Seven rookie games. Five Flyers wins.
Your Philadelphia Flyers rookies dominated the Washington Capitals from start to finish Tuesday afternoon in Voorhees, putting up a 3-0 win in the annual rookie game.
Petr Straka opened the scoring in the second period when he capitalized on a bad Washington turnover near the blue line. He picked the puck up, went straight to the net unimpeded, and beat the goaltender with a pretty backhand. Nicolas Aube-Kubel scored on a really pretty wraparound a few seconds later, even though it was initially awarded to Taylor Leier, and the Flyers never looked back.
Nobody really stood out in a negative way, and even after a scoreless first period, the Flyers were in total control in this one. They outchanced the Caps, drew more penalties, took more shots, and ultimately came in with a deserved win.
This isn't about the team though, really. It's about what we saw out of some individual players, especially the guys who have a chance at sticking around through training camp and making the Flyers NHL roster this season. So let's go through some bullet points and discuss what we saw.
- God, it's so nice to see defensemen in Flyers uniforms with some wheels. Travis Sanheim was most impressive in this regard. He definitely needs to bulk up a bit, but he's just a few months out from his draft day, so we're not expecting him to be huge just yet. Kid can skate, though.
- Samuel Morin had to bulk up too, and has. He's a monster. Didn't notice him a ton during the game, but that's usually a good thing when you're talking about big defensemen. Also, of course, Gostisbehere was the one carrying the puck out of the zone for the most part, so that helps.
- Shayne Gostisbehere was all over the place, basically all game. It started in the first period where he created at least three scoring chances all on his own -- one clear one on the PP that actually wound up in the net, but after a whistle, and another was a great stretch pass that sprung Petr Straka on a breakaway. He's also pretty adept at just doing it all on his own, following the puck into the zone and winning it off the chase. He's a force.
- He's older than a lot of the players in this game and of course it is just one game, but Ghost really always looks like a man against boys out there. He's so calm in his own end, and he can push the puck back up the ice so easily. It's just fun to watch and I want to see it happen against better players. Excited to watch him in Allentown this season.
- Same goes for Robert Hagg. Excited to see what he does with a full AHL season. As a few commenters pointed out during the game in our discussion thread, Hagg looks strong and perhaps the most-ready for the Flyers. He's played more pro hockey than any of the other three big D prospects, with 80 games in the Swedish League and 10 in the AHL. It shows. He's just calm.
- Fight card: Samuel Morin fought Liam O'Brien and won. Austin Fyten (fight-en) beat up Michal Cajkovsky. We know who Morin is, but Fyten's trying to make an impact and earn an AHL gig this season. He split time between the AHL and ECHL last season.
- You can tell Petr Straka, Brandon Alderson and Nick Cousins have played together before. While most of these guys never have played with one another in a game, and this game is always pretty sloppy as a result, those three looked just a bit more crisp every time they hit the ice.
- Scott Laughton made a nice little set up in the lead up to the Aube-Kubel goal. The line with those two and Taylor Leier also looked good -- but again, everybody did. Those are three talented guys and they overwhelmed the Capitals lineup. Washington didn't have a hugely impressive day, but that shouldn't take away from the skill the Flyers forwards exhibited.
- Kevin Goumas scored an empty netter late to make it 3-0 Flyers. That was cool. Winning and all that.
- Add your observations in the comments.
Training camp opens Friday morning, and the first preseason game is less than a week away. Flyers hockey, guys. It's officially back.