It's uncertain how many players will be permitted on the Flyers' roster during the NHL's 24-team return-to-play tournament. Rosters could expand to 28 players with an unlimited number of goalies but that determination is still being finalized by the NHL and NHLPA ahead of training camps (Phase 3), which are slated to begin July 10.
We gave our predictions for the Flyers' best lineup to open the tournament. As more players make their way back to Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees, New Jersey, for voluntary workouts (Phase 2), we're going to pick our top five reinforcements for head coach Alain Vigneault during the playoffs.
Let's get into it:
If the Flyers go into a mini scoring funk and are desperate for an injection of offense, Frost will be their best card to play.
The 21-year-old center is a lightning strike scorer because of his high-level skill and natural ability to make things happen. When Frost was called up to the big club in November for his NHL debut, he made a bang with two goals (his first being a filthy one) and three points over his opening two games.
Scott Laughton and Derek Grant are versatile players who can slide to the wing if the Flyers need a jolt down the middle from Frost.
Morgan Frost has skated a few times now at @FlyersSkateZone.— Jordan Hall (@JHallNBCS) July 1, 2020
His mom owns a gym in Aurora, Ontario. Frost was able to meet his trainer there (while practicing safe distance) and work out during some of the NHL pause.
(📷 by Flyers PR guru Zack Hill — not from today) pic.twitter.com/G0s4CrXVHW
Flyers training camp hasn't arrived yet, so we don't know how Vigneault will line up his defensive pairs and who will be the odd man out.
Say Robert Hagg and Philippe Myers get the nods over Gostisbehere, No. 53 might be the most talented seventh defenseman you'll find in the 24-team field.
Similar to Frost, Gostisbehere has the makings of a spark plug with the way he elusively transitions the puck. He endured a regular season to forget, playing in only two of the Flyers' final 26 games, but the guy isn't far removed from a 65-point 2017-18 campaign.
Not a bad club for Vigneault to have in his bag.
Although it's not a definite by any means, Thompson appears to be the forward that would come out to open a spot for James van Riemsdyk, who is now healthy after breaking his right index finger in March.
What makes the 35-year-old Thompson such quality insurance for the Flyers? The trade deadline acquisition owns 62 career playoff appearances, has played in an Eastern Conference Final and a Western Conference Final, can win faceoffs and help kill penalties.
"I think we have the team to do something special."— Jordan Hall (@JHallNBCS) June 25, 2020
- Nate Thompson, who has been to an Eastern Conference Final and Western Conference Final, on the Flyers
(📷 by Flyers PR guru Zack Hill) pic.twitter.com/SJmSOiFoTd
Bunnaman, who really caught the eye of the Flyers in camp and the preseason, did exactly what the club wanted from him as a fourth-line center when his number was called.
The 22-year-old rookie was smart, reliable and noticeable in limited minutes. He has good size (6-3/214), sneaky offensive ability and was a plus-7 in 21 games this season.
The only reason he was sent down to AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley in late February was because the Flyers gained the experience of Grant and Thompson at the deadline.
"Everything the league has told them to do to keep us safe, they're spot on. I feel safe every time I come to the rink. ... A perfect atmosphere for the situation we're in."— Jordan Hall (@JHallNBCS) June 30, 2020
- Connor Bunnaman on Phase 2 at @FlyersSkateZone
(📷 by Flyers PR guru Zack Hill) pic.twitter.com/KIqdKUCOEK
Another rookie, the 22-year-old Twarynski is a good winger to have at one's disposal because he plays an effort-based game.
If Vigneault needs him, he'll know exactly what he's getting in Twarynski, who exemplifies a bottom-six style and moves well for his size (6-2/206).
"I'm looking forward to it ... it's kind of a once-in-a-lifetime thing.— Jordan Hall (@JHallNBCS) June 30, 2020
"It'll be one we remember."
- Carsen Twarynski on 24-team tournament, playing in one hub city
(📷 by Flyers PR guru Zack Hill) pic.twitter.com/FOH3CF6Gkg
Don't forget ...
• Nolan Patrick, whose status is very much unknown for the 24-team tournament after the 21-year-old missed the regular season with a migraine disorder. However, if Patrick is able to join the picture, the Flyers would suddenly be a whole lot deeper.
• Alex Lyon, who is the Flyers' third goalie. If Carter Hart or Brian Elliott were to sustain any injuries, Lyon's importance would grow significantly.
• Mark Friedman, who could be the Flyers' eighth defenseman. Vigneault liked what he saw from Friedman during the 24-year-old's six games with the club.
• Andy Andreoff, who is a physical 29-year-old winger with 173 games of NHL experience.
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