Flyers

Scott Gordon on Philippe Myers: 'He's an NHL player to me'

Scott Gordon on Philippe Myers: 'He's an NHL player to me'

ALLENTOWN, Pa. — When the public address announcer at PPL Center bellowed out Philippe Myers' name during the starting lineup introductions, the 22-year-old defenseman received a hearty applause from the fans.

Last season, he became a popular guy in Lehigh Valley as one of the Phantoms' better players before graduating to the Flyers for a 21-game taste of the NHL.

He returned to the home of the Flyers' AHL affiliate Wednesday night for the club's rookie game against the Islanders' prospects.

And everyone probably knows he won't be back anytime soon.

Myers didn't take long to make his mark Wednesday night as he bounced around a defender on the perimeter and beautifully fed German Rubtsov for the game's opening goal. The play was not representative of a rookie game.

It was big-league stuff.

"He's an NHL player to me. He played like it," Lehigh Valley head coach Scott Gordon said following the Flyers' 5-4 shootout loss (see observations). "There's no panic, he's done a great job of preparing himself the last two years to be an NHL player. He just has to have a good camp and everything else should fall into place for him."

The 6-foot-5, 218-pound Myers transformed himself from an undrafted player into a top-50 NHL prospect. The Flyers appear ready for his full-time impact within their group of defensemen. While Myers possesses intriguing offensive qualities like we saw Wednesday night, he has improved in all other areas. He moves the puck up ice, retreats well and stays within himself.

When general manager Chuck Fletcher called up Myers during February of last season, the Flyers were the NHL's hottest team and gaining steam in the playoff race. Fletcher did not have a problem trusting Myers to play important games.

The experience was extremely beneficial.

"I think the biggest thing that I learned is just try to stay calm and composed under pressure," Myers said last weekend at rookie camp. "Try not to panic out there. I got a little bit more comfortable as the games went on. I'm happy I got those first steps out of the way and that I got my feet wet in the NHL. I sort of know what to expect this year."

Gordon was summoned by the Flyers in December to serve as interim head coach. He remembers catching up with Myers back in Lehigh Valley when the blueliner was starting to get comfortable and catching the attention of others.

"I had gone down to Allentown to pick up some things and I stopped by the locker room and he was there," Gordon said last weekend. "We were just talking about his probably two-week period that I had been gone and he had said to me at that time, he goes, 'I'm getting it now. It's starting to come together where I don't feel like I have to win the game every single shift and just let the game come to me.' That's just maturity."

A maturity that has Gordon realizing he might not see Myers back in Allentown.

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With George Floyd's death and protests across world, Claude Giroux sends powerful message

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USA Today Images/Eric Hartline

With George Floyd's death and protests across world, Claude Giroux sends powerful message

Claude Giroux is the Flyers' captain. He is Philadelphia's longest-tenured active athlete, going back to 2008. And he is a leader.

"It’s cool to see him kind of go from a punk little kid to a father and being a good leader for everyone in that dressing room," Scott Hartnell said, "and for the city of Philadelphia, people look up to him.”

Giroux often shows leadership with his actions. On Wednesday night, he showed it with his words.

Amid the protests in Philadelphia and across the United States following the tragic death of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25, Giroux sent out a powerful message from his Twitter account. Floyd was killed in police custody after Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin pressed his knee into the 46-year-old black man's neck.

The hockey world has rallied together to highlight the issues of racism and racial injustice.

Giroux, organically and authentically, added to the important cause. If you read the statement and feel the meaning of it, props to the 32-year-old Giroux for taking the time to digest everything, comprehend all that has transpired and formulate an impactful message.

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2020 NHL draft profile: Why Jan Mysak is so intriguing

2020 NHL draft profile: Why Jan Mysak is so intriguing

The entire picture for the 2020 NHL draft remains cloudy with the ongoing suspension of the 2019-20 regular season because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Where will the Flyers be picking? When and how will the draft be held? Those questions are currently unanswered.

The Flyers hold seven total selections and, as of right now, are slotted with the 26th overall pick.

“I think it’s a decent draft — I don’t know if it’s top end," Flyers assistant general manager Brent Flahr said April 25 in a phone interview with NBC Sports Philadelphia. "The top 10, 12 guys look like pretty high end. There’s a bit of a drop-off, but there’s some depth to the draft for a couple of rounds. We don’t know totally where we’re picking, but we have an idea. We have some guys targeted we feel we would be very happy with in the top couple of rounds and then we still have some work to do to clean up the mid-to-later-round picks.

"Obviously you’d want the big, scoring, playmaking center, anybody does. We’re in a position where we’ll likely be taking the best player available. 

"Realistically the players you draft now are two or three years down the road, best-case scenario. Some cases you get surprised. But by then, your team needs are different. We’ll do the best we can, we have an idea of where our holes are going forward and places where we certainly want to add depth to, whether it’s center or scoring winger or defense, we’ll see what happens. We’ll prepare, we weigh guys against each other, the pros and cons and we’ll do the best we can there.”

This month, we'll continue to break down options for the Flyers at No. 26.

Jan Mysak

Position: Center/winger
Height: 5-foot-10
Weight: 175
Shoots: Left
Team: Hamilton Bulldogs

Scouting report

There is a ton of intrigue to Mysak, an underager with innate scoring ability and a precocious hockey IQ.

After scoring nine points (five goals, four assists) through 26 games playing against grown men for the Czech Extraliga's HC Litvinov, the 17-year-old transitioned to the OHL and punctuated his draft year. Mysak took off with Hamilton, delivering a pair of hat tricks and 25 points (15 goals, 10 assists) in 22 games. The Czech Republic native played a much bigger role at the junior level, especially with the Bulldogs losing center Jan Jenik to a season-ending injury in December.

Mysak understands the art of scoring. He might not be the flashiest or smoothest, but he's strong, quick and knows how to dissect the opposition. He can also play down the middle and on the wing, versatility that attracts NHL teams in the first round.

“Anybody that can play center is good," Flahr said about Mysak on May 12.

“He had the reputation coming into the year. He played with men the first half, I saw him a number of times over there early. Just like any young player playing with men, he played and worked and did the little things, but wasn’t overly productive, just kind of played safe and played a role. Then midseason, he came over.

"The way it worked with Jenik going down to injury, he stepped right in on the top line and produced right off the bat. He played center when I saw him and he’s played wing overseas when I saw him, but real hard-working, honest, two-way game. You can argue whether he’s more of a shooter or a playmaker, but he’s got some rawness. I think coming over was real good for him.”

Fit with Flyers

The Flyers very well could be eyeing the best center available during the first round after selecting three defensemen, three wingers and a goalie last summer. It's a premium position and every organization is looking for greater depth down the middle. The fact that Mysak can player center and winger is a bonus.

So, will he be available for the Flyers? It's difficult to say.

He's the NHL Central Scouting's 28th-ranked North American skater and TSN's Craig Button rates him as the 34th-best player in the draft. However, in an excellent film review, The Athletic's Scott Wheeler sees Mysak as one of the top forwards among this class.

Some teams might want to see more from Mysak. Some teams might be completely sold.

If the Flyers end up picking at No. 26 overall and Mysak is available, he'd be hard to pass up.

(Brandon Taylor/ProAm Images)

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