Flyers

Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier wow the prospects, roster talk and more from Flyers training camp

Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier wow the prospects, roster talk and more from Flyers training camp

VOORHEES, N.J. — Flyers head coach Alain Vigneault continued to implement his systems during another upbeat, on-the-move practice for Day 2 of training camp.

"I liked both groups that came to work," Vigneault said. "The pace was good. There was no downtime." 

With that said, let's get into five observations from Saturday.

1. 'It's a different animal'

The Flyers gave prospects Morgan Frost and Isaac Ratcliffe an awfully tough challenge. In a large chunk of the 5-on-5 drills, Frost, Ratcliffe and Jakub Voracek went up against Claude Giroux, Sean Couturier and Joel Farabee.

Giroux and Couturier have often looked like they're on another level.

Frost and Ratcliffe haven't played a game of pro hockey yet.

I mentioned that to [assistant coach Ian Laperriere] when we were standing on the net there, I think I said, 'Those two kids are learning what the NHL pace is.'

I think for those two young men going against two elite players is a good thing. You just see the pace, you see the intensity. A couple of times, G on his backcheck stripped them of the puck. You see those guys never stop and are always moving.

- Vigneault

The Giroux-Couturier-Farabee line was with defensemen Ivan Provorov and Matt Niskanen. The group was dominant in the defensive zone.

"We're going up against Coots, G and Farabee," Voracek said. "It's a different animal, those three guys."

Good experience, nonetheless, for Frost and Ratcliffe.

2. Wingin' it with Hayes

Two forwards that could be in for big years are James van Riemsdyk and Oskar Lindblom.

JVR was with a new team last season, missed 16 games from Oct. 9 to Nov. 13, was slow to find his rhythm when he returned, played on different lines, for two different head coaches and still finished with 27 goals.

Lindblom saw his role fluctuate in 2018-19 and still finished sixth among NHL rookies with 17 goals.

Now you add more familiarity and — early on — a center like Kevin Hayes.

"I've liked that line, I've really liked the way Kevin Hayes has worked and sort of led his two linemates both with and without the puck," Vigneault said. "For us, we wanted to get a look at Oskar on the right side, we're probably going to try him there during exhibition. Being able to play more than one position is a bonus. I've liked that line, I've liked their work ethic and I've liked how they've competed so far."

Among the forwards, a lot can change with Nolan Patrick's injury, Travis Konecny's situation and roster battles. But van Riemsdyk, Hayes and Lindblom make up an intriguing group and we could see the trio Monday at the Wells Fargo Center.

3. Nisky and Provy

Niskanen is a steady guy.

It'll be interesting to see what level he brings at 32 years old after a Stanley Cup run in 2017-18 and a short offseason followed by a long 2018-19.

It will also be interesting to see what he can do for a player like Provorov. They've been paired together through the first two days of camp. Both can log heavy minutes and move the puck up ice. Provorov relied a lot on himself last season. Maybe Niskanen eases the burden a bit.

"Tons of experience, he's a great player," Provorov said Friday. "He's been in the league for a while, he's been on winning teams, he knows how to win."

4. Don't mark off Andreoff

Andy Andreoff might not be the most popular name for the Flyers' bottom-six competition but he's played well in camp and will be right in the conversation.

During Day 1, he had no problem being physical with Couturier and checking Provorov into the boards. He also brings some skill and scoring ability, which he showed Saturday.

The 28-year-old is on a one-way deal and scored 55 points (26 goals, 29 assists) with the AHL's Syracuse Crunch in 2018-19. Teams like depth guys with positional versatility, which Andreoff provides as he can play center or winger.

"He's a physical, competitive, team-oriented kind of guy," Flyers general manager Chuck Fletcher said Friday. "There are some different elements he brings. We will see how the preseason goes. We feel he's clearly a guy who can play."

5. A Hart blackout

Carter Hart was sharp in net Saturday as fans enjoyed watching behind the glass.

He was pretty sharp with his attire, too.


(Zack Hill/Philadelphia Flyers)

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Travis Konecny sets new career high as Flyers beat Blue Jackets to climb in NHL playoff race

Travis Konecny sets new career high as Flyers beat Blue Jackets to climb in NHL playoff race

BOX SCORE

The Flyers picked up a huge win in their playoff push with a 5-1 decision Tuesday night over the Blue Jackets at the Wells Fargo Center.

Kevin Hayes, Sean Couturier, Philippe Myers, Travis Konecny and Jakub Voracek all scored goals for the Flyers (33-20-7), who notched their 20th home win of 2019-20. They won only 19 games in Philly last season.

More impressively, the Flyers improved to 7-0-2 against the Capitals, Hurricanes and Blue Jackets. In 2018-19, they were 0-10-2 against those divisional foes.

Major improvements.

The Flyers also rebounded from another defeat as they haven't dropped consecutive outings since Jan. 4-7. In games after their last seven losses, the Flyers are 7-0-0 and have outscored the opposition 36-16.

The Blue Jackets (30-19-12) have allowed 15 goals to the Flyers through three matchups.

• Big, big win for the Flyers.

They’ve now jumped the Blue Jackets and Islanders to take over third place in the Metropolitan Division, although New York has two games in hand on the Flyers.

One of the more noticeable aspects of this win was the contributions from players who were not here in 2018-19. Hayes got things started, Myers (played only 21 games last season) was strong, Joel Farabee added two assists and Nicolas Aube-Kubel was reliable yet again.

• Thanks to a goal and two assists, Konecny set a new career high in points as he now has 51.

There are 22 games left in the Flyers’ season and the 22-year-old forward has already delivered in the first year of his six-year, $33 million deal.

• An impressive franchise record for captain Claude Giroux.

• Carter Hart improved to 15-2-2 with a 1.62 goals-against average at home.

Columbus goalie Elvis Merzlikins, who came in leading the NHL with five shutouts, was pulled during the third period after allowing four goals on 12 shots.

• During the second period, everyone saw why there’s so much potential and excitement behind the Travis Sanheim-Myers defensive pairing.

Some serious size, skating and skill — and both are only 23 years old.

• The Flyers’ 200-foot forces set the tone.

During the first period, Hayes and Couturier jumped on the Blue Jackets, who were allowing the NHL's second-fewest goals per game at 2.45.

From a crazy angle, Hayes scored his 18th goal of the season. The 27-year-old center has a great chance to break his career high of 25 goals set in 2017-18.

Couturier might finish the season as the Flyers’ leading scorer. He has 48 points and a plus-27 rating over his last 50 games.

• The Flyers fly to Columbus Wednesday afternoon ahead of another matchup with the Blue Jackets Thursday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

The Flyers then play three straight games at home against teams not in playoff position — Jets on Saturday (1 p.m. ET/NBCSP), Sharks next Tuesday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP) and Rangers next Friday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

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NHL trade rumors: Jeff Carter, Flyers buzz is picking back up

NHL trade rumors: Jeff Carter, Flyers buzz is picking back up

The Jeff Carter-Flyers buzz is back.

It started humming in January when Carter and the Kings visited the Flyers. It picked back up Tuesday with the latest 31 Thoughts article from Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman, always a must-read.

Per Friedman:

It might come down to Nolan Patrick’s health, but I think Philadelphia is considering Jeff Carter.

That would not be terribly surprising, as we noted in January. The Kings are at the bottom of the Western Conference and selling with Monday's NHL trade deadline on the horizon. As they retool, being open to moving an older player like Carter would make sense. The 35-year-old has a cap hit of $5,272,727, according to CapFriendly.com, and is under contract for 2020-21 and 2021-22.

That is most significant as it relates to the possibility of the Flyers adding Carter for their playoff push. The Flyers have just over $2 million in cap space. Even with Los Angeles retaining 50 percent of Carter's cap hit, the Flyers would have to do some juggling. And then the fact that Carter has two more years left on his deal might make things less appealing for the Flyers.

However, there are reasons why the Flyers are probably peeking in at Carter's availability. The center is a two-time Stanley Cup champion, four-time 30-plus goal-scorer and understands the pressure of playing in Philly. Returning to the city during a playoff race would only rejuvenate Carter, who could help the Flyers' depth down the middle and be a positive influence on the team's younger bottom-six forwards. Not to mention the former Flyer has 17 goals this season and is projected to finish with 24.

The Flyers could interest the Kings with a prospect and/or a draft pick. But what would they be willing to give up from a prospect pool that will build the future? And how do they make it work for the roster moving forward?

Those are big questions for a 35-year-old center with a big contract.

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