NHL Hockey is just around the corner!
In just over two weeks, the Flyers will host their Regular Season opener against the Western Conference Champion Vegas Golden Knights, a game which is sure to sell out. Right now, however, preseason continues to roll on, and the Flyers have gotten through 3 of their 8 scheduled exhibition contests. All three of these games were against the Islanders, whom the Flyers’ Dev Camp squad beat last week.
The games went as follows:
Sunday, Sept 16th – Flyers 0 – 3 Islanders
Tuesday, Sept 18th – Islanders 1 – 3 Flyers
Wednesday, Sept 19th – Islanders 1 – 5 Flyers
Note that there were cuts made by the Flyers, and that the rosters and lines differed from game to game. This explains why the Islanders so easily won Sunday’s game, as they rolled out mostly veteran lines whereas the Flyers’ most experienced players at the NHL level were Patrick, Lindblom, and Konecny. However, the team worked more veterans into the lineup over the following days. Here are my observations from the Flyers v Islanders contests:
1.Phil Myers looks really good
Most of the attention Phil Myers has brought to himself would have been through his dangle of Mike Sislo (a career AHL player) in the second game. Myers also had some great key passes in the first game to set up opportunities for one-timers. However, he looked good defensively too. Bar a few little mistakes that young players will almost certainly make, he was able to hold the Islanders’ top forwards like Matt Barzal and Anders Lee in check. I think his chances of making the team, as Bill Clement pointed out in our interview, are quite good. It just depends on the status of Andrew MacDonald, and whether Hakstol will put faith in Myers, or roll out Christian Folin (who looked awful).
2. Veterans do their thing
Claude Giroux, Jake Voracek, and Shayne Gostisbehere all played in the 2nd game against the Islanders, and were then rested for the third and final game. Giroux and Voracek tallied two assists each, and Gostisbehere notched two goals on the powerplay. Overall, the team had a corsi for rating of 52.86% (via Natural Stat Trick), and I can almost guarantee you having the presence of the team’s 3 best players had something to do with it.
3. Who’s gonna be the 3C? We may know now…
Mikhail Vorobyev! Hextall singled him out in comments after the game (along with German Rubtsov), and Vorobyev has had significant time with good linemates. He also scored a pretty nifty goal to open the game for the Flyers at home in the 2nd matchup. Again, this is all somewhat speculation, since I thought Morgan Frost had a shot and he ended up getting sent back to juniors (though admittedly he did not look ready at all). Who’s to say that Hakstol won’t just stick Laughton at 3C and make Lehtera the 4C (or vice versa)? We won’t truly know of course, but the team have been extensively trying out Laughton at wing after his displays at the end of last season pleased coach Hakstol. So, therefore, maybe the job does go to Vorobyev. He certainly looks to be a good fit.
The Flyers next play against the NY Rangers in more preseason action on Thursday at midnight U.K. time (7 P.M EST).