Flyers’ Tortorella says top prospect ‘deserves to be here’

Flyers' Noah Cates
NEW YORK, NY – APRIL 03: Philadelphia Flyers Left Wing Noah Cates (49) is pictured prior to the National Hockey League game between the Philadelphia Flyers and the New York Rangers on April 3, 2022 at Madison Square Garden in New York, NY. (Photo by Joshua Sarner/Icon Sportswire)

Every NHL team must finalize their opening night rosters on Monday afternoon. Currently, the Philadelphia Flyers have 30 players remaining on the roster. Zack MacEwen and Cooper Marody were placed on waivers yesterday.

Philadelphia will begin its 2022-2023 campaign on Thursday versus the New Jersey Devils at the Wells Fargo Center. Following a preseason that ended with a 1-4-1 record, the Flyers have lingering questions surrounding what their final roster will look like on opening night.

Training camp is the perfect opportunity for younger players to prove that they are worthy and ready for a full-time NHL role. One player who stood out the most during training camp this year was forward Noah Cates.

Cates made his Flyers debut on March 29th, 2022, against the Minnesota Wild. He played in 16 games, scoring nine points (5G, 4A,) with Philadelphia towards the end of the 2021-2022 season. Cates made an instant impact after signing his ELC, but there was no guarantee that he would make the team heading into 2022-2023.

A Strong Impression

Before training camp, John Tortorella didn’t know who Noah Cates was. After displaying his talents over these last few weeks, Tortorella now knows him.

“He probably had the best camp, for me, at least getting to know a guy. I didn’t even know who he was. He’s right there at the top as far as the camp that he had versus all 65 or whatever we had here. He’s here, he deserves to be here, and he deserves the attention that we’re giving him as far as the spots we’re gonna probably put him in.”

John Tortorella; 10/9/22

Cates is a versatile forward who can play center and wing. Heading into 2022-2023, Tortorella will slot him at center with Sean Couturier injured. As time goes on, Cates could bounce between different spots.

“Any coach, you got a guy that can play both positions in utility, it’s really good to have. The thing with him, it’s not so much playing a couple of positions, he’s a pretty smart player too. So you can bounce him around all the lines right on up through the lineup. I’m gonna have him at center because we need a center, especially with Couts [Sean Couturier] out. In the game, I could bounce around a lot of different spots.”

John Tortorella; 10/9/22

In the final game of the preseason versus the New York Islanders, Cates appeared on the first line alongside Kevin Hayes and Owen Tippett. That first line was buzzing all over the ice in the finale. Scoring opportunities were abundant and all three players meshed well together.

Cates and Tippett built their foundation last season on ‘The Kids Line’, including Morgan Frost. Cates finished the 2022-2023 preseason with one goal in five games and an average ice time of 16:02.

Onto 2022-2023

Cates will likely make the team, though the roster is not yet finalized. Tortorella gave high praise regarding the 23-year-old and will give him every opportunity to succeed.

Coming into camp, Noah was prepared for Tortorella. He put in the work before and during training camp. Management isn’t going to regret keeping him on the opening night roster.

(Photo by Joshua Sarner/Icon Sportswire)