Yesterday, the off-ice portion of the Philadelphia Flyers development camp began. Today, prospects and invites will step onto the ice, including the latest draft class.
The development camp will feature four practices, and a day of off-ice activities, concluding with a three-on-three tournament on Friday.
Ahead of the 2021-2022 season, Tyson Foerster had an impressive development camp. Along with Foerster, Isaac Ratcliffe was outstanding. Unfortunately for Foerster, he broke his tibia against the Hershey Bears. Ratcliffe played ten games under Mike Yeo, logging four points (1G,3A.)
Alain Vigneault was the head coach of the Flyers at the start of the last development camp. Today, the franchise is two head coaches removed. It’s the first development camp for Philadelphia under the John Tortorella flag.
Development Camp Roster
Along with the current prospect pool, there were eleven camp invites. There are eight forwards, one defenseman, and a couple of goaltenders.
Jacob Gaucher, Theo Rochette, and Yaniv Perets are three unknowns who pique interest. Gaucher (C; Baie-Comeau; QMJHL) and Rochette (C; Quebec; QMJHL) are two camp invites who averaged over a point per game. Perets (G; Quinnipiac University; NCAA) allowed less than 1.20GAA in 31 games.
Ryan Ellis’ timetable for a return remains cloudy. In all likelihood, it’s the reason why Chuck Fletcher found it appropriate to make a trade for Tony DeAngelo. Joel Farabee won’t return until after the season begins following his surgery. Now, it’s Bobby Brink.
Anthony SanFilippo first reported about the hip injury Brink is dealing with from earlier in his offseason training. The severity and length of recovery are not confirmed. Brink will not participate in the Philadelphia Flyers development camp.
Goaltenders reported to the ice first. The only goaltender to not be a camp invite was Samuel Ersson. He practiced with Perets and Jonathan Lemieux (G, Moncton Wildcats; QMJHL.)
Then, Cutter Gauthier stepped onto the ice for the first time at the Flyers Training Center. As advertised, Gauthier makes shooting a puck seem so casual. Drafting a weapon like him with the fifth overall pick, especially when he can play center or left-wing, is an intelligent decision. All eyes were on Gauthier on day one. He met with the media following his first session:
“I think I feel most comfortable and most dominant in the middle. I think I play really responsible on the defensive side of the game.”Cutter Gauthier; 7/11/2022
I mentioned earlier that Foerster was a stand-out from the 2021 Flyers Development Camp. He is a vital piece to the prospect core. If the Philadelphia Flyers can develop a young forward crop to complement the current roster, Foerster and Gauthier might be the nucleus.
Gauthier has a wrist shot described as effortless, and Foerster has a smooth, powerful slapshot. Both of these prospects address critical elements Philadelphia lacked in 2021-2022. Foerster hoped to add to his first season with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, but injury disrupted his season. The 2020-2021 season offered the largest sample size of Foerster in the AHL, notching 17pts (10G,7A) in 24 games.
“I was with Kjell Samuelsson for a bunch of it, and Slava [the skating coach] because I wasn’t able to stick handle, or use a stick or anything. I was actually on the ice, skating here during that time until I could start stick handling or shooting.”Tyson Foerster; 7/11/2022
If you aren’t familiar with this name, he is the Philadelphia Flyers Senior Advisor to the General Manager/Player Development. He provided information about the trajectory of Samu Tuomaala following the first session:
“He bounced around a little bit too much. The plan for him, I believe, is that he’s going to back to Finland and get with his team he’s going to play [for] next year, solidify his position on a good team in a great organization with a very good coach. Hopefully, he earns that spot, keeps it, gets great time on the powerplay and penalty killing, and I think that is really most important.”Mike O’Connell; 7/11/2022
Tuomaala was on the move often last season, spending two games with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms before spending time on two teams in the Liiga (Finnish Elite League,) interrupting his development.
He also gave a spicy comparison to a current Flyers prospect. O’Connell wants Ronnie Attard to learn from Erik Cernak. Last season, Attard did make his debut on a pair with Keith Yandle. In 15 games (50.3%CF, 24HIT, 6TK, -2,) Attard flashed potential despite awful support just about everywhere on the ice.
“If he can provide stability, say like Cernak [from Tampa Bay]; steady. Let’s get him to that point, and then let’s see if we can grow his game into something more.”Mike O’Connell; 7/11/2022
O’Connell said that he believes Attard has a higher upside. With that said, extra attention is on Attard and his growth. He has an opportunity to be back with Philadelphia if Ellis isn’t ready to play.
(Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire)