With training camp underway, it’s fun to contemplate what the Philadelphia Flyers’ roster will look like. Now, a lot of things can happen between now and the end of camp. Last year, for example, we discovered that Joel Farabee had recovered from his neck injury while Cam Atkinson would end up not skating and missed the entire year. Players get hurt, others get healthy, and some prospects take a huge step forward while others flounder and are sent back to the AHL.
With all this in mind, after one week of camp, let’s envision what the Flyers roster could look like. This is taking into consideration contracts, injuries, and how things to be trending.
The Flyers’ Lines & Pairings
First Line: Owen Tippett – Sean Couturier – Travis Konecny
Owen Tippett and Travis Konecny really connected well last year, making this a no-brainer. Couturier is the team’s leader and rock. It would make sense for him to get the first line duties with this team. A great way for him to get back into the swing of things would be to have him paired up with two of Philly’s best scorers.
Second Line: Scott Laughton – Noah Cates – Cam Atkinson
Scott Laughton is the heart of this team and is its steadying force. Noah Cates seems like he is being prepped to take over as the team’s top defensive forward. Centering Cates between two cagey vets like Laughton and Atkinson would help his development. Likewise, it could also help Atkinson get back on his feet again after a year off.
Third Line: Joel Farabee – Morgan Frost – Bobby Brink
Morgan Frost and Farabee could be the start of a very scary third line for other teams to defend against. This can be especially true if you have a solid, veteran-heavy second line. To be fair, this line and a Laughton-Cates-Atkinson line could be flip-flopped pretty easily. Bobby Brink has shown a lot of heart and hustle in training camp. I think he’s probably done enough to earn a roster spot. Although, there’s still a chance that Tyson Foerster could break camp with the Flyers as well.
Fourth Line: Nicolas Deslauriers – Ryan Poehling – Garnet Hathaway
This is going to be a gritty, punchy, hard-hitting line. Nicolas Deslauriers and Garnet Hathaway are going to punish the players of the other teams and this could be a fun line to watch. Poehling gets this spot as he was a free agent signing. However, if someone like Olle Lycksell, Wade Allison, or Tanner Laczynski dazzles in camp, you could see them here too.
First Defensive Pairing: Cam York – Rasmus Ristolainen
Cam York and Ristolainen have been playing a lot with each other during camp. Maybe they are clicking. Ristolainen also really stepped up after being challenged by Coach John Tortorella. This may seem like a risky venture to have as a top pair, but if it pays off, it could be huge.
Second Defensive Pairing: Travis Sanheim – Sean Walker
Travis Sanheim struggled last season, although recently he disclosed he had an injury before last season began. Perhaps a vet like Sean Walker or Marc Staal could be a steadying influence instead of him having to shadow a rookie defender. That could bring him back into what we expect from him.
Third Defensive Pairing: Emil Andrae – Nick Seeler/Marc Staal
Andrae has been impressing Tortorella a lot during the rookie camp and during training camp thus far. I think he may have earned a roster spot. Likewise, the last starting role will go to someone who has earned it. Staal is a Torts favorite, but he will probably fill more of a Justin Braun sort of role this year. Seeler was one of Tortorella’s favorites last year. Unless he takes a step back, he will be playing in some capacity.
However, we did see the Flyers carry seven defenders a lot last year. Seeler even played some extra time as a winger with the fourth line. It could be that the Flyers start off with seven defenders as they try to figure out who is playing well. If that is the case, all seven of these guys are a lock.
Goalies: Carter Hart – Cal Petersen
This is where it gets tricky. The Flyers have a lot of guys in training camp. Hart is going to be the guy in net unless he gets traded or suspended or unseeded. Cal Petersen’s play was getting more and more sloppy in Los Angeles and may have needed a change of scenery. It is also possible that he could be sent to the AHL. His shutout the other night does make for a strong case to stay in Philly or to be traded.
If that is the case, watch for Sam Ersson or Felix Sandstrom to have the door opened for them to make the Flyers’ roster. Ersson is still waivers-exempt, so he’d be a likely option to be sent down. At the same time, it doesn’t seem like a lot of teams would be lining up to claim Sandstrom on waivers either. A lot of this will depend on who is outplaying who during camp. But hey, at least the Flyers have options in net!
On the Bench: Wade Allison or Tyson Foerster, and Egor Zamula
With roster sizes limited to 23, this is where it also gets tricky. If the Flyers go with seven defenders, Egor Zamula could be another option to rotate in early on. Whomever loses the Poehling/Lycksell/Allison/Laczynski/Tyson Foerster battle could also be here. Most of the young guys who don’t make the roster will probably sent down to the Lehigh Valley Phantoms for seasoning instead of just riding the bench.
At the same time, the team could rotate some players in and out to see who fits the system best and who is gelling together. There could be some surprises at the end of camp. It will be interesting to see where the team is at in two or three weeks.