With the Philadelphia Flyers training camp finally underway and at full speed like the great sport of NASCAR, the question of which dark horses will make the roster this fall begins to rise. How about we introduce ourselves to Taylor Leier? Leier was a long shot to make the big club this fall coming into camp. However, he has had quite the offseason, and Leier has played well in live game action during the pre-season registering two goals in two games played.
Leier was born on February, 15, 1994, in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. He was drafted in the 4th round of the 2012 NHL Draft by the Flyers. Leier signed a three-year entry level contract with the orange and black on September 9, 2013. He made his NHL debut against the Carolina Hurricanes on November 14, 2015. The young prospect didn’t register a point against the Hurricanes, but Leier showed off his wheels.
The gifted playmaker has become sort of a mainstay at the AHL level thus far. For the 2015-16 season while playing for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, Leier registered 20 goals, and 29 assists for a total of 49 points in 71 games played. He showed his versatility and range with a his good shot. More importantly, Leier played in any situations the coaching staff asked of him. This earned him six games with the big club, to which he registered 0 points during his time with the orange and black.
Of course, Leier began the 2016-17 season playing for the Phantoms. He had quite the season registering 13 goals, and 24 assists for a total of 37 points in 48 games played. Leier missed time due to injury, but he was fortunate enough to represent the Phantoms in the AHL All-Star game. He was very impressive in his All-Star debut, registering a hat trick in the AHL All-Star Challenge. For his efforts, he won the MVP award and really displayed the depth within the Flyers farm system.
The former Portland Winterhawk product, Leier was given another shot with the orange and black in the 2016-17 season, as well. This time he registered his first NHL goal against the Dallas Stars on December 16, 2017. In addition, Leier also added an assist for a total of 2 points in 10 games played for the Flyers. He really took advantage of his opportunity in the short time he was called up by the big club. Leier just looked far more composed, and was pretty noticeable with his speed.
Even with performing well during his brief stints with the big club. Leier still wasn’t a sure lock to make the big club as he entered this year’s training camp. He came into camp standing at 5′ 10,” weighing 174 pounds, and his cards stacked against him. Well folks, Leier has had a great training camp, but for once the Flyers are finally deep at the forward position. However, with his strong performances in live game action in the three pre-season games the Flyers have played thus far, Leier has a legitimate shot to make the Flyers roster. He has registered 2 goals to date in the pre-season, and Leier is making it difficult for the Flyers top brass to overlook him.
Make no mistake about it, the Flyers are in a fantastic position to really ignite the Flyers once struggling offense from prior years. With the likes of Oskar Lindblom, Nolan Patrick, and Leier, the youth are hoping to provide a spark. A spark that can hopefully propel the Flyers into the playoffs this season. Moreover, this is definitely the best shot Leier has had at making the big club straight out of training camp. He has been patient waiting his time for a full-time position in the NHL. We shall see in the coming week, if his hard-work has truly paid off in a big way.
Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports