2022-23 Player Profile: Other Defensive Options

Apr 9, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ronnie Attard (47) celebrates after scoring a goal against the Anaheim Ducks during the first period at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 9, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Ronnie Attard (47) celebrates after scoring a goal against the Anaheim Ducks during the first period at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports /
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With training camp just days away, the Flyers  seem to have their defenders in place. It is easy to assume that Ivan Provorov, Tony DeAngelo, Rasmus Ristolainen, Travis Sanheim, and Justin Braun will be the starters. Ryan Ellis, if healthy, could join them as could youngster Cam York.

After that, things get a bit murky. Most of this will be determined in training camp. Coach John Tortorella will see who pairs up well with each other and who buys into his system. Several of these guys below have a chance of making the team as the “seventh” defender, an injury call up, or if someone doesn’t make it at the pro level and gets traded or sent back to Lehigh Valley.  Let’s take a look at what the other players the Flyers could have in their arsenal.

Ronnie Attard

He stands the best chance of all the young players to crack this team, outside of York of course. The 23 year old prospect was a third round pick by the Flyers in 2019, the same year York was selected first. He’s been a proven stud at the Univ. of Western Michigan, where he scored 13 goals with 23 assists in 2021-22. After his collegiate season was over, he played 15 games for the Flyers, scoring two goals with two assists. He also was the player the Flyers suited up in order to sit Keith Yandle and break his NHL Iron Man streak.

Attard will most likely end up in Lehigh Valley this fall, having never played at the AHL level yet. However, if he has a good camp and impressed Torts, it is a good possibility he makes the jump straight away.

Nick Seeler

Seeler is a 29 year old vet. He doesn’t score much. He averages less than 15 minutes of ice time. He can deliver some hits when needed and give a physical presence if you have to have him. In short, he’s the perfect depth piece for this team. He’ll probably make the cut and be a healthy scratch often, giving some vets a chance to rest their legs. He also seems to be the type of guy that Tortorella wants, as he has expressed a desire to have guys who can play physically.

Kevin Connauton

Connauton is basically Nick Seeler 2.0 if Seeler were 32. The biggest exception between the two is that Connauton has played for Tortorella in Columbus. He appeared in 26 games and had stats that were similar to Seeler. Again, he can be expected to make the team and be a depth piece. If the Flyers had to choose between Seeler and Connauton, Seeler has the edge with age, but Tortorella’s familiarity with Connauton may be an advantage. If anything, he could be a good piece to flip if some team needs a vet out of training camp due to an injury.

Egor Zamula

Zamula is an undrafted prospect. He is one of the guys that always seems to rate high in the higher ups of the Flyers. He has caught their eyes and is one of the plyers that has always been expected to make “the jump”. He has a lot of skills the team likes, especially his speed. Now it is up to him to impress at training camp. He scored 29 points for the Phantoms last year and played in four games for the Flyers.  Most likely he will be sent down, but this could be a name to watch. He’s 22 years old and has been working out a lot with Provorov.

Linus Hogberg

If ends up on the Flyers roster this year, one of two things happened. Either A) A lot of people got hurt or B) He’s tearing it up in training camp and in the AHL. He has a lot of skills the Flyers admire and he played well enough in the Swedish League as well as for the Phantoms last year. As a call up, he played in five games and had two assists. He’s kind of buried on the depth chart behind York, Zamula, and Attard as far as young players go. But there is a spark in him that the Flyers like and see value in.

Adam Ginning

The 22 year old former second rounder (2018) has been playing as one of the top defenders in Sweden, helping his team, Färjestad BK, win the Le Mat Trophy (Sweden’s Stanley Cup). He signed a two-year entry level deal this past spring. Most likely, he will be assigned to AHL to help season himself up. However, if he has a great training camp, he could make the roster. He’s the least likely of these six players to don a Flyers uniform this season, but it is possible.

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Final Thoughts

Coach Tortorella is looking for “his kind of players”. If veteran players don’t mesh with the coach, this could open the path for some young guys to move on up and give them a chance to showcase their skills. While conventional thought would say Attard and Zamula are the most likely youth candidates, older vets like Connauton and Seeler may get their shots as well if the teams needs more depth on defense.