The Flyers' roster is rounding into shape.
The team made seven cuts Tuesday, trimming its roster to 27 players (see story). The Flyers must be down to a maximum of 23 by 5 p.m. on Oct. 1.
When the Flyers submit their roster, don't fall in love with it. Right now, "It's just about getting ready for Prague," Chuck Fletcher said.
"We could even carry 20 or 21, we'll just have to see how the cap situation and how the math works out," the Flyers' general manager said on a conference call Tuesday. "I anticipate an awful lot of roster changes the first six weeks of the year. Our goal right now is to get a roster to play Chicago in Prague. When we get back, I'm sure there will be things we need to do as we move forward.
"There's not going to be any final roster, final cuts. There's going to be an ebb and flow of players between Philadelphia and Lehigh Valley for the early part of the season, depending on who we're playing, the health of our team, whether we need right shots or left shots, or wingers or centeremen."
The Flyers play two more preseason games — Thursday at the Rangers and Sept. 30 in Switzerland — before opening the regular season Oct. 4 against the Blackhawks in Prague, Czech Republic.
Who's trending up for the trip? Who's trending down? Let's take a look at the stock:
Twarynski is doing just about everything possible to win a job. Playing fourth-line minutes over the past two games, the 21-year-old delivered a pair of goals, nine shots and six hits.
The 2016 third-round pick has a year of pro experience under his belt, exemplifies bottom-six effort and is giving the Flyers exactly what they wanted — a difficult decision.
The one-and-done Boston University product survived Tuesday's cuts, which tells you how much the Flyers like the advanced 19-year-old. They clearly don't think he's far off and want to see him in another game.
Farabee, a point-producing winger, hasn't found the back of the net through three outings. However, he impacts the game when he's not scoring and can scale the lineup.
I'm not as concerned about Joel in the short term as I am in the long term. He's going to be a really good player in this league for a long time. What that means for a week from Friday, we'll see.
He's a real smart player. For a 19-year-old player, he's ahead of the curve with respect to awareness of the game away from the puck, his defensive understanding of the game. He's obviously a highly competitive kid, very intelligent kid. But it's a tough league for a 19-year-old player. What we do with Joel will be what's right for the team, but also what's right for him in the long run.
An under-the-radar performer through training camp and the preseason, Bunnaman is in the picture. Originally, the 21-year-old seemed destined to open 2019-20 in Lehigh Valley, but with the winger vacancy and the uncertainty surrounding the health of Nolan Patrick and Tyler Pitlick, he has a chance to help the Flyers.
The 2016 fourth-round pick scored 19 goals last season in his first year as a pro. He has some deceptive speed and power, which he showed here against Travis Sanheim.
Connor Bunnaman with some deceptive speed and finish. pic.twitter.com/LUv4DF11Tb— Jordan Hall (@JHallNBCS) September 15, 2019
Competing on a pro tryout, Stewart has been as advertised with his physicality and toughness. He has fought twice, stood up for teammates and accrued 14 penalty minutes.
Fletcher knows the 31-year-old winger from their time together in Minnesota, but the Flyers have better, younger, more skilled options for their bottom six. They have a chance to get deeper and won't have a problem with toughness if they're bigger and tougher to play against.
Let's be clear: Myers has not played poorly but more so unevenly. He was better Monday night compared to his previous game when Vigneault said, "I think he might be trying to do a little bit too much — he needs to be strong in his 1-on-1 battles and keeping his puck decisions at a high percentage."
It's not that Myers' stock is plummeting, but the organization was bullish on his upside entering camp and the 22-year-old defenseman may be in a closer competition for playing time (i.e. Robert Hagg) than I anticipated.
There's just a lot of unknown with Patrick (upper-body injury) as this was not the start anyone wanted for the 21-year-old center this season. While he has been skating and involved in team meetings, he hasn't experienced Vigneault's high-paced, system-oriented practices and his status for the season opener is in peril.
It's never good to miss the preseason. It's even more difficult when a new coaching staff is in place.
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