Flyers

Phil Myers, bulked up and healthy, pledges this Flyers training camp will be different

Phil Myers, bulked up and healthy, pledges this Flyers training camp will be different

VOORHEES, N.J. — Standing at his stall at Flyers Skate Zone during last weekend’s development camp, defenseman Phil Myers towered over everyone else, but there was one noticeable difference.

Myers added about 10 pounds of muscle over the summer, and it shows. On the ice, he looked out of place. He belonged with the orange and black on his sweater. No doubt.

It just didn’t look as if he needed to be on the same sheet with his peers anymore. Perhaps it was the benefits of a full summer of training. Injuries derailed his training last summer.

“I had the same surgery as (Shayne) Gostisbehere,” Myers said. “He had one hip, and Sam Morin, all of those guys got the same thing I did.”

There was a sprained knee suffered at the 2016 Memorial Cup. There was a pubic plate detachment and a torn labrum in his left hip. He underwent hip surgery on June 22, 2016. The recovery wiped out Myers’ summer training. On Sept. 26, 2016, he was medically cleared to return. The next night, he dove into the fray against the New York Islanders.

How did it go? Myers finished as a plus-two with three hits and a blocked shot in 22:39.

“I felt out of shape, obviously, last year,” he said. “The day after I got cleared, I jumped into a preseason game. It jumped up pretty quick. … This summer is going to be different.”

The Flyers insist development camp is not for evaluation. That may be true. Its purpose is to teach prospects how to work and live as a professional hockey player. No matter how much Myers looked like a pro amid his peers, it will not impact his odds come September's training camp when spots are earned in a competitive environment.
 
Myers, 20, is graduating to the professional ranks this season, and where he plays will be up to him. The Flyers have two openings on their blue line, and general manager Ron Hextall is leaving them up for prospects to grab. Robert Hagg and Morin are the front runners.
 
Don’t count Myers out just yet.
 
The Moncton, New Brunswick, native was among the Flyers’ final cuts last October. He stuck around longer than many expected and that was without any summer training.
 
His training this summer has been broken down into phases. The first phase was bulking up and putting on muscle. Mission accomplished. The next phase, according to Myers, is “heavier stuff,” which he said is strength training. His plan is to stay in the Philadelphia area for two weeks after development camp to train and come back 10 days early to skate before the big camp begins in September.
 
“You get stronger and faster,” Myers said. “I’m going to focus on what I can do and what I can control. That’s what I did last year. I just took as much in as possible and tried to get ready as fast as I could because I didn’t really have a lot of time. This year, I have much more time so I’m taking things much more slowly and more controlled.”
 
Last season was another in which Myers trended upward, though it was one mired with injuries; he suffered whiplash in October and a concussion against Team USA at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championships. Myers, the only undrafted player on Team Canada’s roster, was arguably the team’s best defenseman before the concussion. His play at the world juniors led to TSN’s Bob McKenzie tweeting Myers “looks NHL ready, or close to it.”
 
The smooth-skating 6-foot-5 blueliner registered double-digit goals (10) and 35 points in 34 regular-season games with Rouyn-Noranda of the QMJHL in 2016-17. He ended the regular season on a five-game point streak. He added nine points in 13 playoff games. He finished his QMJHL career with 29 goals and 92 points in 203 games. Like Carter Hart, Myers joined the Phantoms once his season ended but didn’t play.
 
“The injury struggles that he, unfortunately, went through there, those are all opportunities to learn and grow,” Flyers head coach Dave Hakstol said. “You can see the growth in Phil off-ice when you look at his stature. You just want to see him come into camp and come in and compete as hard as he did last year and improve on the results from last year.”
 
Myers may be at a disadvantage come September. Because of last year's injury-ridden season and the fact that he's coming straight from junior, he may be a few legs behind Hagg, Morin and even Travis Sanheim, who was at his fourth development camp last weekend (see story)
 
While every player’s developmental path is different, Myers has to beat out at least two players with professional experience already and two — Hagg and Morin — who looked the part during their NHL debuts in April. It’s a safe bet that Myers begins at Lehigh Valley.
 
“If he comes in and he’s the best guy or we feel he’s the best guy,” Hextall said of Myers, “he’s going to play. The other guys, whenever you played in the American League, you have a leg up. You expect those guys to come in and be a little more NHL ready than a kid coming right out of junior, but the players are going to dictate who’s on our team.”

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

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

The Flyers have lost three straight games in regulation only once this season.

They'll try to keep it that way Sunday as the Flyers (17-10-5) visit the Jets (19-11-2) after failing to pick up any points in back-to-back losses.

Let's get into the essentials:

When: 5 p.m. ET with Flyers Pregame Live at 4:30 p.m. ET
Where: Bell MTS Place
Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia+
Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app

• The carousel at forward continued with Sunday's call-ups Carsen Twarynski and Nicolas Aube-Kubel.

In Saturday night's 4-1 loss to the Wild, Scott Laughton (groin) and Tyler Pitlick (concussion) left the game and did not return.

On Sunday, the Flyers will be without forwards Laughton, Pitlick, Oskar Lindblom (Ewing's sarcoma diagnosis), Travis Konecny (concussion), Michael Raffl (broken right pinkie finger) and Nolan Patrick (migraine disorder).

With Sunday's roster transactions, the Flyers placed Konecny on injured reserve and Lindblom and defenseman Samuel Morin (ACL) on long-term injured reserve for salary cap relief.

Aube-Kubel, a 23-year-old winger who played nine games for the big club last season, will become the 10th rookie to play for the Flyers this season.

• With all the injuries, the Flyers are in desperate need of their big boys to carry the load.

The Flyers have gone to a different level when Kevin Hayes has produced in the points column. The team is 10-2-1 when he records a point and 7-8-4 when he goes scoreless.

Hayes went without a point over the Flyers' last two games — both regulation losses — and returns to Winnipeg for the first time since being traded by the Jets in June.

• The Jets are coming off a 5-2 loss to the Red Wings. Winnipeg hasn't dropped consecutive games since Oct. 13-17, when it lost three straight.

• Here is the Flyers' projected lineup, according to Sam Carchidi of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Projected lineup

Forwards

Claude Giroux-Sean Couturier-Joel Farabee
Carsen Twarynski-Kevin Hayes-Jakub Voracek
James van Riemsdyk-Morgan Frost-Nicolas Aube-Kubel
David Kase-Mikhail Vorobyev-Chris Stewart

Defensemen

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

Goalies

Brian Elliott
Carter Hart

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Fans can show support by voting for Oskar Lindblom as Metropolitan Division 2020 NHL All-Star Game captain

Fans can show support by voting for Oskar Lindblom as Metropolitan Division 2020 NHL All-Star Game captain

How awesome would this be?

Reddit user u/arahn17 came up with a heartwarming idea to vote for Oskar Lindblom as the Metropolitan Division All-Star Game captain.

You can do so by clicking here, scrolling down and searching Lindblom's name to place a vote. The 2020 NHL All-Star Game is on Jan. 25 in St. Louis.

The unofficial campaign is another beautiful form of support for Lindblom, a 23-year-old forward on the Flyers who has been diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare form of cancer that occurs in bones or in the soft tissue around the bones.

Flyers teammates, fans and the NHL have already started rallying behind Lindblom (see story).

“He’s a fighter, he’ll get through this," Ivan Provorov said to NBC Sports Philadelphia's Taryn Hatcher on Saturday (see story). "We love him, we’ll support him all the way and he knows we’re here for him. He’s not fighting this fight alone and we’ll do everything that we can to make sure he feels that there’s all people supporting him.”

Having the votes pile up for Lindblom is a touching way to do it.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

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