Justin Braun and Rasmus Ristolainen stood out from the pack on day two of the 2021-2022 Philadelphia Flyers training camp.
There is a new feeling within the Philadelphia Flyers organization. A new mantra, if you will. Whether you’re branding the “Something to Prove” or “Bring It to Broad” apparel, the bottom line is the Flyers are readying for battle, anytime, anywhere.
Alain Vigneault spoke about Carter Hart at the end of the Group A session yesterday. He said, “he’s smiling, he does look bigger, he does look real fit.” Hart was locked in on day one, receiving a pop from the fans in attendance and praise from Yandle. Hart said, “it feels like we’re back to normal again,” welcoming a clean start.
Group B featured several hot topic players when Group A wrapped up their session. Players like Morgan Frost, Scott Laughton, Nate Thompson, and Linus Sandin mixed into the second session. Those four players are battling for a role while Kevin Hayes and Wade Allison miss time. Adam Clendening and Cam York are potential suitors for the seventh defenseman role, along with Nate Seeler and Yegor Zamula from Group A. Felix Sandstrom also worked with Martin Jones.
Today, all of these players and more continue their push before opening night.
Group C features players who likely will find their home with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms or other junior leagues (OHL, etc.):
- Samu Tuomaala
- Maksim Sushko
- Elliot Desnoyers
- Connor McClennon
- Matthew Strome
- JR Avon
- Logan Day
- Jackson van de Leest
- Kirill Ustimenko
During rookie camp, Ustimenko received an extended look with Samuel Ersson. Avon recently signed an entry-level contract, outlasting Ethan Burroughs and Nolan Ritchie from the group of forwards who invited on ATOs. Until training camp, Sushko was absent.
Tuomaala, Strome, and McClennon were featured in the rookie camp often. The Philadelphia Flyers’ first draft pick of 2021 showed potential, blazing speed into the offensive zone. Strome turned lemons into lemonade, scoring a goal against the New York Rangers during camp after being the first to suffer an injury in development camp. McClennon replaced Wade Allison on the powerplay after he suffered a leg injury.
Day and van de Leest moved from Group B. They switched with Quinn Schmiemann and Ethan Samson.
Alain Vigneault stated he would keep the lineups the same for the first week of training camp. Group B includes:
- James van Riemsdyk, Morgan Frost, Joel Farabee
- Scott Laughton, Nate Thompson, Nicolas Aube-Kubel
- Connor Bunnaman, German Rubtsov, Linus Sandin
- Garrett Wilson, Jackson Cates, Max Willman
- Travis Sanheim, Rasmus Ristolainen
- Cam York, Adam Clendening
- Mason Millman, Wyatte Wylie
- Quinn Schmiemann, Ethan Samson
- Martin Jones, Felix Sandstrom
Sandstrom made back-to-back saves on Bunnaman and Frost. It’s the first he’s had to report to any Philadelphia Flyers camp, but he doesn’t look cold between the pipes. At only 24-years-old, Sandstrom thickens the plot about emergency goaltenders in the event Jones or Carter Hart are inactive.
One of the most polarizing acquisitions throughout this season is Ristolainen. His aggressive brand of hockey will be refreshing while he’s on a mission to prove that he’s better than his reputation as a Buffalo Sabre. As training camp moves forward, Ristolainen will gain the opportunity to show his skill against more Group A players. Today, he showed he could cut angles while throwing checks, taking away real estate from Bunnaman.
Ristolainen also potted a goal during 2v1 drills.
Vigneault stresses the crucial system details, especially to new acquisitions. The prospects developing further are soaking up these lessons from Vigneault with the veterans landed this offseason. Expect younger defensemen and forwards to bond with veterans. From faceoffs to clearing the puck in transition, Vigneault is getting his team back on track. The Flyers have a lot to prove, and Vigneault is wasting no time putting his team to work.
Group A on day two looks like this:
- Travis Konecny, Sean Couturier, Derick Brassard, Gerry Mayhew, Oskar Lindblom, Claude Giroux, Cal O’Reilly, Ryan Fitzgerald, Tyson Foerster, Tanner Laczynski, Isaac Ratcliffe, Cam Atkinson
- Keith Yandle, Ivan Provorov, Nick Seeler, Yegor Zamula, Justin Braun, Brian Zanetti, Linus Hogberg, Ryan Ellis
- Samuel Ersson, Carter Hart
Yesterday, I spoke extensively about the idea of Justin Braun rotating with a seventh defenseman. Today, Braun scored twice against Carter Hart, celebrating with his third-pair partner after his second. It’s never been a secret about how much Alain Vigneault approves of Braun’s right-handed shot. Doubling up today boosts Braun’s confidence in a good session.
Claude Giroux and Travis Konecny were sharp in 2v1 drills. Konecny’s one-timer didn’t give a moment to react. It’s everything you want to see from the probable top-line wingers.
I tapped into Oskar Lindblom on day one. He’s slowly returning to the 2019-2020 form. On the ice with Cam Atkinson, Lindblom deflected a puck, setting up a rebound goal. Lindblom continues to be a menace in front of the net, which is music to the Philadelphia Flyers’ ears. If James van Riemsdyk is aggressively shopped, Lindblom is an affordable, serviceable replacement.
Finishing day two, Tyson Foerster led Group A stretches. Earlier on, Morgan Frost led Group B.
Photo Credit: Alex McIntyre