Flyers

Which Flyers player has the most to lose in 2019-20 season?

Which Flyers player has the most to lose in 2019-20 season?

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

The topic: Which Flyers player has the most to lose in the 2019-20 season? 

Hall

Robert Hagg could go from playing all 82 games in 2018-19 to being a seventh defenseman in 2019-20. The Flyers' defense will look a lot different this season with the additions of Matt Niskanen and Justin Braun. The team is also "bullish" on 22-year-old Philippe Myers, general manager Chuck Fletcher said in mid-June (see story).

Hagg is only 24 years old and has proven his durability with 152 games over the past two seasons. However, Hagg will now be in serious competition for playing time. The Flyers are high on Myers and there's also 2013 first-round pick Samuel Morin in the picture.

Hagg, a 2013 second-round pick, understands his role and what works for him at this level. He competes and won't just give away his ice time, but things are getting crowded on the blue line. He'll be a restricted free agent next offseason. This year is awfully important and a ton could change from now until next summer for Hagg.

Destra

All eyes are on Carter Hart in hopes that he carries the Flyers to the playoffs this season, but where does Brian Elliott fall into all of this? 

Elliott extended his contract this offseason on a one-year deal worth $2 million. He beat out the highly anticipated Cam Talbot for the backup position. Talbot, a mentor to Hart, was brought in as a potential backup option for the future but the job went to Elliott, who will be entering his third season with the Flyers. 

There are a few things that go into analyzing why the 34-year-old goalie has a lot to lose this year and it comes down to: his ability to stay healthy and how much longer he plans on playing before hanging up his skates. 

In 2018-19, he was just one of eight pieces in the Flyers’ goaltending carousel. Elliott can be very serviceable if not overplayed, so being a backup should be the perfect scenario, right? Not exactly. 

The future beyond this season is unknown territory. Elliott is going to have a limited number of times to prove that he is still able to handle the pressure of the league. Not to mention, it’s crucial he stays healthy or he’ll be labeled as injury-prone moving forward. If he plans on playing after 2019-20, teams may not want to risk bringing on a player with that kind of track record. 

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Flyers vs. Rangers preseason: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

Flyers vs. Rangers preseason: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

VOORHEES, N.J. — The Flyers' preseason games are becoming more and more important.

The next one is Saturday night as the Flyers welcome the Rangers for their fourth exhibition contest out of seven.

Let's get into the essentials:

When: 7 p.m. ET
Where: Wells Fargo Center
Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia+
Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app

• It will be fun to see Travis Konecny and his usual energy back out there. He will make his preseason debut after missing the first three days of training camp.

The 22-year-old has shaken off some rust and feels caught up following plenty of work from Tuesday to now.

"I'll be ready," Konecny said Tuesday about the Oct. 4 regular season opener (see story). "I didn't miss too much time, I did a lot of work on my own when I wasn't here."

• Saturday night is a big game for roster hopefuls Joel Farabee, Morgan Frost, Chris Stewart and Carsen Twarynski (see story). The Flyers want to shape their roster as soon as they can in preparation for the opener (see story). The teams flys out to Switzerland on Sept. 27 before its final preseason contest on Sept. 30.

• Keep an eye on Matt Niskanen if he's paired with Ivan Provorov. The 32-year-old blueliner will be crucial to the Flyers' defense this season and he wasn't happy with his first preseason performance, despite scoring the team's lone goal.

"We didn't do too good. Or I didn't at least," Niskanen said Thursday. "But it's part of the process. Get our feet wet together for the first game. I have to get my timing back. But it's good to get in there and you can see his skill. He is a fun guy to play with and we will be better next time."

What didn't Niskanen like about his own game?

"Just too much time in our zone," he said. "I couldn't execute well enough to get on the attack enough."

• Carter Hart is expected to play the first two periods before giving way to Jean-Francois Berube. In Hart's final preseason outing, the 21-year-old will go the distance.

Quotable

I know as media and a fan standpoint, you see three losses and you're like, 'Oh my God, this isn't what we thought it was going to be.' I don't think that's a big deal, but it is a whole new system for a lot of guys in this room — pretty much every guy in the room besides myself basically. In order to get to the best part of your system, you need to get the regular guys who the coaches think are going to be there every night.

- Kevin Hayes on the Flyers' preseason and roster

Game roster

The Flyers did not hold a morning skate, so the projected lines and defensive pairs are to be announced.


Forwards

Travis Konecny
Michael Raffl
Kevin Hayes
Scott Laughton
Oskar Lindblom
James van Riemsdyk
Claude Giroux
Chris Stewart 
Morgan Frost
Joel Farabee
Carsen Twarynski
Jakub Voracek

Defensemen

Travis Sanheim 
Robert Hagg
Ivan Provorov
Matt Niskanen
Samuel Morin
Mark Friedman

Goalies

Carter Hart
Jean-Francois Berube

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Kevin Hayes honest about his time with Rangers, 'ecstatic' to be with Flyers

Kevin Hayes honest about his time with Rangers, 'ecstatic' to be with Flyers

VOORHEES, N.J. — Kevin Hayes scored a career-high 25 goals at 25 years old during the 2017-18 season with the Rangers.

As a restricted free agent in the summer that followed, Hayes signed a one-year, $5.175 million deal with New York. He played only 51 more games for the Rangers before being traded to the Jets last season in February.

Seven months later, he has a seven-year, $50 million contract. On Saturday morning, he was wearing an orange sweatshirt with the No. 13 on it and standing in the Flyers' dressing room at Skate Zone.

Times have seriously changed for Hayes following that trade.

"Obviously you get comfortable with where you're at but it's a business. It's something I thought could have happened by signing a one-year deal that year," Hayes said. "I'm very happy with where I'm at and what I have at the moment. Looking back a year ago from today, I was asking for things from New York that they said no to and we went our separate ways in February. 

"I'm ecstatic with where I'm at right now, playing with this group of guys. The players that we have here, the goalies, the Ds and the forwards who I'll be playing with are elite and it's something that I'm excited for — and tonight's just one step toward the regular season. I'm sure there will be mistakes out there but I'm happy with what side I'm on."

Although it's just the preseason, tonight will be the first time Hayes has played against the Rangers since the trade. New York put its rebuild into overdrive this summer by acquiring Jacob Trouba and Artemi Panarin, and drafting Kaapo Kakko.

Is it tough for Hayes not seeing the rebuild through after watching the steps the Rangers made this offseason?

I don't know if they're good steps or bad steps, that's what you guys get to decide, but they're steps I guess. I have no hard feelings toward them. I loved my time there, I'm happy with where I'm at right now. I feel like this year is the best shape and best mentality I've ever been in in my career. I don't know if it has to do with the change or the excitement I have to be here in Philly, but I'm excited to get this going.

Three of the Rangers' top six scorers are gone from last season, including Hayes and Jimmy Vesey, who was traded to the Sabres on July 1.

"They chose to get rid of me and Vese, but that's their decision," Hayes said. "I'm sure it'll come back to them, we'll find out."

Hayes is back with Alain Vigneault, who coached the 27-year-old from 2014-18 in New York. Vigneault was a major selling point for Hayes signing with the Flyers on June 19 after the club acquired his rights earlier in the month.

Hayes was a plus-30 under Vigneault and his minutes climbed each season. The 6-foot-5 center is now one of the better penalty-killers in the league and a two-way guy poised for his biggest offensive role yet.

"I had a great relationship with him in New York for the four years we were together," Hayes said. "He turned me into a 200-foot player and I think that was — if not the biggest reason — one of the biggest reasons why I decided to come here.

"There was some tough love there, for sure. It's the NHL. It's not easy for everyone. … It's growing pains. I thought the way he handled my situation and how I responded was very professional and I think I entered the league as an offensive guy and A.V. kind of turned me into a 200-foot player and an NHL guy. 

"At the time, I don't know if I was super excited about it — fast-forward six years and I couldn't be more happy with where my game is at."

The Flyers play the Rangers four times in 2019-20. The first trip to Madison Square Garden is on March 1. From his rookie year in 2014-15 to now, the New York roster is very different.

"I have friendships there outside of the hockey players — equipment guys, media guys, trainers that basically shaped me as the person I am today," Hayes said. "I think it will be more emotional seeing those guys — I don't even know half the team anymore to be honest.

"I'm sure going back to MSG will bring back some memories and be a little bit emotional. I'm not even just saying this just because I have to, I couldn't be more excited to be here in Philly, to start a new chapter in my NHL career where I have the security to be somewhere for a long term. In New York, my longest contract was two years, the last three years it was trade bait basically every year. I'm happy with where I'm at it, physically and mentally, and getting excited again to play hockey."

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