Elliot Desnoyers' audition with the big club has arrived, maybe a little earlier than expected.
If a team isn't fighting for the playoffs late in a season, it sometimes rewards deserving prospects with a taste of the NHL.
For Desnoyers, a 2020 fifth-round pick of the Flyers who works for everything, his reward is coming now in late February.
The 21-year-old forward will make his NHL debut Saturday night when the Flyers visit the Devils (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP). Travis Konecny was placed on injured reserve to open up a roster spot. The club's leading goal scorer and point man will miss a third straight game because of an upper-body injury.
The Flyers have lost 10 of their last 13 games (3-7-3) and could use some young energy.
Desnoyers is a smart player with positional versatility and a nonstop motor. In his first year of pro hockey, he has led AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley with 19 goals and 36 points over 48 games. Six of his goals have come on the power play and two at shorthanded.
"Elliot has had a really good start to his pro career," Flyers assistant general manager Brent Flahr said Thursday to NBC Sports Philadelphia. "He has played a big role down there and has maintained his level of play both offensively and defensively."
With time, Desnoyers (5-11/183) still has to gain more strength to play a full-time role in the NHL. However, his attention to details and work ethic have earned him a ton of respect among those around him with the Phantoms.
"Elliot has been a pleasure to coach," Lehigh Valley assistant coach Riley Armstrong said Thursday to NBC Sports Philadelphia. "A very mature player for his age, on and off the ice. I feel what separates him from his peers is how consistent he is each night. Yes, he has put up great numbers in his rookie season, which is a bonus; it’s how he prepares himself each day and his mindset when he comes to the rink."
Desnoyers understands the art of "willpower goals."
"He's got that drive that I love and every coach loves," Phantoms head coach Ian Laperriere said in September. "He's not the biggest guy but he plays big."
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