Flyers

Flyers' Samuel Morin the latest reminder of be ready for 2019-20

Flyers' Samuel Morin the latest reminder of be ready for 2019-20

VOORHEES, N.J. — Samuel Morin thought he was in for another morning of extra preparation. He had gotten pretty used to those types of days in the arduous recovery from a torn ACL suffered on May 9, 2018.

When he rolled into Flyers Skate Zone Wednesday, he finally heard the sweet sound of "you're playing."

"I wasn't even ready for it," Morin said with a smile after morning skate. "I was driving here, having a normal day, not playing, getting ready to bag skate, having a cup of coffee and some rumor was going around the room that I was playing and I was like, 'What the hell?'"

Apparently the news of Morin entering the lineup Wednesday night against the Maple Leafs couldn't be contained with all the excitement for the 6-foot-7 defenseman. Morin hasn't played an NHL game since Nov. 24, 2017. He played just 15 regular-season games last season with the Phantoms because of several lower-body injuries before tearing his ACL in the AHL playoffs.

On Wednesday, Morin tried getting assistant coach Kris Knoblauch to spill the beans.

"On the ice, I went to Knobber, 'Am I playing?'" Morin said. "He wouldn't tell me. I kind of figured it out and was surprised. I was happy and I got a good night of sleep last night, too."

Flyers interim head coach Scott Gordon was happy to tell Morin the not-so-breaking news.

"[The coaches] talked about it at length [Tuesday] and he already knew before I told him," Gordon said. "Maybe the joke was on me, right?

"It's been a long road back for him. It's great that he's able to get in, all the hard work that he's put into it, to be able to get rewarded and play some games this year just to ease the burden of having not played for most of the year and get ready for training camp."

The key words there are "get ready."

There's already anticipation for 2019-20 with the Flyers on the brink of elimination from this season's playoff race (see story). There will be competition among the defensemen. Philippe Myers is here and looks primed for a full-time role. Now, Morin is about to see his chance as the focus starts to shift to next season, an important one for the Flyers, who haven't missed the playoffs in consecutive years since the 1992-93 and 1993-94 campaigns.

So while the final six games on the Flyers' schedule equate to little for 2018-19, they mean a ton for Morin and next season's picture.

"This month, it was me alone on the ice and skating," Morin said. "That was really hard, that was the hardest part I think, being alone out there and guys are playing. Me, I just had to be ready, I was trying to keep a smile on my face. It was not easy. At the end, I was like, 'Can I play a game?' But you wake up in the morning, put a smile on your face and don't try to show it. Have fun.

"My year last year was pretty hard mentally. You make the squad at the beginning of the year and you get sent down after a really good camp. Playing really well down there, then bad luck after bad luck after bad luck. It was just a tough year last year and then it transitioned into this year because of my knee. I'm healthy and ready to go back into it."

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2019 NHL draft profile: Flyers like 'unique' winger Matthew Boldy as No. 11 option

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Rena Laverty/USA Hockey

2019 NHL draft profile: Flyers like 'unique' winger Matthew Boldy as No. 11 option

The 2019 NHL entry draft is Friday and Saturday in Vancouver, British Columbia. General manager Chuck Fletcher, assistant general manager Brent Flahr and the Flyers hold the 11th overall pick and nine selections in total.

"This draft's a little unique," Flahr said last week. "Especially in the top 15, there are a number of different types of players, which is interesting — some power wingers, some smaller scoring wingers, some centermen, there's a number of D, a goaltender.

"We've identified probably five or six guys that we think have a chance to be there at 11 and probably some of the other teams in front of us will dictate that. But we're really confident we're going to get a good player."

This week, we will break down options for the Flyers at No. 11.

Matthew Boldy

Position: Left winger
Height: 6-foot-2
Weight: 196
Shoots: Left
Team: USNTDP

Scouting report

Last summer, the Flyers drafted two players (Joel Farabee, Gavin Hain) out of the U.S. national team development program. It wouldn't be surprising if they select another USNTDP product, given the program could see seven players go in the first round.

Boldy is intriguing because of superb scoring touch to complement his size.

"He's a unique guy — power forward with really good hands and can shoot," Flahr said. "He maybe played a bit of a lesser role than he normally would because of the depth of that team. A talented guy, certainly a guy that we like and other teams do, as well."

The Boston College commit is sly in the way he scores and put up 81 points (33 goals, 48 assists) over 64 games. He is the fifth-ranked player in the draft by TSN's Craig Button, while TSN's Bob McKenzie rated Boldy at No. 11, right where the Flyers are slotted.

Fit with Flyers

To have goal-scoring wingers like Farabee and Boldy in the system would be awfully exciting for the Flyers.

It seems like Boldy, a prospect the Flyers have probably seen a ton, could go anywhere from fifth to 12th. He has the potential to be a top-six forward and would only add to the Flyers' depth at the position. The organization is still somewhat slim on the wing.

"You're always going for the upside in the first round and finding the most talented player that you can, regardless of position," Fletcher said. "And whoever you think has the highest upside is who you are trying to land. And as Brent mentioned at 11, I think somebody will fall to us.

"Most teams probably have a consensus on who the top two players are. After that, I think from three to 15, it will be a lot of the same names, but teams will have them ordered differently, and I think that bodes well for us."

More on the 2019 NHL draft

• Flyers take one of draft's best D-men in this 1st-round mock

Trading No. 11 pick? Draft dynamic? That and more here

• Impressive playmaking center Krebs could be there for Flyers at No. 11

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

2019 NHL draft profile: Peyton Krebs, an impressive center Flyers should like

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Robert Murray/WHL

2019 NHL draft profile: Peyton Krebs, an impressive center Flyers should like

The 2019 NHL entry draft is Friday and Saturday in Vancouver, British Columbia. General manager Chuck Fletcher, assistant general manager Brent Flahr and the Flyers hold the 11th overall pick and nine selections in total.

"This draft's a little unique," Flahr said last week. "Especially in the top 15, there are a number of different types of players, which is interesting — some power wingers, some smaller scoring wingers, some centermen, there's a number of D, a goaltender.

"We've identified probably five or six guys that we think have a chance to be there at 11 and probably some of the other teams in front of us will dictate that. But we're really confident we're going to get a good player."

This week, we will break down options for the Flyers at No. 11.

Peyton Krebs

Position: Center
Height: 6-foot
Weight: 183
Shoots: Left
Team: Winnipeg ICE

Scouting report

If Krebs was on a more competitive junior team in 2018-19, his offensive production could have been through the roof. He scored 68 points (19 goals, 49 assists) over 64 regular-season games for the ICE, who went 13-45-10 in the WHL.

Krebs is an elusive and intelligent playmaker. With top talent around him, he scored 10 points (six goals, four assists) in seven games for Canada during the U-18 IIHF World Junior Championship.

He has a little bit of Sean Couturier in him with the way he thinks and plays the game. Interestingly, his ICE head coach is James Patrick, the uncle of Flyers center Nolan Patrick.

One caveat for now is that Krebs suffered a partial tear of his Achilles this offseason.

"It's unfortunate, but he's an unbelievable kid character-wise, drive," Flahr said. "He'll miss some time but he's young, he'll heal fully. I don't think it's going to drop him too far in the draft. We'll know more about it as we get closer to the draft. 

"Basically what I've been told is he's going to miss the summer. It's not ideal, but at the same time, he's going to get back to where he was."

Fit with Flyers

Flahr talked about how difficult it is to find true centers at the age of 18. The Flyers, like so many other NHL teams, are always looking to build depth at center.

"It's a hard position, you have to be smart," Flahr said. "Not only skill and vision, but you have to be responsible in the back end, be able to play a 200-foot game and be trusted by your coaches.

"It's a must-have position and it takes a long time for players to learn to play correctly. There are very few Crosbys that can come in the league and play that way."

The Flyers went center early in the 2016 and 2017 drafts. Krebs would be a fine pick if he's available. Many have him in the Nos. 9-12 range. He could fall with the injury and if he's up for grabs at No. 11, the Flyers will likely be interested.

"Centermen are hard to get and if they're there, typically they don't last very long in the first round, the top ones anyway," Flahr said.

More on the 2019 NHL draft

• Flyers take one of draft's best D-men in this 1st-round mock

Trading No. 11 pick? Draft dynamic? That and more here

Flyers like 'unique' winger Boldy as option for No. 11 overall pick

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.