Flyers

Final roster decisions loom after Flyers get blanked by Islanders

Flyers

In the final preseason audition for many players, the Flyers were blanked by the Islanders, 3-0, Tuesday night at Webster Bank Arena.

The Flyers surrendered goals to Anthony Beauvillier, Anders Lee and Josh Bailey. Beauvillier and Lee scored in the first period, while Bailey's goal came in the final 15 seconds of the game when New York had Martin Jones under siege on a power play.

Head coach Alain Vigneault shuffled his forward lines in the third period but the Flyers couldn't scratch across a goal.

The Flyers play one more exhibition game before the real thing begins Oct. 15 at the Wells Fargo Center.

• After sporting their full lineup last Saturday and playing Monday, the Flyers had a true preseason look Tuesday night. They suited up four regulars at forward in Scott Laughton, Derick Brassard, Nicolas Aube-Kubel and Nate Thompson, three of whom will likely open the regular season on the club's fourth line. Travis Sanheim, Rasmus Ristolainen and Justin Braun were the Flyers' regulars on defense.

"I really liked the chemistry that's forming between Risto and Travis Sanheim," Vigneault said postgame to reporters in Bridgeport, Connecticut. "You can see both of those guys are starting to read well off one another, making some good plays on breakouts, doing a good job defensively. So there were a lot of things that came out of tonight's game that maybe a lot of people won't notice but the coaching staff did. Now we'll go home and make a few decisions for tomorrow."

 

The club continued its evaluation of the roster hopefuls and prospects trying to make an impression for a future call-up. Earlier in the day, the Flyers trimmed their roster by nine players. Excluding the club's injured players, the Flyers' camp roster is currently at 34. It's expected to be whittled down again Wednesday to nearly the finished product. In his pregame media availability with reporters at Webster Bank Arena, Vigneault said the Flyers will be between 22 to 24 players by their practice Thursday.

The Flyers must be at a maximum of 23 by the regular-season opener and may carry only 22 (one extra forward, one extra defensemen) for salary cap reasons.

• Jones, the Flyers' 31-year-old backup netminder, hung in there and gave the Flyers a chance. He finished with 27 saves.

Beauvillier's goal came on the power play. Jones made an impressive stop just seconds before Lee's goal, which was the only even-strength tally on the night.

New York rolled out many of its best players, including Mathew Barzal, Brock Nelson and the 44-year-old Zdeno Chara, who signed with the Islanders over two weeks ago.

In three exhibition games, Jones has allowed seven goals on 63 shots faced. Two of his preseason appearances have been stiff tune-ups against the Bruins' regulars at TD Garden five days ago and the Islanders' regulars tonight at Webster Bank Arena. In both games, the Flyers had a preseason mix and were at a clear NHL talent disadvantage.

New York netminder Cory Schneider delivered a 24-save shutout.

• Connor Bunnaman, who is aiming to make the Flyers' roster, started the game on a line with Thompson and Aube-Kubel. He played well Monday night and didn't do anything to hurt his chances Tuesday night.

The 23-year-old sure looks like the favorite to open the regular season as the club's 13th forward and push for playing time. He's got quality size and positional flexibility. Vigneault trusted him to play four games in the 2020 playoffs.

• Among those battling for the seventh defenseman job, Nick Seeler played a tough game and blocked a hard shot. He's shown plenty of qualities that teams look for in an extra defenseman.

And right now, the Flyers want Cam York playing big minutes at AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley.

Adam Clendening has not had as noticeable of a preseason compared to Seeler. He's a smaller, puck-moving type of defenseman, whereas Seeler has greater size and more NHL experience. Seeler played 71 games in 2018-19 for the Wild, while Clendening has appeared in 40 NHL games over the last five seasons.

York, one of the club's top prospects, played alongside Braun. Both were on the ice for Lee's goal.

York very well could be the next man up on the blue line if the Flyers are hit by an injury and need help for an extended stretch. He'll be pushing with the Phantoms.

• Tyson Foerster has gone scoreless in three preseason games. He turned heads in rookie camp and is climbing faster than many anticipated, but he's only 19 years old and has further development time in store at AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley.

 

Isaac Ratcliffe had a couple of shots on goal. He also has an important year ahead with Lehigh Valley.

• Aube-Kubel, whose had a strong preseason, committed a pair of penalties but played a solid, forecheck-oriented game. He'll have to continue to search for that balance between overaggressive and hard to play against.

• After a day off Wednesday, the Flyers practice Thursday in Voorhees, New Jersey, before wrapping up their preseason schedule Friday when they visit the Capitals (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

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