Hockey games begin to matter Thursday night, when the Flyers open the regular season on a quick two-game West Coast road trip beginning in Las Vegas against the Golden Knights.
Before the season begins, it’s time for our weekly check-in on the Flyers’ prospects playing in the AHL, overseas and at the junior ranks. College hockey is still a few weeks away.
• The Flyers on Sunday trimmed their roster down to 29 players, which essentially was 24 because of injuries. The final roster cut will be announced today, but Sunday’s batch was notable.
Among the cuts was Mark Friedman, who turned a lot of heads in training camp and preseason. A 2013 third-round draft pick, Friedman likely worked his way up as a potential call-up option.
Friedman was always a standout during his five development camps because of his compete level. In training camp and preseason, that competitiveness really translated well this year.
The 22-year-old played a steady game in the preseason and avoided mistakes. At times, he outplayed veterans and deserved to stick around as long as he did. He put himself on the map.
In his second professional season, Friedman will be one of the Phantoms’ top defensemen this season. He had 16 points in 65 games during his first campaign in Lehigh Valley last year.
He’s a right-handed shot who skates well and moves the puck. Against the Bruins Saturday, he made small but strong defensive plays and bailed out his partner, Philippe Myers, a few times.
If injuries start to hit the Flyers’ blue line this season, Friedman might be atop the list of in-house candidates to come up. He appears more ready to handle an NHL workload than Myers.
• After going undrafted in June, Yegor Zamula earned himself an entry-level contract with the Flyers during training camp. Calgary GM Jeff Chynoweth told NBC Sports Philadelphia last week that he was surprised Zamula went undrafted because “there's a huge upside with Yegor.”
Calgary is still searching for its first win after four games. Zamula has yet to record a point but has nine shots on net in three games with a minus-4 rating. Still, the 6-foot-3 defenseman is someone to track. The Flyers may have themselves another Myers.
• A pretty solid start to the season for Everett defenseman Wyatte Wylie, who has five points in four games with 14 shots on net. Wylie had a two-point game Saturday.
• Morgan Frost had a goal and an assist Friday but was pointless Saturday for the first time this season. He has five points in four games.
• Isaac Ratcliffe continued his strong start this weekend, potting three goals and five points. He had a three-point game Friday. He has three goals and five points so far this year.
• Matthew Strome picked up his first goal of the season Saturday in a two-point game, then an assist Sunday.