2021 Flyers Rookie Camp: All you need to know from day one

Flyers Wells Fargo Center
Flyers Wells Fargo Center (Photo Credit: Alex McIntyre)

Frost, Ustimenko, Allison, and a couple of 2021 Development Camp standouts headline the first day of the 2021 Philadelphia Flyers Rookie Camp.

A little less than two weeks ago, the Flyers finished their 2021 Development Camp. A handful of prospects gained the attention of the Philadelphia beat. 

In the 2021 Rookie Camp, the Flyers hope to maintain the momentum from those players who flourished. They’ll also want to awaken the beast within other prospects. Again, it’s time to make a final impression before the NHL roster reports next week.

The rookie camp picks up the pace from the previously mentioned development camp. There’s an emphasis on getting ready for the NHL camp next week. A few players are close to making the NHL roster, battling for minutes or a spot in the lineup rotation. Evaluating the rookies will help determine their role against the New York Rangers rookies this weekend.

Morgan Frost and Wade Allison received a lot of fanfare following the 2021 Development Camp. Will Frost join Allison in Philadelphia’s bottom-six? Tyson Foerster and Samu Tuomaala could play for the AHL or OHL. Where will they choose to pick up their game in 2021-2022? Today, we begin with day one of the Flyers 2021 Rookie Camp:

Pre-Camp NHL Workout

Before the 2021 Rookie Camp began, a decent amount of Philadelphia Flyers took to the ice:

  • Derick Brassard
  • Cam Atkinson
  • Ryan Ellis
  • Rasmus Ristolainen
  • Claude Giroux
  • Oskar Lindblom
  • Scott Laughton
  • Keith Yandle
  • Kevin Hayes
  • Travis Konecny

These ten weren’t the only ones from the Flyers roster on the ice. Half are new arrivals. During the pre-camp workout, Martin Jones was on his way to the Pennsylvania/New Jersey area.

It’s no surprise Philadelphia’s captain was on the ice this morning. Giroux is heading into a contract season, but his leadership prevails. Getting a workout in with a mix of new acquisitions and veterans puts the Flyers ahead of the curve. Working with Lindblom, who looks more powerful, will only aid the performance at left-wing in 2021-2022. 

Next week, Philadelphia begins training camp. Before rookie camp finishes, expect more of the Flyers roster to arrive in Vorhees. The pre-camp workouts amongst the NHL roster will take on a daily routine.

Who Will Be the 3rd Goaltender?

Usually, this conversation doesn’t hold weight. Consider the health records of Carter Hart. Every season of his NHL career, Hart has dealt with an injury, missing games. When Hart was out of the lineup in 2019-2020, games featuring Alex Lyon were critical. Those few points were the difference between having a round-robin tournament for reseeding or participating in a play-in round.

In 2021-2022, Hart and Martin Jones are the two goaltenders on the Philadelphia Flyers roster on opening night. Lyon signed with the Carolina Hurricanes in the offseason. Suddenly, there are new opportunities for Lehigh Valley Phantoms goaltenders. Who snags the brass ring?

Kirill Ustimenko and Felix Sandstrom could take the lead with the Phantoms ahead of Samuel Ersson. Ersson is on his entry-level contract through 2024, but Ustimenko and Sandstrom finish their entry-level terms at the end of 2022. There’s more urgency in deciding between Ustimenko and Sandstrom before figuring out Ersson.

In his most recent season, Ustimenko was on loan to HK Gomel for two contests. Sandstrom spent most of 2020-2021 with Lehigh Valley, playing fifteen games. Ersson played 42 games with Brynas IF. Each of the goaltender prospects saved more than 90% of the shots they faced.

Here’s Ustimenko making an acrobat save against Wade Allison, per Jordan Hall:

OHL Gems

Due to the cancellation of the OHL in 2020-2021, many players fell out of their 2021 NHL Entry Draft projected placement. Quality players slipped between the fingers of many NHL general managers. One invite, JR Avon, flashed his speed on day one of the 2021 Rookie Camp.

“A contract is the goal,” said Avon. He’s confident in his speed on the ice, rivaling Samu Tuomaala. A center, he’s closely observing Kevin Hayes‘ style of play. In 2019, Avon was the 11th overall selection in the OHL Priority Selection.

Avon last played hockey in 2019-2020 with the Peterborough Petes. In 56 games, he tallied eleven points (4G, 7A).

Frost and Zanetti

Brent Flahr spoke highly of Brian Zanetti following the 2021 Development Camp. His performance amongst first-time attendees made the fourth-round pick in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft stand out.

Zanetti has been picking the brains of the top defensemen. Ryan Ellis has been his go-to source of knowledge on day one of the 2021 Rookie Camp. Taking a humble approach to the game, absorbing tips and tricks like a sponge, Zanetti is modeling his game after Roman Josi. The former teammate of Ellis is Zanetti’s hockey hero.

Ian Laperriere put the feeling about Zanetti into perspective, “he’s a kid that stood out for me today; picked up things fast, but it’s only one day.”

Wade Allison, a true renaissance man, assumed the role of media reporter today while Morgan Frost fielded questions. He mentioned Frost adding size (now 190lbs) ahead of 2021-2022. In response, Frost asked if Allison wanted him to “take my shirt off?” That’s a sign of a tight locker room.

Frost missed last season because of his shoulder dislocation versus the Buffalo Sabres. It’s the longest he’s spent away from hockey. If anyone is looking forward to the New York Rangers rookies this weekend, it’s him.

Allison was in awe of Frost’s talent, “I’d do anything for that skill.” Here’s Frost working against Danny Briere, per Jordan Hall:

Photo Credit: Alex McIntyre