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2019 Flyers development camp: Roster, schedule and more

2019 Flyers development camp: Roster, schedule and more

The future will be prevalent this week at Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees, New Jersey, starting Tuesday through Saturday as the team holds its annual development camp.

Some of the organization's brightest and newest prospects will be in attendance, learning the fine details of how to be a pro with various drills and off-ice training.

Let's get you set for the 2019 edition with five things to know.

1. Development, not evaluation

It's time for the annual reminder: Flyers development camp is about providing the team's prospects with proper training habits — on and off the ice — to grow as players. The five-day session is not about Flyers coaches and officials analyzing the prospects for the purpose of evaluation and future roster construction.

The whole premise of camp is for it to be educational.

2. Keep your eyes peeled

While the Flyers won't be evaluating, there will be plenty to watch for fans. With each development camp, there is always a ton of talent on the ice with many future pros and some prospects on the NHL doorstep.

For example, last summer's development camp featured Carter Hart, Philippe Myers, Mikhail Vorobyev and Mark Friedman, all of whom played for the Flyers in 2018-19.

This year's crop of players features some of the organization's top prospects and a trio of forwards who could join the Flyers at some point in 2019-20.

3. Numbers to watch

There are two sheets of ice at Skate Zone that will oftentimes be used simultaneously throughout camp.

With 41 players listed on the camp roster, which includes newcomers to the organization, here are five players to watch:

No. 48, Morgan Frost — A can't-miss playmaking center who was ranked as the 13th-best prospect in hockey by ESPN's Chris Peters during March. Over his final two junior hockey seasons, Frost combined for 221 points (79 goals, 142 assists) and a plus-103 rating in 125 regular-season games with the OHL's Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (see story).

He'll be turning pro in 2019-20 and will be pushing for the Flyers during training camp. You'll want to keep an eye on him, especially when he's doing this:

No. 60, Joel Farabee — An advanced, quick-rising winger who needed just one year of college hockey before turning pro. Farabee, a strategic goal-scorer with a lot of skill, put up 17 goals and 36 points in 37 games with Boston University and was named the 2019 Tim Taylor Award winner for national Rookie of the Year.

"If he needs some seasoning in Lehigh, that happens with a lot of really strong prospects, but it also wouldn't surprise me when the Flyers have him in their opening night lineup next October," U.S. under-18 head coach John Wroblewski said to NBC Sports Philadelphia in late March (see story).

No. 76, Isaac Ratcliffe — Another goal-scoring winger, Ratcliffe is hard to miss, not only thanks to his 6-foot-6 frame, but also because of his superb hands and soft touch. The 2017 second-round pick scored 50 goals and 82 points in 65 regular-season games for the OHL's Guelph Storm before tacking on 30 more points (15 goals, 15 assists) in 24 playoff games (see story).

Just like Frost and Farabee, Ratcliffe is turning pro in 2019-20.

No. 45, Cam York — The Flyers' newest first-round pick, York will get his first taste of the organization. The defenseman does not lack skill or scoring ability. The Flyers watched York a lot before drafting him No. 14 overall last weekend.

"He's put up big numbers offensively," Flyers assistant general manager Brent Flahr said (see story). "He's a talented guy and projects to be a very good defenseman for a long time."

No. 54, Yegor Zamula — An under-the-radar defenseman who could have a Myers-like climb. Zamula is 6-foot-3, 176 pounds and had a promising 2018-19 season with 56 points (10 goals, 46 assists) in 61 regular-season games for the WHL's Calgary Hitmen. Here's how the Flyers found the undrafted product and signed him (see story).

Below is the full camp roster.


4. The schedule

The development camp is free and open to the public.

Fans can watch along the boards from certain areas or in the stands.

The 3-on-3 tournament has always been a fan-favorite event. A new wrinkle is the 5-on-5 scrimmage Saturday night, which should be fun.

Here is the full camp schedule (which is subject to change) with times. The sessions for goaltenders are 8:15-9:45 a.m. and 1-2:30 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday, 10:30-11:45 a.m. on Friday and 10-11:15 a.m. on Saturday.

5. The staff

The Flyers' player development coaches run camp, while general manager Chuck Fletcher and head coach Alain Vigneault will sure to be watching some of it.

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The Jakub Voracek balance doesn't have to be so complicated

The Jakub Voracek balance doesn't have to be so complicated

VOORHEES, N.J. — Jakub Voracek has the NHL’s seventh-most assists since the 2013-14 season.

His job description as a playmaker comes with a double-edged sword. Throughout his career, he has been tasked with creating offense. To do so, it requires pushing the envelope — taking risks, making bang-bang decisions and playing instinctually.

Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

When a facilitator like Voracek tries to make plays at a prolific clip, he’s bound to make mistakes. It’s no coincidence the year Voracek set career highs in assists (65) and points (85), he also had his most giveaways (65). That was 2017-18, the Flyers’ best season (42 wins, 98 points) since 2011-12, when the franchise last won a playoff series.

Voracek is in a new system with a new head coach. He and Alain Vigneault are still getting to know each other — from the player’s tendencies to the coach’s style. 

In the third game of the relationship, Voracek was demoted from the first line to the fourth unit during the third period and played his fewest minutes (14:30) since 2015-16. In the fifth game, Voracek climbed from the third line to the second unit alongside Kevin Hayes and Oskar Lindblom after scoring a goal during the first period. He ended up with two goals and an assist during the 6-3 loss to the Oilers, although his final two points came late in the third when the game was out of reach.

“That’s why I made that quick change after the first period where I put him with Haysey and Oskar,” Vigneault said Friday following practice. “I thought his first period was good. He had good vibes, good energy. He was protecting the puck well. For the most part, that for him was a step in the right direction.”

Ultimately, Voracek needs to be himself. The Flyers are better when he’s himself. Over the past five seasons, the Flyers went 59-18-10 when Voracek had a multi-point game. When he’s himself, he’s not overthinking, he’s playing freely — and, yes, he’s playing harder and smarter. Voracek understands there must be a balance between aggressiveness and conservativeness with his playmaking.

And he knows fans might struggle to grasp the intricacies of that balance.

Prior to his three-point effort against Edmonton, Voracek had gone scoreless through the first four games of the season for the first time in his career.

If I play good defense, nobody is going to see that because I don’t produce offensively. If I produce offensively and I still make a couple of mistakes, they’re going to say I’m sh---y defensively. It’s a no-win situation. 

But I think defensively, I was pretty good when you look at those games. But it’s not good enough for me and for the team. I expect more out of myself offensively. And that’s what it takes sometimes, you have to … not take chances, but you have to create more. Obviously with creating more, being on the puck more, there’s a bigger chance you’re going to f--- it up sometimes.

With me right now, I’m 30 years old, I think we’re focusing on helping the team to win the game. If it’s scoring goals, getting an assist, making a good defensive play, focusing on playing good defense — it doesn’t matter as long as we find a way to win.

Confidence often drives Voracek. An important play or big goal can lead to points in bunches from the winger. He has mentioned that word a lot in his time here. Vigneault, Voracek and the Flyers will have to find ways to boost confidence together.

“A lot of it has to do with confidence,” Voracek said. “If you go in, if you don’t produce and if you are careful, it’s hard to gain something. I could still end up with four of five points in the first four games, the chances were there — passing, couple of chances, but it didn’t. If it did, it would be a different story. If you get the goal, if you get an assist, that builds up your confidence little bit.

"Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t good [in those games], either. Especially during the seasons in the past, you can’t have four or five games and end up with one point [and say] your game could be at the top level.

"The funny thing is, when you play well, it’s easy to find the balance because you have confidence.”

As Voracek makes plays, he will also make mistakes.

Is it frustrating when the fans or media only see the mistakes?

“Obviously from upstairs, you see the different perspective of the ice,” Voracek said. “There are different lanes when you have the puck, you see different things. I got here the way I played before and the way I was, I think, doing the right things. But sometimes it’s hard to satisfy everybody, you know what I mean? Especially today, it’s really hard to satisfy everyone. It’s almost impossible in today’s society.”

That’s why Voracek just needs to be himself. There is no perfect balance.

Overthinking in search of it won’t help Voracek or the Flyers.

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Flyers loan Connor Bunnaman to Phantoms; is Nolan Patrick nearing a return?

Flyers loan Connor Bunnaman to Phantoms; is Nolan Patrick nearing a return?

Updated: 2:52 p.m.

VOORHEES, N.J. — The Flyers on Friday loaned forward Connor Bunnaman to AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley.

The move could mean center Nolan Patrick, who has been week to week with a migraine disorder, is nearing a return.

When Patrick does come back, there will be an odd man out of the lineup. Bunnaman, a 21-year-old rookie, was the likely candidate. Instead of having him sit and watch, the team signed veteran Chris Stewart, who can be the 13th forward, as Bunnaman continues his development with the Phantoms.

"We want the kid to play," Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault said after practice Friday. "I really think we’ve got a good, young player there. 

"He’s a 21-year-old player that got 19 goals last year in the American League, that’s pretty good. He needs to play, he needs to get some minutes, and then when he comes back here at some point, he’ll be a better player for us."

Stewart will play Saturday against the Stars at the Wells Fargo Center (7 p.m./NBCSP).

With Patrick not quite back yet, the Flyers could call up a forward from Lehigh Valley for some added offense. The candidates are Joel Farabee, German Rubtsov, Mikhail Vorobyev, Nicolas Aube-Kubel or possibly a veteran like Andy Andreoff. The Flyers currently have only 12 forwards and the roster is at 21 players. It can be at a maximum 23.

Patrick did more solo work Friday and took part in practice wearing a non-contact jersey.

"I see Nolan around, I really would tell you that when there’s feedback as far as where he is, I get it from our medical staff," Vigneault said. "I have been told that he’s been making some progress. Today I think was his longest practice, it was almost 30 minutes with us. So I think he’s on the right track."

The 21-year-old missed all of training camp and the preseason.

"We consulted a lot of different people and I think we feel we're in a good place medically," Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher said Sept. 26. "We'll hope for the best."

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