If you are worried about the skaters with an opportunity to crack the Philadelphia Flyers roster, don’t be. They will be the focus of the 2023 Flyers Training Camp.
Brent Flahr isn’t worried about prospects like Tyson Foerster, Bobby Brink, or Elliot Desnoyers. During the 2023 Flyers Rookie Camp, he is paying closer attention to skaters like Matt Brown, Denver Barkey, and Zayde Wisdom. Brown and Wisdom are playing to make the Lehigh Valley Phantoms roster. Barkey will assemble with the London Knights in the OHL in 2023-2024.
Foerster and Brink worked for chances in the 4-2 loss to the Rangers. Brink notched an assist; his shot was deflected by Barkey for a rebound goal by Brown. Desnoyers, on the top line each game, didn’t make an impact.
“Tyson was frustrated. He worked, he competed. Brinker, the same. His execution was off. Desi looked off a little bit, but I know he’s come in great shape. He’s been here a lot of the summer and worked hard.”Brent Flahr; 9/18/2023
A wake-up call for the prospects on the cusp, the 2023 Rookie Camp doesn’t define an offseason workload.
Brown and Wisdom made the most of their time on the ice. Ian Laperriere praised Wisdom mightily, and Brown caught the attention of just about everyone as a camp invite. In April, the Phantoms agreed to a professional tryout with Brown. If he makes the Phantoms roster, Flahr mentioned an entry-level contract wouldn’t be out of the question if Brown develops in the AHL.
“Just with their contracts, he’ll have to earn a spot in Lehigh, and we’ll see how his game develops there.”Brent Flahr; 9/18/2023
According to Laperriere, Wisdom was the Flyers “best player,” concluding a 3-1 loss on Saturday. He bounced between the Phantoms and Reading Royals last season. His ECHL visit helped him regain his best playing style, improving his confidence throughout the offseason.
“He [Wisdom] worked hard off the ice, especially this summer. You guys saw him, when we first drafted him; he had a long ways to go physically, as far as conditioning. He’s worked extremely hard on that side of it. Last year, he was spinning his tires; he lost his confidence; got away from the type of game he needed to play.”Brent Flahr; 9/18/2023
Everything about these two games versus the Rangers included Wisdom reaching back into his bag. He displayed hands, power skating, and finished at the crease on Talyn Boyko. However, where he thrived isn’t his best:
“He can shoot the puck, and we want him to score, but the biggest part of his game for him to be effective and earn a spot in the lineup is physical play; being involved and being a pain in the ass to play against. You saw that this weekend; once that was in place and he was moving his feet, he’s involved, and things are happening for him.”Brent Flahr; 9/18/2023
An appearance in a 2023 Flyers Preseason exhibition is likely for Brown and Wisdom. They’ll receive an extended look with Foerster, Brink, and Desnoyers.
Defensively, Emil Andrae and Adam Ginning earned praise. Andrae is putting together a consistent 2023 Rookie Camp. John Tortorella is excited to watch Andrae at the 2023 Training Camp. Flahr said this about his performance on Saturday:
“Especially in the third period, I thought he [Andrae] elevated his game.”Brent Flahr; 9/18/2023
A puck-moving defenseman and a very decisive passer, Andrae has top-four potential. He is an LD, like Ginning, but Ginning takes a more simplified approach. Comparably, both defensemen are on track to appear on the Flyers roster this season. Of all the dark horse candidates to earn a spot on a wide-open NHL roster, Andrae and Ginning looked the sharpest versus the Rangers.
“I want to be a defensive guy. I want to do that to help the team I am playing for. I take a lot of pride in playing good defensively. If that’s keeping me under the radar, that’s not up to me. That’s what I’m good at, and that’s what I’m going to keep doing.”Adam Ginning; 9/18/2023
Ginning paired with Oliver Bonk on Friday, and Andrae combined with Helge Grans on Saturday. Those defensemen earned praise from Daniel Briere, who addressed the media following the final 2023 Rookie Camp practice:
“On defense, I was really happy to see the way Bonk played; being only eighteen years old, he held his ground in the one game he played. Emil Andrae was better as the game went on. Adam Ginning looked really, really strong. We’ll probably see him at some point play here. Grans, I thought, had a really good game with Emil on the second night. Those are all guys that did really well and will get a chance to get in some games in the preseason to show us what they can do with the veterans.”Daniel Briere; 9/19/2023
The decision-makers will have the final say on who makes the roster on opening night. Briere, Flahr, and Tortorella have an eagle eye on skaters like Foerster, Brink, Desnoyers, Andrae, Ginning, and Grans.
Tortorella and Briere share a similar hockey philosophy; an NHL player has to earn a roster spot, and if they aren’t reaching their full potential, additional time in the AHL is an option. The decision, in part, is up to the skaters. They dictate the rebuild, as repeated by Briere on numerous occasions. A season ago, Cam York and Foerster were among the cuts before the Flyers’ regular season. Then, both emerged as the game-changing skaters Tortorella knew they would become.
(Photo by Joshua Sarner/Icon Sportswire)