Flyers prospects have the next few days to impress the front-office executives. When camp does end, some players may receive an invite to training camp, while other will be sent back to the minors and juniors for more seasoning.
I attended camp on Thursday afternoon. We were eager to watch the potential stars of tomorrow. I knew all the bigger names, guys like Scott Laughton, Shayne Gostisbehere and Samuel Morin, but I wanted to see the lesser-known players and how they would perform.
The first drill of camp was simple. Players were asked to hold the puck with one hand on their stick. This showed who possessed the basic foundation of puck-handling skills.
Laughton shined in this drill. He is gunning for a spot on the roster and the Flyers prospects camp is just a warm up for him. Laughton not only cradled the puck with ease, he breezed through the drill. He never broke a sweat.
Another player who I had my eye on during the practice was Taylor Leier, a left wing from the Western Hockey League. Selected in the fourth-round pick back in 2012, Leier captained the Portland Winterhawks to the WHL final. He finished the regular season with 37 goals and 79 points in 62 games. During the playoff run he totaled 26 points in 21 games.
Leier and Laughton were often at the front of the line for every drill. This may not amount to anything in the professional rankings but when a player is near the front, it shows an initiative to stick out and to get better. Leier was right behind Laughton in the skill-handling drill. He showed off his impressive speed that could make him a dangerous presence with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
I was also impressed with Travis Sanheim. His frame will fill out as he gets older, but he showed impressive puck skills and showed what he could become with more seasoning and development.
One player who I had great expectations for was Morin. He left me disappointed after the first day. The former first-round pick has grown into a monster since he was drafted by the team, growing an extra inch and gaining 20 pounds. He now stands 6-foot-7 and weighs 224 pounds.
While I admire Morin’s confidence is appealing, he is still raw in terms of his talent. His stick-handling left much to be desired and he looked a little wobbly on his skates. Morin, however, has been out for the last two months because of a strained right Achilles, so his skating may return as the Flyers prospects camp moves into day 2.