Debatably, Egor Zamula was the most surprising prospect to make the 2022-2023 Philadelphia Flyers roster. The other up for debate is Samuel Ersson.
Between the Lehigh Valley Phantoms and the Flyers, players will exchange fluidly. Chuck Fletcher provided high praise, especially to Zamula. He will likely start beside Justin Braun on opening night.
“I don’t think the competition’s ever over. There could be moves you have to make short-term. Whether it’s the first month, or first couple months, even the first half of the year, I think you’re going to see a lot of movement between Lehigh Valley and here.”Chuck Fletcher; 10/12/2022
Zamula held his own in two short stints with Philadelphia.
He debuted in 2020-2021, appearing in two games. Last season, Zamula added ten more to his NHL experience. It doesn’t take long for Zamula to find a physical groove. He takes up a lot of space and doesn’t shy away from hits. He put in the work this offseason, adding twelve pounds of muscle.
“He takes up a lot of space. A defenseman that we think sees the ice really well. He lacks experience; he’s going to be under some pressure when the real stuff happens, but we think he can make a play to get us out of our endzone because I think he sees it. We like the way his camp’s been, and he’s one that we want to develop.”John Tortorella; 10/12/2022
Certainly, the consensus earmarked Cam York to hold the 3LD role on opening night. A defensive-defenseman, Zamula fits the style of play Tortorella wants to install. His physicality and tenacity made it hard to cut from the final roster. Starting the season on the Flyers roster is “a dream come true,” said Zamula.
Tortorella emphasized that the younger players will see the ice. Instead of carrying seven defensemen, Philadelphia has eight. The organization has to see who will be a part of the solution on the ice, whether you’re a prospect or a veteran. In the 3LD role, Zamula battles Nick Seeler before York rejoins the competition.
“Let’s see if we can develop him more up here versus just another season in the American League. That’ll be up to him, how he plays.”Chuck Fletcher; 10/12/2022
Tomorrow, Zamula has his best opportunity to establish himself as a full-time NHL competitor. A part of his development, his rise to the opening night roster might not be permanent. Again, he’ll have to keep the same mantra from training camp. Make it hard for team management to demote. Zamula is ready for the first faceoff of the season, and so is the bench boss:
“Let’s play. That’s when everything starts coming together as far as accountability, conflict, good stuff, bad stuff, music on, music off, lousy days, good days; when all the games start being played.”John Tortorella; 10/12/2022
In the defensive zone, Zamula makes the right plays. He sees the game at an advanced level, catching the attention of Tortorella and Fletcher. Zamula is a structural fit for Tortorella, which will alleviate pressure off Carter Hart.
Hart already points out what he likes about Zamula:
“He’s got good vision; he breaks the puck out well. He sees the ice very well; he reads the game at a very high level. He’s got some time to develop in the minors over the last few years, and I think he’s done really well.”Carter Hart; 10/12/2022
With eyes on opening night, Zamula will receive the spotlight. The Flyers host the New Jersey Devils at 7pm.
(Photo by John McCreary/Icon Sportswire)