Flyers

Notes, quotes and tidbits from Flyers development camp

Notes, quotes and tidbits from Flyers development camp

VOORHEES, N.J. — Flyers general manager Ron Hextall has said many times before that development camp is not for evaluation. Instead, it’s for prospects to learn how to be a pro.

What Hextall said the key teaching points are at camp include nutrition, recovery, stretching and weight lifting. Hextall preaches a player's character and that was no different Friday.

Proper workout techniques to the smallest details such as the proper way to lift weights and positioning are all part of the criteria taught at camp.

"Most of these kids work hard," Hextall said Friday during Day 1 of camp. "Some of them aren't working the right way. You've got to work hard, but you have to work smart too.

"If they're in bad shape now, it certainly doesn't help them, but we're certainly not here to evaluate. We're here to give them tools to go work and make themselves better."

One of the assets at Hextall's disposal is Slava Kouznetsov, the team's power skating coach who has helped Oskar Lindblom vastly improve his skating from his draft year.

With a few prospects that need to work on their skating — Matthew Strome and Connor Bunnaman, for example — Kouznetsov is a big influence among development coaches.

While Hextall said he's not evaluating skill at camp, he did say the Flyers will be judging a prospect's character. Part of that is not working on their strengths.

"If a kid is mishandling the puck out there but trying to do something properly rather than cheating," he said, "I would rather see them mishandle the puck because you're getting better. It's not what you should be doing. If a guy's going to his bad side and he's tripping, stumbling, falling, I'm OK with that. I'd rather that than him work on his strengths."

Hextall highlighted players' desires to correct discrepancies in their game in the summer rather than during the season because there's no pressure to win games.

With development camp, it gives the Flyers an opportunity to teach prospects little details that aren't taught at lower levels. Hextall pointed to power skating, specifically pivoting.
 
An example Hextall used was one of the groups of defensemen. Hextall said the younger blueliners looked awkward doing no-crossover pivots, especially compared to Travis Sanheim, who is in his fourth and final development camp.

"The first-year kids come in and they're like, 'Wow, this is new,'" Hextall said. "They've never been taught this. It's all the little things that we don't understand … these kids, we think they should know. They don't know. They haven't had that level of coaching yet.

"That's why development camps are so important. I wish we had them two or three times in the summer, but the rules are the rules."

Knowing the captain
As time goes on, we'll start to see more of Nolan Patrick's personality.

For months now, the 18-year-old has had to answer question after question regarding his injuries.

On Friday, he showed his NHL sense of humor. Patrick was asked if he had been introduced to any Flyers yet and mentioned how he's known Claude Giroux since he was 14 years old.

"At the Allstate All-Canadians game," Patrick said of where he met the Flyers' captain. "He was my coach for that. I was talking to him a few weeks ago just over text but I haven't seen him."

What kind of coach is Giroux?

"We lost, so …" Patrick said with a smile.

Ivan the … invitee
One of the more intriguing aspects of development camp is non-roster invitees — undrafted players in the junior ranks or college-bound. Think Mike Vecchione.

Vecchione was a camp invitee last summer and used it as an opportunity to impress the Flyers' brass. He eventually signed with the Flyers in late March as a heralded NCAA free agent out of Union College. Vecchione signed a two-year contract extension last weekend.

At 24 years old, he's the oldest attendee of this summer's development camp.

The Flyers have seven invitees in Voorhees this weekend — two forwards, four defensemen and a goaltender. Among the invitees is Ivan Kosorenkov.

Kosorenkov, 19, is a Russian right winger who plays for the Victoriaville Tigres (QMJHL) who went undrafted in last month's NHL draft. A teammate of Pascal Laberge, another Flyers prospect, Kosorenkov registered 34 goals and 63 points in 68 games last season.

"Certainly a kid who could have got drafted but didn't," Hextall said of Kosorenkov. "There's a lot of bubble guys. There were a few guys in the seventh round we would have liked to pick.

"We moved the one pick, made one pick but there were a few guys on the board there we'd like to pick. I wish the draft was 10 rounds, 12 rounds, personally."

Not about to wing it
Patrick is regarded as a franchise center, a multifaceted playmaker up the middle that thrives on creating chances for others.

On Day 1 of development camp, he was asked about the possibility of playing wing.

Many centers transition into wingers or try both before reaching the NHL.

Patrick's ability makes him a different story.

To his credit, he didn't shoot down the idea.

"I played one period of wing in my whole career," he said. "If they wanted to put me on wing, I'd be fine with that. I’m not going to complain as a rookie if I made the team. I could adjust to that. Whatever they want me to do, I'd be happy."

So how'd that one period go?

"I got moved to center right after," Patrick said with a laugh.

Ratcliffe is a big boy
If you saw Isaac Ratcliffe's listed height and thought he was big, wait until you see him up close.

The 6-foot-6 on his bio does not do any justice.

When the Flyers plucked the winger in the second round of last month's draft, that aforementioned height caught everyone's attention.

And on Friday, many fans saw why. Here's Ratcliffe:

Shorthanded Flyers can't keep up with Avalanche to begin road trip

Shorthanded Flyers can't keep up with Avalanche to begin road trip

BOX SCORE

From the moment it was announced that Oskar Lindblom would miss Wednesday night's game, the Flyers' chances at Pepsi Center felt bleak.

No Lindblom, no Travis Konecny and facing the NHL's highest-scoring team in its building was not a promising script for the Flyers, who lost to the Avalanche, 3-1.

In stretches this season, the Flyers have struggled to bury goals. And that has been with Lindblom and Konecny — their two leading goal-scorers at 11 apiece — in the lineup.

The Flyers (17-9-5) did some good things but Colorado finished plays behind its world class talent up top.

The Avalanche (20-8-3) are on an eight-game point streak (7-0-1) in which they've scored 4.13 goals per game.

• Without Konecny (concussion) and Lindblom (upper body), the Flyers had difficulty putting the puck in the net. They were going to have to put up some goals against the Avalanche, who entered scoring an NHL-best 3.70 goals per game. For the second time in the last three games, the Flyers scored only one goal.

The lone tally came from Claude Giroux when the Flyers were trailing 3-0 with just over five minutes remaining in regulation.

• Following a first period in which they survived, especially in the back half of it thanks to Carter Hart, the Flyers actually played a solid second period. At one point during the middle stanza, the Flyers were outshooting Colorado 11-0.

But as the Flyers kept pushing to no avail, the Avalanche changed the whole complexion of the period with one play by their two best weapons. Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen hooked up for a nasty marker to make it 2-0 with 3:55 left in the period, a deflating goal to allow for the Flyers (see highlights).

Considering Colorado was 14-0-1 when leading after the middle period, the Flyers were in a serious hole, even after a hard-working period.

• Hart, who entered 8-2-2 with a 1.96 goals-against average and .928 save percentage over his last 12 starts, faced the Avalanche for the first time in his career.

He made a highlight-reel save and gave the Flyers a fighting chance in tough circumstances.

The 21-year-old has been impressive during the first period all season long, allowing the Flyers to find their legs and rhythm. He converted 12 of his 24 saves in the opening stanza against Colorado.

On the Avalanche's first-period goal, Scott Laughton won a defensive zone faceoff but the Flyers failed to clear the puck, resulting in Matt Calvert's tally.

Rantanen added his second goal early in the third period and that was pretty much the game.

Colorado goalie Pavel Francouz, who came in 5-0-1 with a 2.36 goals-against average and .926 save percentage over his last eight games (six starts), finished with 32 stops.

• When Philippe Myers (back spasms, day to day) is ready to return, Robert Hagg should be the odd man out on defense. Shayne Gostisbehere has found some of his offensive mojo and Myers has shown way too much promise to be sitting when healthy.

A stay-at-home guy like Hagg was far too noticeable against the Avalanche. He committed a penalty and was a minus-2 in 15:21 minutes.

• David Kase was summoned to Denver this morning to make his NHL debut and become the ninth rookie to play for the Flyers this season

The 22-year-old winger had a nice scoring chance and two shots in 7:47 minutes. 

• The Flyers head to the old stomping grounds of general manager Chuck Fletcher and assistant general manager Brent Flahr when they visit the Wild on Saturday (7 p.m. ET/NBCSP).

Fletcher was the GM in Minnesota from 2009 to 2018 and Flahr was his AGM from 2010 to 2018.

The Flyers have not lost consecutive games in regulation since Oct. 27-29.

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Flyers at Avalanche: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

Flyers at Avalanche: Live stream, storylines, game time and more

As one of the NHL's best teams since Nov. 1 (12-3-4, 28 points), the Flyers now face a new challenge.

Alain Vigneault's undermanned group begins a three-game road trip Wednesday as the Flyers (17-8-5) visit the Avalanche (19-8-3).

Let's get into the essentials:

When: 9:30 p.m. ET
Where: Pepsi Center
Broadcast: NBC Sports Network
Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com

• The Flyers are without Travis Konecny (concussion, out indefinitely), Oskar Lindblom (upper body, out tonight), Philippe Myers (back spasms, day to day), Michael Raffl (broken right pinkie finger, out approximately four weeks) and Nolan Patrick (migraine disorder, out indefinitely).

"Injuries are a part of a season. You have to expect it," Vigneault said Monday. "Then you need somebody else to step up."

More than ever this season, the Flyers will be looking to Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek, Sean Couturier, Kevin Hayes and James van Riemsdyk to produce among the forwards.

The Flyers are 10-2-1 when Hayes records a point and 9-1-0 when van Riemsdyk records a point.

• Not only are the Flyers severely shorthanded Wednesday night, but they're also facing the NHL's highest-scoring club. The Avalanche lead the league with 3.70 goals per game. Their top line of Nathan MacKinnon (47 points in 30 games), Mikko Rantanen (18 points in 14 games) and Gabriel Landeskog (nine points in 14 games) is scary.

"We know going into Colorado, we're going to have to be careful versus their top unit," Vigneault said Tuesday. "[Monday] night, they seemed to load up. That's one of the best lines in hockey."

• Carter Hart will face the Avalanche for the first time in his career.

The 21-year-old goalie is 8-2-2 with a 1.96 goals-against average and .928 save percentage over his last 12 starts.

Projected lineup

Forwards

Claude Giroux-Sean Couturier-Jakub Voracek
James van Riemsdyk-Morgan Frost-Tyler Pitlick
Scott Laughton-Kevin Hayes-Joel Farabee
David Kase-Mikhail Vorobyev-Chris Stewart

Defensemen

Ivan Provorov-Matt Niskanen
Travis Sanheim-Justin Braun
Shayne Gostisbehere-Robert Hagg

Goalies

Carter Hart
Brian Elliott

 

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