"It takes a village. You have to roll four lines. You have to sacrifice." Stop…
Packed in an ice rink on a rainy September weekend watching Flyers hockey, where else would you want to be? Fortunately for me, I was able to make the trek out to Voorhees every day, minus the Torts “Bag Skate Day” which took place on Thursday.
I’ll go through several players who have stuck out since making my initial observations on Friday after the first official scrimmages took place.
Team 2 faced off against Team 3 first thing at 10:10 am and it was by far Bobby Brink’s best game of all the scrimmages so far. Active in the ozone, creating plays from quite literally everywhere. Brink is finally showing that he is indeed 100% healthy.
During his third or fourth shift of the scrimmage, Brink made no mistake with a puck that found him in the slot. Brink went top right to put Team 2 up 1-0, and on the very next shift found a loose puck near the side of the net and hit the post with the shot.
It’s going to be an uphill battle for Brink to make the Flyers out camp with the right side of the forward group being the deepest position on the team right next to LHD.
All players listed above are going to be on the team. Foerster, in a few people’s eyes, is still a question mark in regards to making the team. And while I agree that he shouldn’t just be handed a spot because of his 8-game stint last year (he won’t), something catastrophic would have to go wrong for Tyson Foerster to not suit up in Columbus on October 12th.
With that all being said, it’s not the end of the world for Brink to start the season in the AHL playing top-six minutes. He’ll be with the Flyers at some point in the season. Whether that’s early because of injury, or later on because of Brinks’ hopeful solid play in AHL forcing Briere’s hand, he’ll play games as a Flyer this year.
Tomorrow is the first preseason game against the Devils and I have to think Brink is one of the young guns Torts and Briere want to see more of.
I clowned on Furry on Friday when Sean Couturier welcomed him to the NHL in a 1v1 drill, but today Furry clowned on me right on back.
With Travis Konecny missing practice because of being a little banged up according to Torts, Furry was playing next to Sean Couturier and Owen Tippett. And Furry didn’t look out of place at all. He scored once and had a couple of really good, subtle plays in the offensive zone to either extend a cycle play or set a teammate up.
Furry had 9G-19A-28P in 39 games NCAA last year, and 1G-2A in 3 games in a little stint with the Phantoms towards the end of the season. He’ll be with LHV this year undoubtedly, but it’s cool to see him get elevated to play with those two guys in Konecny’s absence.
And the kid took advantage.
I have loved what I’ve seen from #8 to start the season. The main plan between Briere, Torts, and Jones, seems to be “Get Cam York back to his strong side and let him play.”
In his media availability yesterday after practice, Torts talked about York playing well when he initially came back from LHV, and how his play started fell off towards the back end of the year.
And to Torts’ credit, he openly admitted that it’s partially his fault because of the fact he put the kid on his off side when York has never really done that in his career.
He went on to talk about the importance of getting York back to his natural side and letting him stay there, and in my eyes, it’s already benefiting Cam.
Paired with Ristolainen all of camp so far, York looks a little bigger from the offseason and his play oozes calmness and confidence. He scored in yesterday’s scrimmage from the point while activating to jump into the offensive play. That’s something I saw York do a ton in college and with the United States National Development Program, so it’s nice to see he’s starting to get comfortable enough to where he’s starting to do that more consistently.
Today, York didn’t try and activate in the offensive zone as much as previous scrimmages this weekend, playing a more defensive game. And man was it fun to watch.
I’ve noticed over the past three days that York is more open to a big hit along the boards, or an after-whistle face-washing and slashing party. That can both be attributed to him getting bigger with age and more comfortable in the NHL. It also helps when you have Rasmus Ristolainen next to you on your side. Makes you feel a little bigger, I’m sure.
With the news that Sanheim is moving the right side to at least start the year, Cam York looks like your 1LHD.
The 4th line (Deslaurier, Poehling, & Hathaway)
Nobody has individually stood out in a crazy way on this line but they work as a cohesive unit really well. Each guy has been solid and has done their jobs.
In the second scrimmage today, Hathway drove the left lane, shielding the puck with his back to the defender, and flipped a backhand dish across the crease to Poehling who tapped it in.
They’re physical, strong and a lot faster than I thought they’d be. Deslaurier scored twice on Day 1 of scrimmages and has continued solid play since.
I don’t see how this isn’t your fourth line October 12th vs. CBJ. Elliot Desnoyers hasn’t done anything to push Poehling out of the 4C spot, and neither have Allison or Laczynski so far. There’s a ton of hockey left to play and anything can happen but this fourth line seems locked in.
The Third line (Laughton, Cates, Foerster)
Honestly, this line has fallen in the same type of category as the fourth line in the sense that nobody has stood out individually but they’ve all worked well together as a unit. You’d still like Foerster paired up with a puck carrier, which neither Laughton nor Cates are, but beggars can’t be choosers.
Their cycle work as a unit has been really impressive. Laughton and Cates have done a good job of getting the puck behind the D and getting in on the forecheck to find Foerster sitting in a shooting position.
I’d like to see Cates be a little bit more active offensively but it’s still pretty early in camp, and a lot of these guys are still shaking off rust.
This is a line I’d personally like to see more of and would play tomorrow vs. NJ, but we’ll see what Torts decides to do.
Mandatory Credit: Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire