This is my first blog in a year. I was left with a bitter taste in my mouth from the Lockout but this is a game that I love. I play it, I live it and I breathe it. If I had any type of talent passed my amateur talent, I’d be playing professional Ice hockey. But since I don’t, I can only observe the pros and write about them. So onto the Flyers and on what can we’ve seen during the preseason.
The Flyers had a very poor preseason going 1-5-1. The only thing that you can say that went well was, we got to see a good look at the Flyers Future. 1st round pick (11th overall) Sam Morin, surprised several coaches, fans and team mates during his brief stay in training camp. “He makes plays that are pure hockey plays, which you don’t expect from an 18-year-old,” said John Paddock Director of Player personnel. “He was really composed out there with the puck. That’s the thing that jumped out at me. Playing in his first exhibition in the NHL, I thought he was tremendous. He did some really good things with the puck.” added Assistant coach Craig Berube. Morin will play this year in Juniors and will work on his game and probably will put on some muscle. He will have a better chance of cracking the lineup next year and by the looks of things, he’ll be a very good defenseman once he’s developed.
We only got to see goalie prospect Anthony Stolarz for half a game in the first preseason contest. Stolarz looked strong stopping 15 of 16 shots. He’s played in 2 games so far this season with the London Knights with a shutout in his first game and winning the 2nd. Last season, he played in 20 games for the Knights going 13-3-1 with a shutout and a .920 Save % and a 2.29 GAA. He’s a good two years before he’s NHL ready and perhaps he could finally be the Flyers savior in goal. And maybe the Flyers won’t ship this one off in a trade and be patient for Stolarz to develop. (I’m referring to the Bobrovsky trade)
The Flyers look like they have decided who they’re going to roll with on opening night. On Saturday the Flyers waived Dman Bruno Gervais, Adam Hall, and sent down Chris VandeVelde. On Friday they sent Austrian winger Raffl and Dman Lauridsen to the Phantoms. Hal Gills future still remains up in the air and I hope the Flyers don’t end up taking him. Although he brings a wealth of experience, Gill is 38 years old, and not the Defenseman he once was. The Flyers need to get younger hand have quite a few younger defenseman capable of handling the 6th and 7th positions. Your top 5 are, Timmonen, Meszaros, Coburn, Streit and Schenn.
By making all these cuts, the Flyers have decided they are going to commit on young center Scott Laughton. I think Laughton will be a good player in this league, but the Flyers need to put him on a 3rd line. He won’t develop playing limited minutes on the 4th line. He does have a 9 game window. The Flyers could send him back to Juniors and not have year on his contract count. But once, he plays that 10th game, he’s here for good.
The Flyers shouldn’t have any issues on offensive this year as they have plenty of skaters you can put the puck into the back of the net. I still think the issue is the defense. I’m not saying they’re bad, but Peter Laviolette’s system is offensive minded and I don’t think this Blue line can handle it. Lavy may have to change it up soon because he’s on a short leash and maybe even shorter after a 1-5-1 preseason.
The Flyers open up the season at home versus the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday. If you're going, get there early. Flyers fans who are known for being passionate, loud and crazy have their work cut out from what I've seen from Jets, Rangers and Habs fans. We can do better than them!