Chuck Fletcher led with a dark cloud before ending his press conference by ensuring that skeptics should expect to be surprised by the Philadelphia Flyers.
The dark cloud was the injury report entering the 2022-2023 season. Sean Couturier is seeking a second opinion for a herniated disc. Bobby Brink is recovering from surgery on a torn labrum on his hip. Patrick Brown is ‘week-to-week’ as he recovers from back surgery. Fletcher said it would be a “bonus” if Ryan Ellis plays this season.
Typically, teams decide who will be on the long-term injured reserve list this time of the offseason. Ellis is a lock, and Couturier is a prime candidate. Now might be the best opportunity for the youth to grow into an established NHL role or make the Flyers roster.
“This is probably the best opportunity since I’ve been here for young players to step up and either earn a bigger role on the NHL team or even to make the team. We have a big wave of young talent coming into our system this year. Some will play [in] Lehigh, some will play here. It’s an exciting opportunity for a lot of younger players.”Chuck Fletcher; 9/22/2022
These opportunities generate interest. Who might earn a role in Philadelphia? What names might make the team who previously were on the cusp? The youth movement, despite the state of the franchise, remains exciting.
During his media address, Fletcher acknowledged ten players under 25 years old could make the Flyers roster.
“Depending on how camp goes, we could have up to ten players on our roster 25-years-old or younger.”Chuck Fletcher; 9/22/2022
Already, that includes players such as:
- Joel Farabee
- Travis Konecny
- Morgan Frost
- Owen Tippett
- Ivan Provorov
- Cam York
- Carter Hart
- Felix Sandstrom
Right now, those names are according to CapFriendly. No one knows what the lineup will be, not even John Tortorella.
“To start assessing ‘if he’s out, what happens?’ I can’t tell you because I don’t know what the team’s going to be.”John Tortorella; 9/22/2022
The roster features a ton of moving parts. ‘Camp Tortorella’ marks the beginning of a new era. Everything is up for grabs. Some recalls performed well with Mike Yeo. They’ll have to recapture those positive impressions from last season while earning the trust of a new head coach.
On the Cusp
Attard received rave reviews between the 2022 Flyers Development and Rookie Camps. Mike O’Connell is working patiently with Attard, seeing the comparisons and potential in his game to Erik Cernak or Jacob Trouba.
The right half of the defense includes Tony DeAngelo, Rasmus Ristolainen, and Justin Braun. Attard could appear on the roster around the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline; Braun might return another draft pick to the Flyers before recalling Attard. Another possibility, if Attard continues at his pace, could feature him replacing Braun, making the veteran the seventh defenseman. That would upgrade the quality of defensive depth at the NHL level, sending Nick Seeler or Kevin Connauton through waivers.
The Cates Brothers did breed interest ahead of the 2022 Flyers Rookie Series with the New York Rangers. Noah built off of his stint with Philadelphia last season. At the end of the 2022 Flyers Rookie Camp, Ian Laperriere sounded almost sure that Noah wouldn’t be with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
Noah seems to be dynamic on the ice. He buzzed on a line with his brother, Jackson, and Tyson Foerster. Furthermore, the Cates Brothers combined for an odd-man rush on the penalty kill, securing the shorthanded goal. He’ll push to start opening night at the 3LW role, possibly reuniting ‘The Kids Line,’ if Tortorella sees fit.
While Joel Farabee is conditioning at the 2022 Flyers Training Camp, he isn’t participating in full-contact sessions. There will be a buffer where Farabee has to survive multiple full-practice sessions before rejoining the lineup.
Until Farabee is for his NHL return, Noah is the best option for recall at LW.
Consistently, Zamula has earned ice time at the NHL level since joining the Flyers in 2020-2021. The defensive defenseman is a change of pace, considering the makeup relies heavily on offensive-minded blue liners. Unfortunately, there is formidable depth ahead of him. It would take a drastic change for Zamula to make the Flyers lineup.
Fletcher mentioned that he opened communications with the intent to extend Travis Sanheim. Cam York will be on the opening night roster, beginning his journey as a full-time NHL player in Philadelphia. Ivan Provorov will have an opportunity to stabilize with DeAngelo. There isn’t much room for Zamula, and he won’t sit in the press box as a healthy scratch when the AHL offers purpose. Zamula makes sense for Lehigh Valley, but injuries could change that, as last season showed.
His thesis for 2022-2023 is loud and clear:
“I’m not going there to participate. I’m going there to make an impression.”Wade Allison; 9/6/2022
Similarly to Zamula, his position is healthy and set. It would take a noteworthy change, or injury, for Allison to fill in at RW. Cam Atkinson, Travis Konecny, and Owen Tippett address the position in the top nine. Zach MacEwen, rightfully, takes the 4RW role.
His ‘chair,’ as Laperriere would put it, could involve playing on his off-wing. Wherever he is needed, Allison can excel. It all depends on the decisions Tortorella makes at the end of the 2022 Flyers Training Camp.
(Photo by Joshua Sarner/Icon Sportswire)