2021-2022 Flyers Training Camp: Day 7

flyers isles
Photo Credit: Alex McIntyre

Following an overtime loss to the New York Islanders in preseason action, the Philadelphia Flyers return to the ice for a practice session on Wednesday.

In an overtime loss, the Philadelphia Flyers and New York Islanders were as advertised in preseason action. 

A season ago, the Flyers lost to the Islanders four times beyond regulation. Six of the eight total matchups in 2020-2021 went into overtime. Philadelphia almost always plays the Islanders close. Each game was decided by a goal, except for one time. The Islanders defeated the Flyers, 6-1, on March 20th, 2021.

How apropos that the first meeting, of any kind, is decided in overtime? Only this time, no one earns any points towards the standings. Anthony Beauvillier scored the game-winning goal on Samuel Ersson. It’s a high-pressure scenario taken on by an AHL goaltender early into his development against a top-six NHL left-wing.

Carter Hart played with confidence. He moved exceptionally well, efficiently anticipating where shots were coming. Like Ersson, he allowed a goal from a dangerous Islanders blueliner.

“In the first period, they definitely had the better looks, and he looked confident; he looked big, he looked in control.”

Alain Vigneault; 9/28/2021

Today, Philadelphia practiced at noon. Tomorrow, they’ll visit the Boston Bruins.

Practice Session

There’s a couple of lines, pairs, and goaltenders that will command attention ahead of the Philadelphia Flyers’ second preseason clash against the Boston Bruins. 

  • James van Riemsdyk, Morgan Frost, Joel Farabee
  • Scott Laughton, Nate Thompson, Nicolas Aube-Kubel
  • Travis Sanheim and Rasmus Ristolainen
  • Cam York and Adam Clendening 
  • Martin Jones and Felix Sandstrom

Nobody is surprised that Kirill Ustimenko will not see ice time against the Bruins. He hadn’t been in training camp with Group A or Group B. Leaving him as a Group C goaltender means Ustimenko will play for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms or Reading Royals.

All of the above names were out of action versus the New York Islanders. They’re all healthy; it’s just a matter of how Chuck Fletcher and Alain Vigneault collaborate to evaluate talent through training camp and preseason.

Today, the Flyers replicate closer to the NHL roster in Group A versus Group B, primarily prospects and rookies. Jackson Cates and Connor Bunnaman appeared in Group A. Nick Seeler, who blocked all kinds of pucks last night, is in Group A with Adam Clendening. Clendening deserves attention tomorrow night, as he’s fighting for the seventh defenseman role while Samuel Morin is out.

Additionally, Tyson Foerster received an extended look with Group A. He relieved Cam Atkinson, who played last night. Currently, Foerster is getting more time with the NHL roster in training camp than Linus Sandin. Foerster is standing out to the right people, starting with his skating, his substantial criticism since the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. Even by NHL standards, after a few steps, Foerster keeps up with the pace.

Rasmus Ristolainen and Travis Sanheim could match up as the top pair tomorrow night. Ristolainen has been working against star players like Claude Giroux in training camp. He’s pushing himself to break away from his reputation with the Buffalo Sabres. For as much skepticism as I’ve put on Ristolainen, his physicality has impressed.

Morgan Frost grouped on the second powerplay unit with Joel Farabee and Derick Brassard. The first powerplay unit is about what you would expect (Claude Giroux, Travis Konecny, Sean Couturier, and James van Riemsdyk.) Keith Yandle gets the top reps instead of Ivan Provorov or Ryan Ellis.

Against the Islanders, Philadelphia couldn’t convert on the powerplay, and the penalty kill surrendered a goal. They had great opportunities on the powerplay but the Islanders, who hadn’t practiced special teams in training camp yet, overpowered the Flyers. 

Special teams played a critical role in the dumpster fire that was 2020-2021.

Post Session Vigneault

Cam Atkinson was not practicing today. That allowed a closer look at Tyson Foerster with Group A. Alain Vigneault advised Atkinson was taking a maintenance day; no injuries or illness.

“There’s definitely a solid improvement on his part. He’s caught my attention. He’s caught the coaches attention.”

Alain Vigneault; 9/29/2021

Vigneault sang praise for Foerster. His invitation to training camp shows what the Philadelphia Flyers think of him.

Carter Hart received top marks for his performance against the New York Islanders. Vigneault noted an “improved battle level” regarding Hart. Without question, Hart remains at the forefront of all storylines heading into 2021-2022. Aside from that, the injuries sustained within the lineup take precedence.

There has not been an update on Wade Allison in terms of a recovery timeframe. Vigneault revealed they’re still “in the process” to determine if surgery is required. Once the doctors decide the possibility of surgery to repair his high ankle sprain, a timetable will become clear.

Photo Credit: Alex McIntyre