Finally, hockey is upon us. Well, almost.
The Flyers started their rookie camp this week, and the story has already shifted from "Does JVR impress enough to win a spot?" and "Is Patrick Maroon a credible threat to make the opening night roster?" to "Flyers invite two players to camp, both could make team."
The first player - Mark Bell - is possible, but the newest addition - Blair Betts - has an even better chance to make the team. As Ben mentioned in his story earlier, the Flyers have a shortage of wingers and an abundance of centers. But with Tim Panaccio saying Giroux will start as the RW on Carter's line, the line combinations could take any number of turns.
After the jump, some of the possible scenarios.
With Hartnell-Carter-Giroux, the team could very easily return to Gagne-Richards-Briere, as it did at the start of last year. One would figure that Ian Laperriere is guaranteed a spot while Arron Asham, Darroll Powe, and Dan Carcillo have jobs that are theirs to lose. Riley Cote appears to be fighting for his job, with one more forward spot open.
So, for arguments sake, suppose the third line is Carcillo-Powe-Laperriere. If Blair Betts makes the team, the team has a fourth line center and another penalty killer. Cote and Asham could fill the remaining roster spots. Or both Betts and Mark Bell could make the team, leaving Cote without a job.
On its face, Betts seems like a perfect fit for 4th-line center. He had the second most blocked shots among Ranger forwards last year, had a 7:32 giveaway-to-takeaway ratio, averaged 2:59 SHTOI/G, and was tied for fifth best on the Rangers with a 2.39 GAON/60 (would have been 8th best on the Flyers last year). But there are plenty of centers on the Flyers trying to make the team as well.
Does Betts fill out the lineup with Cote keeping his job? If Cote is in fact the odd one out (Maybe it's Asham, Powe, or Carcillo?) will a rookie claim a spot? Does Ross keep the job of 4th line center he occupied in the playoffs? If Betts wins that job, can Ross move to the wing, forcing someone out? Will either Matsumoto or Patrick Maroon crack the NHL? Can Kalinski come back from his injury and earn a spot? Could one of the veteran forwards signed make their way back to the NHL? With so many players fighting for two spots, camp will be very interesting.
And that's only the forwards! Kidding, the back 7 appears set (Kimmo, Pronger, Coburn, Carle, Parent, Jones, and Tollefsen)
If you have answers to these questions or have questions of your own, now's the time to share.