Flyers

NHL Notes: Russia names Alex Ovechkin captain for World Cup

NHL Notes: Russia names Alex Ovechkin captain for World Cup

MOSCOW -- Alex Ovechkin has been named Russia's captain for the World Cup of Hockey.

The Russian Ice Hockey Federation announced the decision Wednesday. It also says Evgeni Malkin and Pavel Datsyuk will serve as the alternate captains.

The 30-year-old Ovechkin has been captain of the Washington Capitals for the past six seasons. He has 525 goals and 441 assists for 966 points in 839 NHL games and was captain when Russia won the world hockey championship in 2014.

Malkin, 30, has been an alternate captain for the Pittsburgh Penguins since 2008, winning the Stanley Cup twice in that time.

Datsyuk, 38, recently left the NHL's Detroit Red Wings to return home to Russia and play for St. Petersburg of the Kontinental Hockey League.

The World Cup begins Sept. 17 in Toronto (see full story).

Panthers: Huberdeau's extension figures announced
SUNRISE, Fla. -- The Florida Panthers have formally announced Jonathan Huberdeau's $35.4 million, six-year extension, making the forward yet another piece of the team's young core to be locked into a long-term deal this year.

So far in 2016, the Panthers have committed more than $184 million in contracts to five players who are all age 25 or younger. Aleksander Barkov signed an extension in January, and Aaron Ekblad, Vincent Trocheck, Reilly Smith and now Huberdeau all got extensions done this summer.

That total doesn't even count the deal Nick Bjugstad signed late in 2014, nor does it include the acquisition of All-Star defenseman Keith Yandle or the retaining of Jaromir Jagr this offseason.

The Panthers won the Atlantic Division last season, reaching the playoffs for the second time since 2000 (see full story).

Team USA: Pavelski named World Cup captain
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The United States has named Joe Pavelski of the San Jose Sharks as its captain for the World Cup of Hockey.

Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks and Ryan Suter of the Minnesota Wild were named as alternate captains for the tournament, which begins Sept. 17 in Toronto. David Backes of the Boston Bruins, Ryan Kesler of the Anaheim Ducks, Ryan McDonagh of the New York Rangers and Zach Parise of the Wild will also be part of coach John Tortorella's leadership group.

Tortorella said it's great news that the U.S. has "plenty of leaders," adding that's the reason the leadership group includes seven players.

Pavelski became Sharks captain before last season, helping them reach the Stanley Cup final. He represented the U.S. at the 2010 and 2014 Olympics.

NHL: Parros added to department of player safety
NEW YORK -- Longtime enforcer George Parros has joined the NHL's department of player safety.

NHL senior vice president of player safety Stephane Quintal announced the hire Wednesday.

Parros played 474 games over nine seasons, winning the Stanley Cup with the Anaheim Ducks in 2007. He also played for the Los Angeles Kings, Colorado Avalanche, Florida Panthers and Montreal Canadiens, finishing with 36 points and 1,092 penalty minutes.

The 36-year-old from Randolph, New Jersey, graduated from Princeton University where he majored in economics.

He joins fellow tough guy Chris Pronger in the department of player safety, which determines fines and suspensions for on-ice infractions.

Something important to remember with Morgan Frost, Isaac Ratcliffe

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Zack Hill/Philadelphia Flyers

Something important to remember with Morgan Frost, Isaac Ratcliffe

VOORHEES, N.J. — Maybe fans wanted more than just a one-game tryout.

See what the kids can do.

That is certainly an understandable response after Morgan Frost and Isaac Ratcliffe were returned to their junior clubs Tuesday. Excluding the prospects game, Frost and Ratcliffe played in a single preseason game apiece with eight on the schedule.

Both headed back to the OHL, their teams open the 2018-19 season this week with Frost's Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds playing Wednesday and Ratcliffe's Guelph Storm Thursday.

For the most part, the 19-year-olds were long shots for the Flyers' roster. Frost had an outside look at the team's third-line center job (see story), while Ratcliffe, albeit rising among the prospect pool, was all but destined for his fourth junior campaign.

No problem.

But if fans are upset with the Flyers' semi-quick trigger, there's something important to remember. The Flyers could easily have neither of these two kids in their system. If it weren't for a pair of tough decisions — one particularly bold — made by general manager Ron Hextall, such a scenario would be the case.

If you recall, Hextall had to trade Brayden Schenn in order to grab the No. 27 overall pick of the 2017 draft, where the Flyers selected Frost. Parting ways with Schenn was no effortless call. The forward was 25 years old at the time, finished second on the 2016-17 team in goals with 25, 17 of which came on the power play, tying him for most in the NHL alongside Alex Ovechkin and Nikita Kucherov.

Here we are, though, about a year and three months later, and Frost has created a debate over his chances at making the Flyers as a 19-year-old. He's considered a top-50 prospect in the NHL and is looking to build off a 112-point season in which he was a staggering plus-70. 

While Schenn had a career year with the Blues (28 goals, 42 assists), he cooled off considerably, scoring 12 markers in the final 51 games following 16 in his first 31 as St. Louis missed the playoffs. Not only does Frost's future look bright, but the Flyers also acquired a conditional first-round pick in the deal, drafting winger Joel Farabee at No. 14 overall this summer.

The Flyers snagged Ratcliffe in the same draft as Frost, just a day later in the second round. Landing the 6-foot-6 winger didn't come easy, either. To slide up to No. 35 overall, the Flyers had to send their second-round pick (44), a third (75) and a fourth (108) to the Coyotes. Similar to Frost, that's how badly they wanted Ratcliffe.

He has the Flyers feeling good about it. 

Ratcliffe scored 41 goals and 68 points over 67 regular-season games in 2017-18. He has developed a ton in one year, now possessing intriguing ability for a player his size (see story).

In this draft, the Flyers could have been conservative and satisfied after hitting the jackpot on No. 2 overall pick Nolan Patrick.

They weren't.

These were calculated risks the Flyers took in adding Frost and Ratcliffe. Hextall and his staff trusted the diligence behind their scouting efforts.

So far, so good on hitting with them.

It should make up for a disappointing day, for those that deem it one.

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Flyers 5, Islanders 1: 2016 draft pick raises eyebrows in another preseason win

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AP Images

Flyers 5, Islanders 1: 2016 draft pick raises eyebrows in another preseason win

BOX SCORE

NEW YORK — Anyone sick of the New York Islanders yet?

The Flyers, playing their third game in three days in three different buildings against the same team, came up with a big second period to defeat the Islanders, 5-1, Tuesday.

Which 2016 draft pick continues to raise eyebrows, another injury to the Flyers' goaltending crop and more from Brooklyn:

1. Two days after a lethargic and uninspiring effort at Nassau Coliseum, the Flyers came out with a more inspiring start Tuesday with the same top line of Nolan Patrick, Oskar Lindblom and Travis Konecny, who had two scoring chances off the rush in the opening 20 minutes — one from the right side and another coming down the left wing. 

2. Alex Lyon was originally scheduled to start tonight and even took the ice for pregame warmups. He proceeded to tweak something as he motioned to the trainer. Late in the first period, the Flyers announced Lyon was out with a lower-body injury, leaving Anthony Stolarz to play the full 60 minutes. 

3. As for Stolarz, he's had a solid camp and preseason so far, especially when you consider how little he's actually played last season. The knee surgery doesn't appear to bother him at all. After a flawless first period, which included a slapper that knocked him completely back on his numbers, Stolie allowed one soft goal on a delayed penalty. With the Islanders working the puck around the perimeter, Stolarz was slow in moving from the middle of the crease to hugging the right post, allowing David Quenneville to sneak a slap shot through the near post.

4. There's still no fix for slow and playing in his first preseason game, Jori Lehtera still plods around the ice in second gear. Ron Hextall said before the game that Morgan Frost needed to work on creating time and space with the puck. He won't gain any pointers watching Lehtera, who had a difficult time manufacturing anything offensively until he scored a garbage-time goal late in the third period. Still, if I was Hextall, I'd place Lehtera on waivers for the purpose of sending him to Lehigh Valley before the season starts.

5. Carsen Twarynski was one of the more impressive prospects during the rookie game last week, playing alongside Oskar Lindblom and Mikhail Vorobyev. He scored a goal off a quick turnover and he gave the Flyers a 2-1 lead in this game when he snapped a shot from the top of the right circle that had perfect placement and appeared to catch Robin Lehner by surprise. If you’ve noticed anything about Twarynski, it's that he possesses a better than average NHL snap shot and it’s easy to see how he scored 45 goals last season with Kelowna.

6. Danick Martel will never forget his first NHL game, which came right here at the Barclays Center on Nov. 22, 2017. However, this game may stand out for Martel a little more as he launched a shot from the left circle that beat Lehner for his first unofficial NHL goal, giving the Flyers a 4-1 lead at the time. I don’t see Martel making this team, but if he can have another fantastic start with the Phantoms, a mid-season call-up isn’t out of the question.

8. Nothing is guaranteed for Taylor Leier, who needs to earn a roster spot on this year’s team coming out of camp much as he did a year ago. He had a so-so start in his first game Sunday, but he brought that fourth-line intensity tonight as he steamrolled Quenneville and supplied an aggressive forecheck. Leier also managed some offensive opportunities as the battle for the last three forward positions are too close to call right now.

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