What a time it is to be a prospect on the Philadelphia Flyers.
Noah Cates closed the 2021-2022 season on the Flyers roster. He made the jump straight from the University of Minnesota-Duluth to the NHL. During his sixteen-game arrival, Mike Yeo served as the bench boss.
John Tortorella is a stark contrast to Yeo. Cam Atkinson might be an open source of expectations based on his experience in previous Tortorella training camps, but Cates called upon a different source:
“I think going back to my junior days with my coach there, I think they’re pretty similar, and I talked to him throughout the summer about knowing what to expect.”Noah Cates; 9/15/2022
Accountability, a buzzword ahead of the 2022-2023 season, means players, even the attendees at the 2022 Philadelphia Flyers Rookie Camp, must understand that previous impressions are void. A new coach means earning trust all over again. Cates is eager to hit the ice with like-minded teammates; a point he made about playing with Morgan Frost and Owen Tippett last season on ‘The Kids Line.’
“That’s the big thing with this camp, proving it to the new coaching staff. I think every guy is kind of in the same boat now, which is good. Keep accountability high and standards high as well.”Noah Cates; 9/15/2022
It doesn’t stop with Cates. Ian Laperriere seemed to marvel at how many players reported to camp early to work, improve, and prepare for Tortorella:
“I think they had 40 guys here two weeks ago. I’ve never seen that. I’ve been here for thirteen years, I’ve never seen that.”Ian Laperriere; 9/15/2022
A recurring theme of a Tortorella camp is an emphasis on heavy skating. Cates welcomes the challenge. After all, he stated his focus points in training. He’s locked on his skating, ready to test his might if Philadelphia calls his name.
“Endurance; keeping up in 82 games. Just really worked on skating, getting a little faster on-the-ice, off-the-ice, and trying to go every day, every other day, pretty hard to be ready to skate with the big guys.”Noah Cates; 9/15/2022
That is the goal. Cates logged 9pts (5G, 4A) in his sixteen-game run. His production last season isn’t renting space in his head. The Flyers were in dire straits, and Cates stuck to his guns, becoming a treat to watch as 2021-2022 concluded.
“I’m not going to be too emotional with it; up-and-down with looking at numbers. Just kind of focus on myself and put my best foot forward every day.”Noah Cates; 9/15/2022
Opportunities will present themselves throughout the system. Whether Philadelphia or Lehigh Valley, the budding prospects are blooming in a new direction. Players floundering between the NHL and AHL roster will report to Laperriere about what Tortorella does. Both coaches commit to their lineup and team but communicate mostly between players. Frankly, Laperriere is excited to work and learn from Tortorella.
“Good mentor, even if I’m not here every day to see how he adjusts with the call ups. I’ll pick the kids brain when they come back to me, see what Torts is doing. I’m sure I’ll be talking to Torts, not too often, but once in a while. I’m actually very excited to work with him.”Ian Laperriere; 9/15/2022
Both coaches have similar expectations and standards from their players. Cates impressed in the offensive zone, winning board battles and extending possessions on the forecheck. Tortorella, according to Atkinson, would call that ‘playing the right way.’ Laperriere firmly believes that is the difference between a winning team and a losing team:
“That’s what I believe in. You can talk about system all day, but it’s the little things in the game that’s a big difference between winning teams and losing teams. Everyone talks about Tampa; they’re out of this world, they’re great, they’re skilled and everything. It’s not why they win. They win because they do the little things right. They made the right decision with the puck at the right time; and Torts, he made a career out of coaching like that.”Ian Laperriere; 9/15/2022
On track with the expectations and standards, Cates is an exciting prospect to follow during the 2022 Flyers Rookie Camp and the 2022 Flyers Training Camp beginning next week. Cates made the leap from the NCAA to the NHL, flying by the seat of his pants. Imagine with the correct preparation what he’ll do.
As soon as Saturday, Laperriere hinted Cates will lineup with his brother, Jackson, and Tyson Foerster as Philadelphia battles the New York Rangers rookies.
“We need to be really good, just kinda with our age; Jackson being a little older and Tyson being a highly touted prospect. We definitely are looking to dominate.”Noah Cates; 9/15/2022
(Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire)