason after Lyon decided to forgo his senior year. The Flyers are high on the 23-year-old, who could climb the team’s goaltending depth chart. We’ve seen goalies get hurt and Lyon could be a dark-horse option for the club as a backup if he outcompetes Anthony Stolarz at Lehigh Valley. “He's very polished,” Hextall said in July. “We expect big things from him.” One thing is sure and that’s the Phantoms’ netminders will be fun to watch.

Flyers recall Matt Read from Phantoms

AP Images

Flyers recall Matt Read from Phantoms

Everyone's favorite Flyer is back.

That's right, the team has called up Matt Read from the Phantoms ahead of tonight's game vs. the Predators.

The addition puts the Flyers' roster at the max of 23. For now, Read is likely just an extra forward.

It makes sense to add Read, 31, over a young prospect. General manager Ron Hextall has repeatedly said he will not he will not call a prospect up if he will not get regular playing time. He reiterated as much today (see story). Read provides the Flyers with additional depth — and solid depth at that — but does not require playing time like a younger player would.

Wayne Simmonds, who exited Tuesday's win during the third period, looks slated to play tonight vs. Nashville so don't expect any changes in the lineup or for Read to play tonight, for that matter.

Flyers-Predators thoughts: Looking for best start since 2007-08

Flyers-Predators thoughts: Looking for best start since 2007-08

Flyers (4-2-0) vs. Predators (3-2-1)
7 p.m. on NBCSP, and the NBC Sports App; Pregame Live at 6:30

The Flyers felt like they let one go last week against the Nashville Predators.

They'll have a chance at a little redemption Thursday night as the Flyers welcome the defending Western Conference champions to the Wells Fargo Center.

It's Game 3 of the Flyers' five-game homestand, and Game 7 of the season.

Let's get into some thoughts before puck drop.

• The Flyers should be happy to see the Predators again so soon. Last time these teams met, the Flyers had a 5-4 lead turn into a crushing 6-5 loss over the final 1:17 of regulation. How it transpired was wild. The Flyers were done in by two penalties and a failed coach's challenge resulting in a third. A victory would have capped a season-opening four-game road trip at 3-1-0. Credit to the Flyers, though, for moving on and winning the first two games of their extended homestay.

• Speaking of which, the Flyers have been ultra impressive on the homestand thus far. In wins over the Capitals and Panthers, the Flyers have outscored their opponents by a combined 13-3. Claude Giroux has three goals and three assists, Shayne Gostisbehere a goal and four assists, Sean Couturier three goals and an assist, while the penalty kill has been strong (7 for 8) along with the goalies (Brian Elliott, 21 saves on 23 shots faced; Michal Neuvirth, 40 saves on 41 shots faced). The Flyers are seeing their potential when all key phases are executing.

• With a win over Nashville, the Flyers would improve to 3-0 at the Wells Fargo Center. The last time they won their first three home games was the 2007-08 season, when they started 6-0 on home ice. A victory would also mark the Flyers' best start through seven games since that same season, when the club opened 6-1-0. Giroux made his NHL debut during the 2007-08 campaign, playing a pair of games in February.

• A huge reason for the Flyers' early success is sustaining energy and skating from the second period to the final buzzer. In fact, it looks like the Flyers take it up notch after the first intermission. They've gotten stronger as the game wears on and the numbers show it. The Flyers have scored the NHL's most second-period goals with 12 and are outscoring the competition, 20-11, in the final two periods.

• It doesn't look like Predators center Nick Bonino (lower body) will play tonight while defenseman Ryan Ellis (knee surgery) remains out and on injured reserve. A player to watch is winger Filip Forsberg, who put up three points (two goals, one assist) in Nashville's 6-5 win over the Flyers last week. That game, which included the winning goal, kick-started a stretch of four markers and four assists in his last four contests. Also, Scott Hartnell is back in town tonight.

• Wayne Simmonds, who missed most of Tuesday's back end of the third period because of a lower-body injury, said Thursday that he's fine.

He's expected in the lineup, as is rookie defenseman Travis Sanheim, who was a healthy scratch the last two games.

And a roster note: Matt Read has been recalled from AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley, which was expected. The Flyers' roster is now at 23 and he'll be a routine extra.

Here is the Flyers' projected lineup:

Claude Giroux-Sean Couturier-Jakub Voracek
Jordan Weal-Valtteri Filppula-Wayne Simmonds
Dale Weise-Nolan Patrick-Travis Konecny
Taylor Leier-Scott Laughton-Michael Raffl

Ivan Provorov-Andrew MacDonald
Shayne Gostisbehere-Robert Hagg
Travis Sanheim-Radko Gudas

Michal Neuvirth
Brian Elliott

Scratches: Forwards Jori Lehtera and Matt Read, and defenseman Brandon Manning.