Preview: Flyers Take on Devils, Why You Should Watch
The Flyers take on the Devils tonight in the Prudential Center. A rematch after their recent loss at the Wells Fargo Center.
We’re back to asking Carter Hart to perform herculean miracles to sustain the competitive hopes of a wholly incompetent hockey team. After his one game off, I expect him to look refreshed. After all, it’s been some time since he’s had a game off.
Flyers Lines at Morning Skate
Now that we’ve covered that stuff. Let’s get to the juicy bits.
Here are some reasons we still care when the Flyers play:
At the beginning of the year, most fans reticently accepted that losses were going to come in abundance. But there was a common refrain–a prayer, really–that some young talent would take a step forward amidst the endless losing and outgunned roster. That was the hope.
Read more: Flyers recall Olle Lycksell >>
In the beginning, all hope seemed lost on that front. And most fans went from reticently accepting the losses to eagerly craving every defeat, recognizing that each one was a step on the path to Bedard. I have been in the latter camp for a while.
So I won’t pretend that I hope the Flyers win tonight. No breaks, no relenting, no feel-good stories against the “rival” Devils. No. Only the Draft matters. Each defeat is significant. Each loss is a gift from God, and I cherish them all. Especially the ones that happen in regulation.
But hope has come, nevertheless, and there are suddenly talented young kids to watch for the next steps. There may–just may–be a glimmer of sunshine around the loss that has nothing to do with the 2023 NHL Entry Draft.
Cam York has shone since his first game with the team.
Since being called up with the Phantoms, Cam York has been a bright spot in all of his three games with the team to date. Now, I have long loved praising Cam York. But I’m not going to do that.
Flyers Head Coach John Tortorella already did it, so I’m going to allow him to do that. The entire media availability is worth listening to, but I’ll summarize the best bits here.
“Yeah. And not just in the things you really see. Like up the ice, joining the [offensive] play. I think he’s really done a great job escaping, and getting us out of our end zone. But the thing I like about his game–and nobody talks about it–is I think he’s been good around our net defensively. I think he’s been physical, boxing out our net and closing people out in the corners.”
The real money line came after his evaluation of York’s play, though.
“He’s answered the question I had for him when we sent him down. ‘When are you gonna try to make a difference?’ I think he’s trying to show us that. I think he’s done a really good job.”
It’s genuinely nice to see a young kid playing fantastically and lending hope of a bright future with prospects already in the organization.
And Torts wants to see more of the same, just like me.
He wants York to adopt a selfishness to his mindset, in the sense that he doesn’t think solely of team success but also of individual growth. Because all the best players in the NHL, in his words, find time to worry about themselves. And their growth.
Speaking of someone who needs to worry about their own growth.
Joel Farabee’s season has been a roller coaster. Or, in an analogy our astute coach seems to appreciate more, it’s been… a toilet seat.
Up and down.
Lately, the down has been significantly more pronounced than the up.
In truth, consistency issues have been nothing new to Joel. He’ll put up 15 goals in 12 games and then put up 2 goals in 25.
The simplest answer for this is: Farabee is a goal scorer.
He’s a sniper whose primary quality thus far in his NHL career has been a shockingly above average finishing touch. He isn’t the two-way forward that’s been originally advertised.
Streaky play is the nature of a goal scorer. They go on insane benders and then prolonged slumps. It is the way of the sniper.
But the best goal scorers find a way to shrink the valleys. They make the slumps shorter, and therefore get back on the next hot streak more quickly.
It is a skill that Farabee is still working on. Tortorella has indeed noticed that it’s a work in progress.
It’s been up for Cam York and down for Joel Farabee.
For Morgan Frost, however, we’re still trying to figure out if the compass is pointing north or south.
Does Morgan Frost have something else up his sleeve?
After a 4 point night against the Coyotes, it seemed like a coming out party for the long derided Frost.
He flashed his exceptional upside as a playmaker for an entire game. Not only that, he got the bounces that turned good chances into goals.
It would have been easy to write off Frost’s performance as: “Meh, it was only the Coyotes.”
But for one thing, basically the entire team besides Frost and the York/Sanheim pair had their hands full against the Coyotes.
For another thing, Frost had a similarly productive game against the Golden Knights in the game before. The only difference was that the puck didn’t go in the net in that game.
But after those two games, he followed it up with something of a rough performance against the Avalanche.
So tonight, we take one more step towards an answer to the question: Was Morgan Frost’s 4 point night a blip on the radar, or the start of something real and lasting?
We have kids to watch now. It’s kind of beautiful.
Of course, primarily, we watch for the hopes of a Devils victory. That’s the #1 priority.
But now… on the side, we watch for more of Cam York being Cam York. We watch to see if Joel Farabee will rediscover himself.
And we watch to see if Morgan Frost has more in store after a 4-point performance.
Mandatory Credit: Johnny Ulecka