VOORHEES, N.J. — Everyone saw the goal.
It was loud in appearance, sending the goalie's water bottle into the air like a geyser.
Ian Laperriere watched it at ice level. Alain Vigneault, his new assistant coach Darryl Williams and other members of the club's hockey operations personnel had an excellent view of it from the corner balcony above the net.
With a slew of the pro folks looking on Friday at Flyers rookie camp, Tyson Foerster buried the puck into the net like a pro.
A really good pro.
"Foerster," Laperriere said, "he's a hell of a talent.
"Did you see the goal he scored in the scrimmage there? Wow. Not too many kids can score that goal. The puck was there, the other guy, I don't remember, it was a defender, he had his stick there and [Foerster] just grabbed that puck and sniped it. He's a goal scorer. And you know what I like about him? He loves to score goals. We all do, which I didn't score many, but this kid just wants to score goals."
The outlook on where the 19-year-old will score goals this season appears open to three teams. With the 2020-21 OHL season canceled because of COVID-19, Foerster by default had the opportunity to gain a much earlier taste of the pro level. He played 24 games for AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley last season. And he fared impressively well, all while dealing with a shin fracture in February and suffering a shoulder injury in May. He still managed to score 17 points and finished second on the Phantoms with 10 goals.
Foerster can return to the OHL's Barrie Colts this season but he could be eligible to play for Lehigh Valley again. Given how he opened eyes last season and has done so at both development and rookie camp this month, another year of junior hockey is feeling less and less likely. Foerster himself isn't even counting out the Flyers.
"Nothing has been made clear yet but hopefully I can stay with the Flyers," he said Friday. "But if not, hopefully Lehigh Valley. Nothing has been made clear to me yet."
The 6-foot-2 Foerster appears slimmed down and more mature physically from when he was drafted in October 2020. He's still a kid but doesn't look like one as much.
"This summer was a big summer for me," he said. "I lost some fat and I feel great coming in, I feel a lot faster than I was last year. I'm ready to go for camp."
When the Flyers drafted him in the first round, some scouting outlets highlighted his skating as a weakness.
"People are talking about his skating," Laperriere, the first-year Phantoms head coach, said. "I don't see any problem with his skating."
Foerster said that has been his biggest area of growth since he was drafted. Now he wants to prove he can be counted on as an all-around player and not just a guy known for putting the puck in the back of the net.
"I think last year at the start, my defensive-zone coverage wasn't the best," Foerster said. "But I feel like coming down this season, I feel like it can be a lot better and that's what I hope to show."
On Friday, he showed everyone his greatest attribute, the greatest reason why his junior hockey days may be firmly in the past.
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