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  • Flyers rookie Vorobyev has a chance to turn some heads After a lackluster 4-4 preseason for the Flyers, there were certainly some bright spots. Goalie-of-the-future Carter Hart posted the best stats of all the goalies. Shayne Gostisbehere looked to be in mid-season form. And now Mikhail Vorobyev has a chance with some serious talent centering the third line. Though most fans throughout the league don’t know the name Vorobyev yet, they likely will in just a few weeks. He will be surrounded with talent on opening night, with James van Riemsdyk playing on his left wing and Wayne Simmonds on the right. MIKHAIL VOROBYEV! FLYERS LEAD 1-0!#PHIvsNYI pic.twitter.com/wJP4Zzgk4d — NHL Daily 365 (@NHLDaily365) September 18, 2018 Strong camp and preseason paid off Though Vorobyev did have a strong season with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms last season, that isn’t why he got a spot. He did everything right during both summer camp and the preseason. Enough to impress GM Ron Hextall enough to give him a shot with the third line. “He’s been the best player in that position, it’s as simple as that,” claims Hextall. The 21-year-old center led the Flyers in points throughout the preseason, with two goals and five assists in seven games. As with most new players in the preseason, Vorobyev saw time on multiple lines with different wingers. Taylor Leier scores on a feed from Vorobyev after some hard work down below the goal line! Simmonds also involved in the forchecking. 1-0 #Flyers!#FlyersTalk #PHIvsBOS pic.twitter.com/qYFMDfDKuf — A Song of Ice & Flyers (@IceAndFlyers) September 29, 2018 “He seemed to have chemistry with whoever he played with,” said the GM. “He makes plays, smart plays, he’s hard on pucks.” And those kinds of smart plays are exactly what earned him his spot on the third line. And...
  • Flyers new mascot “Gritty” makes an interesting first impression After an uninspiring PR stunt during the Monday morning hours, the announcement finally came. The Flyers unveiled their new mascot, “Gritty”. Though it had been a well-known fact recently that the Flyers have had a new mascot in the works, his first impression was met with an abundance of criticism. Though some think he should be given a chance, others have expressed much more negative feelings. What exactly is he? Truthfully, we have no idea. The Flyers provided very little background information, other than a handful of little facts such as the fact that he loves hot dogs.  Visually, Gritty is a cross between Oscar the Grouch and Groundskeeper Willie. The amount of hair (fur?)  covering the new mascot is enough to provide for half of the locker room’s playoff beards. Join us in welcoming the newest member of the #Flyers Family, @GrittyNHL!! Learn more about Gritty: https://t.co/eQRwTtD54w pic.twitter.com/njHQO1824b — Philadelphia Flyers (@NHLFlyers) September 24, 2018 As if the creepy bearded smile wasn’t enough, the poor mascot was given googly-eyes. It is honestly dizzying just looking at him. Which would be fine, if he had some sort of intimidation factor. However, that’s not the case. The mascot is nightmare inducing, yet somehow has nothing about him that says “bully”. Gritty is not alone as an NHL castaway Fortunately for Gritty, he has competition as worst NHL mascot. The NHL is full of misunderstood head-cheerleaders. In Detroit, they have an octopus named Al, who isn’t operated by a human but hangs from the rafters. Due to the background of throwing octopi onto the ice during the playoffs, the mascot is at least relevant. But unless a “mascot” can walk the sections and high-five little kids, I want no part of it. ‘Al the Octopus’ fetches...
  • Who will net the most goals to win the Flyers scoring race in 2018-19? After an up-and-down season which saw the Flyers exit after one round of the playoffs, expectations have risen going into 2018-19. With the addition of James van Riemsdyk, the top-six is full of talented players. One thing that will be in question this season: who will win the Flyers scoring race? Leading by example In the 2017-18 season, Flyers captain Claude Giroux put the team on his back. Towards the end of the season, the Ontario-native exploded for eight goals in just the last five regular-season games. This was exactly what the Flyers needed, giving them the chance at a playoff series against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Giroux led the Flyers in goals for the first time in his career. He also led the team in assists with 68, and total points with 102. Moving the face-off master to the left wing was somewhat controversial at the beginning of the season, however, clearly, he feels comfortable there. 10 NHL seasons with the Philadelphia Flyers. 200 NHL goals. Congrats, Claude Giroux! pic.twitter.com/1cckfcv6Z5 — Flyers Nation (@FlyersNation) February 18, 2018 The expectations for the Flyers captain will remain high this coming season. Center Sean Couturier is coming off of a major breakout season, and winger Travis Konecny is expected to be a staple on Giroux’s opposite wing. The chemistry these three players had last year was impressive. Look to see more of that starting in October, and all three players to continue contributing heavily to the scoresheet. Giroux may not surpass the 100-point mark again, but expect him to be close. I don’t see him significantly slowing down anytime soon. The train won’t stop here Approaching a contract year, another Flyers scoring race candidate is Wayne Simmonds. This past...
  • Could Couturier’s injury mean a shake-up for the Flyers? During the early hours of the day on Wednesday, reports came out that Flyers first-line center Sean Couturier had reinjured his knee. The original injury stemmed from a collision with Radko Gudas during practice in April, in the midst of a playoff battle against the Penguins. Couturier’s injury turned out to be a torn MCL. #BREAKING Our @6abc video of @NHLFlyers star Sean Couturier going DOWN at practice today after colliding with Radko Gudas. He limps off with the trainer. Claude Giroux told me “it didn’t look good.” So far no update from the #Flyers #NHLPlayoffs2018 #EarnTomorrow pic.twitter.com/SlfplFKjUd — Jamie Apody (@JamieApody) April 17, 2018 Couturier went on to play through his injury, scoring five goals and four assists in five games. Losing the young star for a significant amount of time would be detrimental to the Flyer’s plan. How could Couturier’s injury impact the Flyer’s opening night roster? An already shallow pool at Center This offseason Flyers fans and analysts have been deliberating who would be the third-line center. With Couturier’s injury, that same debate now must be made for the second-line center position. Sophomore Nolan Patrick could certainly step into a first line role, but then what? Both Scott Laughton and Jordan Weal have emerged as early candidates for the third-line center role. Unless one of the two has hit a new stride this off-season, neither are considered ready to play top-six minutes. Unfortunately for the Flyers, Couturier’s injury could mean certain players will have to step into a bigger role. Weal does have the speed to center the second-line. The 26-year old did show flashes of brilliance at the end of the 2016-17 season. Playing with James van Riemsdyk and Jakub Voracek could potentially spark something. Jordan Weal ties the...
  • No shortage of talent on Flyers second line As of July 1st, 2018, James van Riemsdyk is back in Philadelphia. He will fill a spot on the Flyers second line, joining center Nolan Patrick and right-winger Jakub Voracek. All three top-ten draft picks have a ton of talent, and potential to complement each other. It’s my honest belief that this line can compete with some of the best lines in the NHL. There are so many factors into why this line will succeed. But what are those reasons, exactly? In the NHL, size matters Don’t get me wrong, some of the best players in the game are considered “undersized”. But having a big frame in the NHL is certainly a major advantage. And all three players on the Flyers second line are big guys. Patrick is currently the smallest, standing at  6-foot-2 and weighing in around 200 lbs. However, at only age 19, the Winnipeg-native could still be growing and most certainly will be adding muscle. Voracek is also 6-foot-2 but has 15 lbs on Patrick, and that weight helps him win battles along the boards. Getting the puck off of Voracek’s stick is not easy, as he uses that weight to his advantage. van Riemsdyk is the heftiest of the group, coming in at 6-foot-3 and 217 lbs. Voracek is so strong with the puck ? pic.twitter.com/ug6TH0ux0t — Broad Street Hockey (@BroadStHockey) December 10, 2016 The thing about being big is that you have to be able to keep up. And for all three of these players, speed is no downside. Patrick has been lauded for his skating abilities for a player of his size. Voracek has an explosive ability on his feet, being able to get around opponents in just his first few strides. That is not something you see...
  • Who will be the third line center on opening night? With the Flyers training camp less than two months away, the roster still has a few question marks. The re-acquisition of James van Riemsdyk has helped solidify the second line. The bottom six, however, is still somewhat up for grabs, mainly the position of third line center. Valtteri Filppula is now on the New York Islanders, leaving his spot on the third line vacant. It is now up to the players in training camp to decide who will take his spot. Can it come from the AHL? One player who is doing his part to earn a spot is Mikhail Vorobyev. The Russian center had a good season with the Phantoms in 2017-18, posting 29 points in 67 games. Those numbers may not seem that impressive, but his ability to create offense was one of the best on the team. Vorobyev’s play-making abilities between the wings have a lot of potential. Centering two players such as Wayne Simmonds and Oskar Lindblom would give him the ability to be creative. At 6-foot-2 and 195 lbs, the 21-year-old has enough size to play physical. Protecting the puck is one thing that sticks out about his game, and he can certainly win the battles along the boards. Nice shift by Vorobyev here. Draws a hooking penalty at the beginning of the video, maintains control of the puck along the boards, and starts a (short-lived) cycle. Three different Sound Tigers tried to take the puck from him and failed. pic.twitter.com/M5sP4cAoxF — Brad Keffer (@brad_keffer) March 10, 2018 Due to GM Ron Hextall’s patient approach, I could definitely see him wanting Vorobyev to spend another year in the AHL. A potential call-up due to an injury on the big club could let us see him...
  • USA Hockey Summer Showcase will include Flyers prospects Kicking off at the end of July, the USA World Junior Summer Showcase will commence in Kamloops, British Columbia. Among the players attending the event will be three Flyers prospects, all trying to leave their mark. The USA Hockey Summer Showcase is somewhat of a tryout, giving players their chance to earn a spot on the IIHF World Junior Championship team this December. Included on the roster are Flyers draftees Noah Cates, Joel Farabee and Jay O’Brien. With more talent coming from the United States each year, there are enough players for the U.S to field two separate teams. All three Flyers prospects, however, will be on “Team White”, playing together for their country. What to look for this tournament The Flyers have such a deep prospect pool, therefore sometimes it’s easy for guys to be forgotten about. Such could be the case for Cates. A phenomenal high-school standout from Stillwater, Minnesota, Cates was drafted in the fifth round by the Flyers in the 2017 NHL draft. The left winger played his first full season in the USHL this year for the Omaha Lancers, thereupon accumulating 55 points in 60 games. Stillwater forward, Noah Cates, scores an insane spin-o-rama goal in OT to send his team to the State Tournament. ? pic.twitter.com/DTaJMs3goo — Cole Padawer (@ColePadawer) February 28, 2016 https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js Committed to the University of Minnesota-Duluth this fall, the 6’1 lefty has long-term goals with the Flyers. “My goal for next season and the next year is to get bigger, stronger, and faster. I want to be a complete player,” said Cates during a 2017 interview. At only 165 lbs during the draft, he has his work cut out for him. though he has since put on almost 15 pounds in the past...
  • Is Claude Giroux the next most deserving of his generation’s All-Stars? Now that the Stanley Cup celebration dust has settled, and (most of) the city of Washington D.C. has sobered up, the question is… who is next? There were many elite players drafted between 2004-2007. Many have won the coveted trophy, but several have not. Claude Giroux is one of the latter. And also one of the most deserving. Who else is deserving? Which players you consider “elite” are up to personal opinion.  My view here is choosing players who have been NHL all-stars, and continue to contribute greatly to their organizations. From Giroux’s “draft generation”, I’ve included players from his draft, and up to two years prior and after. I am also not including goalies, because comparing their candidacy with an offensive player is quite difficult. Coming out of the draft in 2004, some of the top-notch players have been Alex Ovechkin, Evgeni Malkin, and arguably Blake Wheeler. Ovechkin and Malkin have both hoisted the Cup, with Wheeler still chasing that dream. 2005 had a much deeper draft. Sidney Crosby, Anze Kopitar, T.J. Oshie, Kris Letang are the names that stick out (besides a cluster of fantastic goaltenders). Every one of these players has a ring on their finger already. In the 2006 NHL draft, at pick number 22, Bobby Clarke infamously forgot Giroux’s name, though chose him nonetheless. Other world-class players selected that year were Jonathan Toews, Nicklas Backstrom, Phil Kessel, and Brad Marchand. Once again, all players but Giroux have won an NHL championship. Those who came after Once Giroux started his career in the pros, the two following drafts also yielded some fantastic players. In the 2007 draft, Patrick Kane was selected first overall (still a sore subject to Flyers fans). P.K. Subban and Jamie Benn were also drafted...
  • An abundance of talent at Flyers development camp Starting with last Wednesday’s Trial on the Isle, the 2018 Flyers development camp is underway this weekend in Vorhees, New Jersey. Since Ron Hextall has taken over as GM, Flyers fans have been impatiently waiting to see the talent he’s acquired through the draft. With development camp in full effect, let’s take a look at five players who could make an impact on the Flyers in the near future. The stars of development camp The Flyers drafted a goalie in 2016 named Carter Hart, have you heard of him? The supposed savior of the franchise is coming off his best career year. Posting a 31-6-3 record including seven shutouts earned Hart his WHL “Top Goalie” award. Playing for the Everett Silvertips, the 19-year-old managed a 1.6 GAA and .947 save percentage. For Hart, this will be his third and hopefully last development camp with the Flyers. His focus, work ethic, and form in the crease have earned him a spot on the Phantoms, at the very least. No Flyers prospect has had this amount of expectation in a long time. Carter Hart in ? at Flyers Development Camp! pic.twitter.com/w7bqKF3VXE — NBC Sports Philadelphia (@NBCSPhilly) June 28, 2018 https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js “I love coming to Philly whenever that is for development camp or training camp and I want to be a Philadelphia Flyer next year — that’s my goal.” Hart proclaimed in an interview. Prediction: Hart continues to impress during development camp. Though I believe he starts the season in Lehigh Valley with the Phantoms. The Flyers do however have an injury-prone netminder in Michal Neuvirth. This could lead to an opportunity in Philadelphia for Hart. I don’t believe we see him start a game in Philadelphia, but we will see him on the bench. Carter Hart...
  • Round one brought to you by the USA The NHL’s 2018 draft has come and gone with no major drama. And that goes for the entire league, not just the city of Philadelphia. The number one overall pick, Rasmus Dahlin, went to Buffalo as predicted. There weren’t any moves either up or down in the first-round. The Flyers were the only team that had two first-round picks that also made the playoffs last season (thanks St. Louis). This gave Flyers fans a lot more to look forward to on Friday night in Dallas. And when it was their turn to head to the podium at pick 14, there were no surprises. Let’s take a look into the first-round new additions. Hextall stayed safe at pick #14 With the 14th pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, the Philadelphia Flyers select Joel Farabee! pic.twitter.com/giiuMULsv8 — Sons of Penn (@SonsofPenn) June 23, 2018 As many analysts predicted before the 2018 draft, the Flyers have been high on Joel Farabee. A two-way player who can compete anywhere on the ice, Farabee is known for having very high hockey IQ and instincts. The New York native shoots the puck extremely well and has the ability to see a play develop before it actually happens. I’ve seen comparisons to the Ducks’ Adam Henrique, based both on his hockey ability and leadership. From watching highlights, however, I see a comparison to a diluted Jake Guentzel of the Penguins. They have similar skating ability and are both very responsible with the puck. Farabee can also put the puck in any corner of the net at will. Next up is a US-born player a lot of #Flyers fans are clamoring for at 14 – Joel Farabee He’s a smart, skilled, two-way player who can really snipe, as demonstrated with this beautiful wrister pic.twitter.com/dugvnfKUl7...