This week, the Philadelphia Flyers’ rookie camp began. The future stars of the franchise will start to practice and play before the rest of their teammates will arrive for training camp. Maybe one of the rookie standouts could make the team. However, if you ask Ian Laperriere – the coach of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms – about one of those prospects, he knows what will happen.
"The way the Flyers are doing things right now, it’s rebuilding, like Danny said it, so those kids, they’re going to have to be on their toes every day when they’re here or switches are going to be made But I’m not worried about Tyson [Foerster]. I think Tyson’s going to be here and I won’t see him."
The 21-year-old phenom has grown by leaps and bounds over the last year. This could generate a call up, or even result in a roster spot right out of training camp. Laperriere’s hoping that, while Foerster could be his team’s best player, that the Flyers will take him on right away and allow the kid to contribute at the NHL level.
Foerster just played his first full season as a member of the Flyers’ organization. In the previous two seasons, he split his time between the Phantoms and the Barrie Colts of the OHL. At Lehigh Valley last year, he scored 20 goals to go with 28 assists in 48 games. He also earned himself a late-season call up. In eight games, he scored three times while tallying four assists. That was enough to get Coach John Tortorella salivating a bit. At the time, the coach had said:
"I need to temper myself, I’ve seen it. But you have to temper yourself as I’m thinking about next year. And have him go through camp. I hope he goes through a long playoff run with Lehigh. And then we’ll see where he sits as we go through. The way he’s handled himself, it’s encouraging."
Torts is not a guy who is so easily impressed like this. The coach, however, saw something special in the kid. Something special that needed to be nurtured and cultivated, not rushed; a player that needs to have confidence built up so that he can become a certified offensive wrecking force.
Foerster’s story is just beginning. Playing with other young-and-rising stars like Morgan Frost, Joel Farabee, Noah Cates, and Owen Tippett, he can become a core piece of what this team can become. Perhaps he can become the first Flyer to win the Calder Trophy. If all goes well, perhaps Elliott Desnoyers, Cutter Gauthier, or Matvei Michkov could join him shortly with the big club. More importantly, if Foerster can blaze the trail for these young players, the Flyers turnaround could happen much sooner than we think.