Flyers rookie/prospect camp opened over the weekend in Voorhees NJ. Hundreds of fans flocked to the Flyers’ Skate Zone to observe the future of the team hit the ice for drills, workouts and some scrimmaging. Although, 2nd overall pick Nolan Patrick could not participate, he was on hand to meet fans, the media and of course observe his future team mates as well. Patrick spoke with the media, "This will be the first time in a while that I will be completely healthy," Patrick said. "My injury was bugging me all season. … I'll be back on the ice next week and I'm excited."
After evaluation, Patrick will be skating in some conditioning drills and plans to be fully ready by training camp in September. Despite not being able to see the 2nd pick in action, plenty of hype surrounding the Flyers prospects as several of them are expected to compete for opening night roster spots.
Let’s begin with a forward.
Lindblom was selected in the fifth round in 2014. Most fifth round picks don’t make it into the NHL and if they do, it’s usually a role player. However, Lindblom has done nothing but turn heads in the past couple of years starting in Sweden. Ron Hextall has this to say; “Oskar went away, no one knew who the hell he was, just a fifth-round pick over there getting better and better and all of a sudden BANG, he’s the SHL forward of the year.”
Lindblom, a 6-foot-2, 192-pound winger, played 52 regular-season games in the SHL last season. Lindblom tallied 47 points (22 goals and 25 assists.) He added 14 points (four goals, 10 assists) in 20 playoff games. Now, he’s here in Flyers prospect camp looking to be one of the scoring wingers come opening night.
If you look at Lindblom’s developmental progress, one has to wonder, how he did he slip to the fifth round? When the 2014 draft hit, Lindblom himself expected to be a top 15 draft pick. When that didn’t happen and he slipped all the way down to the fifth round, that didn’t sit well with him. Over the past two years, you could see that hunger in Lindblom. He played with something to prove. Now two here later, here at camp, he’s doing the same thing. He’s showing that he’s ready. He’s letting everyone know that he’s here to work hard and that he wants to make the team in October and that in September he’s going to be working harder in training camp.
He’s already caught the attention of the GM.
"Some of these kids make a lot of progress in a couple years and I think Oskar is one of those guys. His skating, you look at certain players, they don't have a great stride and their skating can certainly get better, but there's a bit of ceiling there. With Oskar, it was more of a strength issue and that's what's come on with him. It's been a couple of years, he's gotten a lot stronger and you can just tell when you see him out on the ice there" Hextall told the press.
Hextall continued, "Take the hat off to the kid, too, because he put a lot of work in," Hextall said. "When you improve that much, he put a lot of work in."
It’s good to see a GM take the time to say that about a prospect in July especially when the Flyers are going to need more offense this season. Even Oscar knows he’s going to have to work hard come September, but the kid is already shown he has dedication. He’s been on the ice 10 minutes prior to everyone else hitting the ice all weekend.
But Oscar wasn’t the only highlight of training camp. The Flyers also got to see goalie prospect Carter Hart.
Hart, was selected in the2nd round of the 2016 NHL draft. (48th overall.) He was the first goalie and was labeled as the top goalie in the draft. Hart saw plenty of action at a high level this past year, winning a silver medal at the World Junior Championships this past year. He’s also won plenty of accolades since becoming a goalie.
He won the WHL Goaltender of the Year award, back-to-back. (2016/2017) He’s have the best Save percentage last year and the past two years has had the best goals against average. (GAA) In 2015 he won the best goaltender of the CHL.
Throughout his career in the WHL, Hart has played 149 games with a record of 85-39-12. (Those are 12 ties by the way, not shoot-out losses.)
Hart, who is attending his second Rookie Camp, is showing off his skills and athleticism. He is aiming to make the NHL out of camp next season and knows it’s going to take a lot of hard work.
“My goal is to make the team next year here. Obviously it doesn’t happen often with 19-year-old goalies, but it’s something that I really want. It’s something that I’m working for. I’m coming here to try to make the team in the fall.”
Oh yeah, that’s right, Hart is only 18 years old. His resume thus far is so impressive alone, and I forgot to mention that he was only 18 years of age. How impressed are you now?
Hart has one year of eligibility left in the WHL and will most likely play there. He’s too young to play on the Phantoms in the AHL and won’t be playing in the NHL this year.
Hart also sees a sport psychologist. Hey, they’ve always said goalies have a different personality than other hockey players.
I will continue all week with more on other Flyers Prospects. Training Camp ends Wednesday with the annual Trial on the Isle.
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