Flyers

Predictions for who wins Flyers' 3rd-line roster spot in 2019-20

Predictions for who wins Flyers' 3rd-line roster spot in 2019-20

Going End to End today are NBC Sports Philadelphia's Jordan Hall and Brooke Destra.

The topic: Predicting who wins the Flyers' third-line winger job.

Hall

It's Aug. 3 and a lot can change from now until the Oct. 4 season opener in Prague, Czech Republic. Training camp and preseason will dictate who wins the third-line winger job.

Last season, the Flyers had an opening at third-line center. Prospect Mikhail Vorobyev was so good during the preseason that he won the job outright. Seven games and four healthy scratches into the regular season, he was sent to AHL affiliate Lehigh Valley. Yes, things can change drastically and quickly in the NHL.

There's a big group of players vying to fill the Flyers' third-line vacancy. The competition should feature Vorobyev, Joel Farabee, Morgan Frost, Isaac Ratcliffe, German Rubtsov, Carsen Twarynski, Nicolas Aube-Kubel, Andy Andreoff, Kurtis Gabriel and Chris Stewart.

The 21-year-old Rubtsov is a sleeper because of his NHL size, positional versatility and defensive principles that all play well in a bottom-six role.

"Our coaches, they like a lot of things that he brings," Flyers assistant general manager Brent Flahr said in June.

Right now, though, my gut tells me Farabee will earn the gig, despite the 19-year-old having no pro experience and coming off just one year of college hockey. The 2018 first-round pick fits what the Flyers should want out of a third-line winger. He's smart, he's situational, he's skilled, he's quick, he scores and he's stronger than what some may think about the 6-foot-1, 175-pounder. 

If there are bumps along the road, the Flyers have insurance plans.

But the new regime wants this team to allow fewer goals, be tougher to play against and have improved scoring depth. Farabee's strengths can help in those areas. Plenty of hockey people have said that, too.

Destra

Since Flyers development camp wrapped in late June, there’s been one player who has stood out among the rest and should be listed on the roster for the season opener in the Czech Republic.

Joel Farabee.

He left his college career behind with just one season at Boston University under his belt by signing his entry-level contract in March. During his freshman season, he played 37 games and ended with 36 points (17 goals, 19 assists).

When watching him in drills alongside the many other prospects in the system, Farabee looked like he was on a different wavelength — a man among boys when it came to his overall game.

If the only concern is his weight heading into training camp come September, it shouldn’t restrict him from getting a serious look for the open slot. Since this is the position he most often plays and is most comfortable with, he may have an easier time transitioning to pro than other current prospects that may get a look, as well.

As the offseason continues, the buzz around Farabee has been everywhere, especially with his performance in the 2019 World Junior Summer Showcase (see story).

A possible third line could consist of players all 23 years old or younger (Oskar Lindblom-Nolan Patrick-Farabee). Now, while that is a young line, the budding chemistry of Lindblom and Patrick in addition to Farabee’s skill set could make up one of the more solid bottom-six lines around the league.

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Future Flyers Report: Egor Zamula continues to make a name for himself, Jay O'Brien dominating the BCHL

Future Flyers Report: Egor Zamula continues to make a name for himself, Jay O'Brien dominating the BCHL

Another week of hockey has come and gone, so it's time for another check-in on the Flyers’ prospects playing in the AHL, overseas and at the junior and college levels.

• Things were quiet for defenseman Egor Zamula last week, but he made sure to turn up the volume heading into the next one. 

Zamula added another two goals, giving him an impressive 17 points on the season. He ranks second in points with the Calgary Hitmen and first in assists with 11.

It is also worth noting that Zamula is first among defensemen in plus-minus with a plus-18. This also puts him as fourth-best in the league.

This is a pretty impressive and rather rare sight to see a player who went undrafted find so much success. The Flyers have lucked out in recent years with finding two undrafted defensemen that have quickly made names for themselves — Zamula being one and Philippe Myers the other. If his upside is as great as it's projected to be, talk about another steal and even more depth at the blue line.

Jay O'Brien continues to flourish in the BCHL. In three games with the Penticton Vees this past week, O'Brien tallied six points (three goals, three assists).

In addition to that, he also extended his point streak to eight games. He now has 35 points (14 goals, 21 assists) through 23 games. Only two other players in the league — Kent Johnson and Michael Colella, who both play for the Trail Smoke Eaters — have more points.

The Vees also announced on Nov. 7 that O'Brien was their first ever player of the month for the month of October.


Quick hits

• It was another weekend of racking up points for Morgan Frost. He had a two-assist night on Saturday and also scored his fifth goal of the season on Sunday. He now has 12 points in 13 games.

It's also important to note the assist on Frost's goal came from Maksim Sushko. It was Sushko's only point of the weekend, but a beauty at that.

Alex Lyon had a solid performance Saturday night when the Phantoms won in overtime against the Hershey Bears, only letting in two goals. Through six games played this season, he is 3-1-2 with a 2.10 GAA and .920 save percentage.

Noah Cates had a pair of goals in as many games this weekend with the University of Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs. That gives him four goals thus far in eight games. Funny enough, he and his brother Jackson Cates are tied in first for goals on the team.

• Shifting gears to Western Michigan, Ronnie Attard scored the game-winning goal on Nov. 8. In that game, Wade Allison also tallied an assist. That was Allison's first point since Oct. 12.

Wyatt Wylie had a successful weekend on the road with Everett, collecting three points (one goal, two assists) in a two-game span. He now leads the WHL in power play assists with 10. Wyatt and the Silvertips won both games and they currently lead the U.S. Division with a 13-4-0-0 record.

Felix Sandstrom did not dress for either game this weekend for the Reading Royals. Through six games, he has a .890 save percentage and 2.80 GAA.

Down at defense

• This past Wednesday, while on a conditioning stint with the Phantoms, Samuel Morin suffered a torn ACL in his right knee for the second time in 19 months. He will miss the remainder of the 2019-20 season.

• It's still unknown how long Mark Friedman will be out for the Phantoms after he left Saturday's game in the first period. He was injured directly following a collision against the boards and needed assistance off the ice. The Phantoms also recalled defenseman James De Haas from Reading, which could imply Friedman's injury may keep him out for a significant amount of time.

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What Travis Konecny pondered this summer has him playing like a star for Flyers

What Travis Konecny pondered this summer has him playing like a star for Flyers

As Travis Konecny waited out the entire offseason before inking his new contract, signaling his first real payday in the NHL, there was ample time for self-reflection.

“I thought a lot this summer about who I am as a player,” Konecny said last week.

The 22-year-old was coming off back-to-back 24-goal seasons and looked poised for a significant leap in 2019-20, especially after signing a six-year, $33 million deal.

Konecny wasn’t daydreaming about lofty goals or inflated production.

“I really wanted to do what was best for the team and every single night focus on two points,” he said. “Individual stats kind of come with that, when you’re playing an all-around game for the team. I’m not saying I play an all-around game every single night. I try to do my best to help the team. Some nights are better than the others, but I think that’s been my main focus — really trying to give my best effort every night and be able to go home saying that I tried to do my part.”

On Sunday night, Konecny played more than just a mere part. This was a stage for stars, a game at TD Garden against a team with three Stanley Cup Final appearances and a title over the past nine seasons. Names like David Pastrnak, Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara were featured in the Bruins’ lineup, opposing Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek, Sean Couturier and the Flyers.

And Konecny was a star.

He has been one this season for the Flyers, who are off to their best start since 2011-12, when the team last eclipsed 100 points and won a playoff series.

In just over a four-minute span Sunday, Konecny seized control of TD Garden with a goal and primary assist, handing the Flyers a surprising 2-0 lead during the first period. He finished with two points and a plus-2 mark as the Flyers took down the home-dominant Bruins, 3-2, in a shootout (see observations).

Both the mighty Pastrnak and the four-time Selke Trophy award winner Bergeron went scoreless, while Marchand potted a goal.

The Flyers didn’t receive big-time numbers from their household guys as Giroux and Voracek failed to crack the score sheet. James van Riemsdyk and Kevin Hayes also went without a point.

But Konecny has made those types of games OK and winnable for the Flyers, even when facing a Bruins group that was 7-0-1 at home and among the NHL’s top-five teams in points, goals per game and fewest goals allowed per game.

Last season, the Flyers were 10-19-2 when Giroux went scoreless and 10-19-2 when Voracek went scoreless. This season, they already have five wins when Giroux has gone scoreless and seven wins when Voracek has gone scoreless.

Sure, Konecny has put up his fair share of points with a team-leading 19 (eight goals, 11 assists) to push the Flyers to a 10-5-2 record through 17 games.

Most importantly, though, he has stuck to what he thought about this summer — consistently doing what is best for his team every single night.

Right now, that’s playing like a star.

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