Let the (rookie) games begin.
After a pair of on-ice days at Virtua Center Flyers Skate Zone, the Flyers' rookies head to Tarrytown, New York, to take on the Rangers' prospects Saturday at 3 p.m. ET. Flyers rookie camp will then conclude Sunday with a second matchup against the Rangers, this one in Voorhees, New Jersey, at 5 p.m. ET.
We'll get into that and more with five observations after the second day of rookie camp.
Don't forget the name
Camp invite Jon-Randall Avon has had impressive flashes. The center prospect, who just turned 18 years old in July, can get up and down the ice to make plays. The scoring ability is evident in the undrafted product.
In one sequence Friday, Avon scored on a nice shot and then finished the net-front part of the drill by sending a through-the-legs pass to his teammate for a goal at the doorstep. Flyers development coach John Riley gave Avon a couple of pats on the backside following the offensive plays.
The 6-foot, 181-pound Avon is hoping to parlay his invite into an entry-level deal.
"The contract's definitely the goal," he said Thursday. "I've got a lot of speed, I can make plays, so I just want to show that I can play in the NHL."
Avon said the experience around the Flyers' pros and prospects has been "amazing."
"They go hard," he said. "They go really hard. Every day we go hard to the whistle and it's been great."
Avon had his 2020-21 OHL season canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. He'll be a teammate of Flyers prospect Brian Zanetti this season with the Peterborough Petes.
Future meets the present
Cam York is striving to be a minutes-eating defenseman for the Flyers one day.
He's enjoyed the exposure around the Flyers' top blueliners, two guys who welcome all situations.
York got to see Ivan Provorov up close last season in his three-game audition.
"He's just like a calm guy," the Flyers' 2019 first-round pick said Friday. "On the ice, obviously he's really skilled and really good, but off the ice, he's just mellow and just like everybody else pretty much, so that was really cool to see. Not just Provy; all the guys were pretty calm, and for a young, 20-year-old to see that is pretty cool."
Prior to rookie camp, York skated a few times with some of the Flyers' big club guys, including offseason acquisition Ryan Ellis.
"Obviously a great player but even a better guy off the ice," York said.
Following general manager Chuck Fletcher's active offseason, York has a steeper climb to the team's roster. But he'll be pushing for the Flyers in training camp and that's what the front office wants him to do.
"They made a lot of veteran acquisitions this offseason and made things a little bit tougher for me, for sure, but I'm a confident player, I feel like I can crack this lineup," York said. "I'm going to do everything I can to get myself in the lineup."
AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley head coach Ian Laperriere has liked how York hasn't gotten complacent after the 20-year-old made his NHL debut last season.
"He's a workhorse, I'll give him that — he does his work," Laperriere said Thursday. "Some kids would have went back home and felt comfortable; he didn’t do that. You can tell just by the way he skates, the way he’s engaged. ... He might have a surprising camp, too."
Jackson Cates and Linus Sandin are two forwards that may not be as offensively gifted as some of the top prospects in camp but they consistently play the right way, a pro style that fits the Alain Vigneault mold.
They are two of the best forecheckers in camp and get after it defensively to create offense.
Cates turns 24 years old this month and Sandin turned 25 this summer. Both are entering contract years and could be right up there for when the Flyers are needing help depth-wise because the two are sound in all zones.
During a drill Friday, Sandin scored on a sharp shot off a feed from Morgan Frost.
Rundown on rookie games
Goalies Kirill Ustimenko and Samuel Ersson will play half of each rookie game. Ustimenko will start Saturday in New York. You can live stream Saturday's game right here.
Tanner Laczynski (hip surgery in April) is going to play in one of the two games. He has been cleared for contact and will be a full participant in main training camp.
Prepping for the real thing
The big club had another on-ice workout Friday led by skills coach Angelo Ricci and goaltending coach Kim Dillabaugh.
Twenty-three players took part:
- Carter Hart
- Felix Sandstrom
- Max Willman
- Oskar Lindblom
- Elliot Desnoyers
- German Rubtsov
- Joel Farabee
- Ryan Ellis
- Connor Bunnaman
- Rasmus Ristolainen
- Justin Braun
- James van Riemsdyk
- Cam Atkinson
- Kevin Hayes
- Nicolas Aube-Kubel
- Claude Giroux
- Scott Laughton
- Travis Konecny
- Travis Sanheim
- Keith Yandle
- Derick Brassard
- Nate Thompson
- Adam Clendening
The Flyers' big camp opens next Wednesday with media day at the Wells Fargo Center. The first on-ice practice will be held Thursday in Voorhees.
Subscribe to and rate Flyers Talk