The 2023 Flyers Training Camp is officially underway.
Yesterday, players received their training camp manuals at the Flyers Training Center. Today, they hit the ice, entering the skating sessions of ‘Camp Tortorella.’ John Tortorella began the 2022 Flyers Training Camp the same, memorably with Nicolas Deslauriers fighting to finish the skate.
Today, the Philadelphia Flyers split into three teams of skaters over as many skating sessions. Each session is an hour long. Tortorella challenges his players to finish the skate; it doesn’t matter how, just that it happens. Cam York didn’t complete the first session with the conviction you would expect, but he battled. Mission accomplished.
- Denver Barkey, Adam Brooks, Sean Couturier, Brendan Furry, Rhett Gardner, Alexis Gendron, Travis Konecny, Owen Tippett, Samu Tuomaala, Zayde Wisdom, Emil Andrae, Helge Grans, Adam Karashik, Mason Millman, Rasmus Ristolainen, Cam York, Nolan Maier, Cal Petersen
- Jordy Bellerive, Bobby Brink, Matt Brown, Noah Cates, Elliot Desnoyers, Tyson Foerster, Jacob Gaucher, Scott Laughton, Olle Lycksell, Cooper Marody, Oliver Bonk, Adam Ginning, Travis Sanheim, Carter Sotheran, Marc Staal, Sean Walker, Yegor Zamula, Samuel Ersson, Felix Sandstrom
- Wade Allison, Cam Atkinson, JR Avon, Nicolas Deslauriers, Joel Farabee, Jonathan Fauchon, Morgan Frost, Garnet Hathaway, Tanner Laczynski, Ryan Poehling, Ronnie Attard, Louie Belpedio, Matteo Mann, Victor Mete, Ethan Samson, Sam Sedley, Nick Seeler, Will Zmolek, Carson Bjarnason, Carter Hart
Couturier looked refreshed on the ice. Unsurprisingly, Konecny was smooth sailing.
Tomorrow begins the first day of practice, scrimmages, and off-ice workouts through Sunday. On Monday, the Flyers start their preseason schedule on the road against the New Jersey Devils. Next Saturday will be the first home preseason game versus the Devils. Here are just a few storylines to keep in mind as the Flyers embrace the grind of a new season:
Not only is he back and active, but he seems to be moving fluidly. Couturier experienced his first skating day with Tortorella, but he feels good. Scrimmages and exhibitions will present challenges, simulating the pace and feel of a NHL game to prepare for the regular season. Feeling good is fantastic, but it’s critical that Couturier finds his confidence in training camp:
“I let the management, coaches know that I want to play as many games as I can, just to get back into it; get a feel. It’s one thing to be hurt for a long period of time, but to not actually play hockey for a year and a half in game, it’s different. It’s not like practice or anything.”Sean Couturier; 9/21/2023
Couturier won the Frank J. Selke Trophy the last time he played a complete NHL season (against a full range of teams, unlike 2020-2021). Doubters logically question if he can return to his 2019-2020 form after multiple back surgeries. In 2023-2024, Couturier will be playing to prove to himself and Philadelphia that he is the player he was, if not better.
Cam Atkinson and Joel Farabee
Both of these players had the same surgery. Atkinson missed last season, fixing a herniated disc in his neck and recovering from an atrophy in his left bicep. Farabee returned in 2022-2023 after disc replacement stemming from a benchpress workout.
“It’s going to be a long season, but I feel the best I’ve felt in a long time. I’m excited to get to work, prove people wrong, and to show what I’m capable of doing. It feels good to feel normal; feel myself on the ice. I think that’s what’s most exciting for me.”Cam Atkinson; 9/21/2023
Anxiety plays a critical factor for players returning from these kinds of injuries. Couturier went as long as Atkinson without playing an NHL game. Atkinson feels good like Couturier, but he’s ready for an opponent to take a line at him, testing out his body. Last season, when Farabee took his first real hit of the season, there was a collective sigh of relief. He survived and didn’t miss a game.
In 2021-2022, Farabee contributed to 17/50 points scored by Atkinson. Atkinson featured on 17/39 points by Farabee during that campaign. A return by Atkinson could mean a uptick in production for Farabee if they can rekindle this on ice synergy.
Philadelphia is the land of opportunity.
“When you’re a team that has very publicly stated that we’re starting over and trying to get this right, there is opportunity. It’s always interesting to see what happens in a camp when there is that type of opportunity.”John Tortorella; 9/21/2023
Forwards battling for a spot on the Flyers roster include Brink, Foerster, Desnoyers, Lycksell, and Laczynski. Of those five, Foerster is the favorite. He finished his debut stint on a five-game point streak.
Laczynski, Lycksell, and Desnoyers will battle for a fourth line role. Fitting in at 4C seems to be Poehling. Lycksell is already a part of a crowded RW room. Foerster and Brink, in all likelihood, box out Lycksell for a NHL role. If they both make the Flyers roster, they’ll uproot Allison and Hathaway, which keeps Lycksell with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
Defensively, the unit is very young. Staal, Seeler, and Walker could start the season in their second and third pairing positions, but Zamula, Mete, Attard, Ginning, and Andrae present a challenge.
Mete is a young defender who had an uneventful season with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 11 games, playing even less with the Toronto Marlies. Andrae received praise from Ian Laperriere and Daniel Briere at the 2023 Flyers Rookie Camp, making the right impression. Zamula and Ginning are defensive defensemen that’ll help the defense if paired with a puck moving partner (like York, Andrae, or Attard). Furthermore, Grans is another outside candidate not to be forgotten about.
Veterans will not get in the way of the youth. That is the shared philosophy of the 2023-2024 season by Briere and Tortorella. In an example, Tortorella explained how the Flyers plan to utilize the expertise and skill of Staal:
“He’s going to be a mentor. He’s going to be an offshoot of the coaching staff with some of the youth. Let’s face it; our back-end: Provy’s gone, Tony’s gone, Brauner’s gone. It’s a very young back-end. Marc Staal is going to play a major role with them, even if Marc isn’t playing some games along the year.”John Tortorella; 9/21/2023
Last season, Tortorella put the ‘A’ on Laughton. Couturier and Atkinson are other veterans that will help guide the locker room. Tortorella already mentioned he knows what players like Couturier can do on the ice. It’s about how they handle themselves in the locker room and on the bench; the room has changed.
Tippett, Farabee, Frost, Cates, and any new prospect who cracks the Flyers roster will have a weath of knowledge to pull from with a new room of leaders. This rebuild isn’t just a fresh coat of paint; Tortorella and Briere are embracing a franchise restructure from the footers.
(Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire)