The Philadelphia Flyers can officially work towards their 2022-2023 goals when they hit the ice at the Flyers Training Center in a little over a month for training camp.
Last season was embarrassing for all parties involved. Attendance figures dropped, and a vocal sect of the fanbase went as far as putting bags on their heads. All the doom and gloom is very present, and it’s understandable. The feeling is that the team doesn’t have a plan, especially following an off-season opportunity to sign Johnny Gaudreau under the impression that Chuck Fletcher and Dave Scott were fishing for an “aggressive retool.”
Reuniting John Tortorella with Brad Shaw was the silver lining of Philadelphia’s off-season. Trading for Tony DeAngelo and signing Nicolas Deslauriers are two attempts at aiding special teams. DeAngelo comes alive on the powerplay, and Fletcher defends Deslauriers as penalty kill help:
New faces making a difference starts with Tortorella. The team has personality, for better or worse, but how will that translate on the ice?
Training camp provides a first look. Will DeAngelo and Ivan Provorov gel? Is Felix Sandstrom ready to make the NHL leap as the 2G? How will “The Kids Line” develop under Tortorella’s tutelage? These are a few nuggets before the Flyers arrive in Voorhees Township, NJ.
Provorov and DeAngelo
PSN’s Anthony Mazziotti marked this as his focal point before training camp. He isn’t wrong; the top defensive pair is a mystery. In 2021-2022, Ryan Ellis missed 76 games. Currently, everything is trending towards Provorov and DeAngelo holding the line, with Ellis likely on long-term injured reserve.
Both of these defensemen complement each other. On the powerplay, Provorov is mentally prepared to be a playmaker, while DeAngelo is a shooter. In a powerplay unit consisting of three forwards and two defensemen, the ask is for Provorov to take a step towards his 2019-2020 self.
DeAngelo, borrowing a healthy season, would be the first stable top pair partner Provorov had since 2019-2020. Since Matt Niskanen, the Philadelphia Flyers took a chance on Erik Gustafsson and Ellis but consistently filled in first pair minutes alongside Provorov with Justin Braun.
It is about time he gets a chance.
Of course, he will have competition. PSN’s Nate Tennesen pointed out the backup goaltender position battle as his focal point ahead of the Philadelphia Flyers training camp next month. Samuel Ersson and Troy Grosenick will also compete for the backup role.
In 2021-2022, Sandstrom was the only goaltender not named Carter Hart or Martin Jones to start an NHL game for the Flyers. He put together a few quality starts but turned in a 0-4-1 record with a 91%SV and 3.23GAA.
Sandstrom is the favorite to secure the backup role. Ersson engaged in the development camp. He was the only goaltender not to be a camp invite on July 11th, 2022. A more meta goaltender battle to watch for would be between Ersson and Grosenick. It only takes one injury, or a poor stretch of performances from Sandstrom, to possibly consider giving them a chance in 2022-2023 as Philadelphia aims to stabilize.
He signed a 1yr, $800k extension with the Philadelphia Flyers in the middle of July. He has to put everything together this season under Tortorella. Confidence and consistency are two burdens that go hand-in-hand. A lot depends on Morgan Frost and how he handles training camp. No doubt, 2022-2023 needs to be a breakthrough season.
He excelled on “The Kids Line.” Frost played some of his best hockey in 2021-2022 with Noah Cates and Owen Tippett. This line has a synergy that needs to remain intact for the sake of the Flyers’ youth. A lot of weight bares on what Cates said following a shutout loss to the Winnipeg Jets on April 27th, 2022:
“It’s nice to be around some younger guys. It feels a little easier to talk to those guys, and they’re a little younger and a little bit more personable.”Noah Cates; 4/27/2022
Where confidence plays a factor in elevating Frost, Cates implies it’s easier to play with him and Tippett. Towards the end of the season, this third line might’ve been the most consistent on the team. Whether or not “The Kids Line” remains intact depends on how well they execute for Tortorella.
(Photo Credit: Alex McIntyre)