Ah, Flyers’ hockey is so close, I can smell it.
Sunday evening, there are going to be some good NFL wildcard games on. Don’t get me wrong, those are probably going to be a whole lot more interesting than a Flyers’ intrasquad scrimmage. However, for us hockey fans, this is a big deal. The Flyers kick off their 2021 season against the Penguins on Wednesday. This scrimmage will give fans their first look at the team they should expect this season.
In light of the NHL not having a preseason, NBC Sports Philadelphia will be airing live coverage of the Flyers’ scrimmage Sunday night. The game can be caught on NBC Sports Philadelphia, on TV or the MyTeams app, starting at 7 PM.
This is definitely one of the biggest stories of training camp, and hopefully this season. After missing the entire 2019-2020 campaign due to chronic migraines, the former #2 overall pick is finally back on the ice. He’s been skating every day in camp, and even got right back onto his feet after a scary collision with teammate Sam Morin.
So far in training camp, Patrick has looked great. This is going to be fan’s first look at the youngster since the end of 2019, and he deserves the attention. If Patrick can get back on his feet and have a career year, he may be what the Flyers need for a deep playoff run.
Morin is another one of those “what if” players the team has. After suffering two ACL tears, the former 11th overall pick has struggled to stay on the ice. His unfortunate injury history has contributed to him falling down the defensive depth chart.
In an attempt to revamp his NHL career, Morin will be making the move to left wing to start the season. This will be fans’ first opportunity to see the booming 6’7, 202 pound bruiser on the offensive side of the puck. He’ll be a must watch as he strives to make the opening night roster.
The offensive lines will likely be scrambled due to the number of players playing in this scrimmage, but the d-pairing are where things will get interesting. After Matt Niskanen unexpectedly retired upon the completion of the season, the Flyers need to fill the void in the top line pairing alongside Ivan Provorov.
It’ll be interesting to see who earns those first line minutes. Phil Myers is a popular name to join Provy. However, Flyers’ coach Alain Vigneault has been giving different guys chances during camp. Shayne Gostisbehere has been seen on the top d-pairing during came as well. Make sure to keep an eye on who gets good minutes next to Provorov as they attempt to build some chemistry.
This singlehandedly may be the most important thing to keep an eye out for Sunday night. In a shortened season, these NHL teams are currently expected to play 56 games in roughly 116 days. Looking at the Flyers’ schedule, they will have eight total back-to-backs and pretty much a game every other day. The Flyers are lucky, though. They are in a pretty central location and won’t change time zones at all this season. Along with this, their traveling will stay at a minimum due to the new divisions.
However, no matter favorable their schedule may be in comparison, 56 games in 116 games is tough. And of course, that is assuming they are lucky and do not have to face any COVID-19 complications. With all of this said, depth is going to be a huge factor into which teams succeed this season, and which don’t.
Keep an eye on how the Flyers bottom six and cusp guys perform in this scrimmage. The names Nolan Patrick, Morgan Frost, Shayne Gostisbehere, and Mark Friedman all come to mind. If these players are ready to step up in a pinch- injury or rest related, then the Flyers will have another fun year.
Mandatory Photo Credit: Alex McIntyre