Flyers Training Camp: All you need to know from the opening day

NHL: JAN 14 Sharks at Coyotes
GLENDALE, AZ – JANUARY 14: Arizona Coyotes center Derick Brassard (16) looks on during the NHL hockey game between the San Jose Sharks and the Arizona Coyotes on January 14, 2021 at Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire)

Today, the Philadelphia Flyers begin their 2021-2022 path. Training camp is officially underway in Voorhees, NJ, through October 8th, 2021, where they’ll wrap up pre-season hockey against the Washington Capitals in Washington, DC.

Before the first day of on-ice sessions, I previewed four hot topics. Who will be the seventh defenseman? Will Linus Sandin relieve Wade Allison? How could the forwards be presented in the lineup? Will goaltenders breakout with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms and graduate to the NHL?

Thursday is a day as good as any to make a statement. Training camp is a proving ground. With opportunities in reach, who will grasp the proverbial brass ring?

Welcome Back, Fans!

It’s always nice to have fans back. The players thrive from their energy. More than that, the youngsters have an opportunity to see their favorites up close. No one is taking these experiences for granted following the pandemic hockey era.

This, from Sam Carchidi, warms the heart:

Group A

Per Charlie O’Connor, the lines and pairs for Group A on day one of training camp looked like:

There were no surprises in the first line. It’s too early to jump to any conclusions of how Alain Vigneault will address his lineup. Sean Couturier centering Claude Giroux and Travis Konecny is academic.

Derick Brassard working with Group A in the center isn’t a real surprise, either. Vigneault favors Brassard, as he should. Expecting Brassard to enter the lineup with Kevin Hayes missing significant time fits perfectly. The absence of Morgan Frost in Group A is slightly surprising but isn’t worth a deep investigation.

Defensively, Travis Sanheim and Rasmus Ristolainen weren’t in Group A. Neither was Adam Clendening. Instead, Nate Seeler and Yegor Zamula were present. With Samuel Morin missing time, Seeler and Zamula should be in the conversation. Seeler makes sense to begin the season as the seventh defenseman, but Zamula could appropriately relieve Justin Braun if he needs scheduled maintenance.

These lineups will remain close to the same for the first week of camp, per Vigneault. Splitting between NHL and AHL players into the lines and pairs is an efficient way of evaluating players and prospects during training camp.

A Hungry Hart

Carter Hart seems like he’s finding his confidence following last year. He made a glove save and popped the fans in attendance. Keith Yandle, the professional he is, made sure he praised Hart. Already, the support system around him is glowing.

Cam Atkinson was the first to score on Hart during warm-ups, going five-hole, per Giana Han. The saves he made have already overshadowed any goal scored on him on day one of training camp. Steadily, Hart seems to be on the right track. He’s earning the respect of the veterans. The fans love to see it.

Odds and Ends

Keith Yandle already seems like the anchor the Philadelphia Flyers needed. For $900k, Yandle could be one of the best heists of all free agents this offseason. His drive is unparalleled, and he’s the ember that could spark the Flyers inferno on defense.

Oskar Lindblom made a few slick plays on offense. One began with Yandle, who was everywhere on the ice today. Lindblom is taking his place in front of the net, facilitating potential scoring plays. He’s showing glimpses of the player who was blooming into a bonafide scorer. Already, he was in sync with Derick Brassard in the offensive zone.

Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire