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Previewing the 2017 Flyers vs. Islanders rookie game, our first taste of real hockey this season

Hockey is back in Philadelphia!

Oskar Lindblom takes a spin at the Skate Zone.
Kate Frese / SB Nation

Some might call it the official start of hockey season: the annual Philadelphia Flyers rookie game, the first chance we get to see human beings in Flyers uniforms playing actual hockey against another team in NHL uniforms.

Tonight, it’ll be the Flyers against the New York Islanders’ rookies at the Wells Fargo Center in a rematch of last year’s game that took place at the Isles’ practice facility on Long Island. The Flyers won that game, 4-0.

And as is the case with the Flyers in 2017, the rookie game is absolutely star-studded. Nolan Patrick will make his on-ice in-game debut, and he’ll be joined by fellow 2017 first round pick Morgan Frost. Sam Morin, Travis Sanheim, German Rubtsov, Pascal Laberge, Carter Hart and Isaac Ratcliffe are all first or second round picks playing in the game for the Flyers tonight as well. Oh, and then there’s Oskar Lindblom, the Swedish standout trying to make the Flyers roster out of training camp this fall.

All in all, tonight is a great opportunity to see some real talent out there for the Flyers. Here are some of the storylines I’m keeping an eye on.

Storylines to watch

Nolan Patrick’s first taste. You’ve seen him a bit this week if you’ve had the chance to get out and see camp in Voorhees, but this will be his first NHL(ish) game action. I tend to believe that the No. 2 overall pick is going to make this team out of camp, and that any talk to the contrary is just trying to temper expectations, but tonight will be a first look at what he’s able to do at this level. He should be one of the best players on the ice, keeping in mind that it’s also his first game action post-surgery. I’m really just excited to see him in game action at all, though. It should be fun.

Oskar Lindblom on North American ice. He was one of the best players in the Swedish League last year, and now Oskar Lindblom is beginning his first full season in North America. A lot of folks are penciling him into the Flyers roster right there with Patrick, and tonight will be our first true taste of what he looks like in orange and black.

The goalies. With Anthony Stolarz out with injury, it’s a really big opportunity for Alex Lyon to take the starting job in Lehigh Valley this year and run with it -- perhaps vaulting himself into the Flyers goaltending picture. Carter Hart will play as well, and he’s obviously the Sexy Pick as Goalie Of The Future in Philly. We get to see Lyon a lot since he’s just up the road, and he frankly has more to play for this year personally. But we never get to see Hart — I mean, unless you’re crazy and pay for the WHL package? — so getting some game tape of him could fuel the hype machine.

Standout on defense? Good for camp invitees Frank Hora and James De Haas on getting into the lineup tonight, earning an opportunity to show who they are in game action and perhaps earn a contract. But the real story tonight on the blueline are the other four guys playing: Sam Morin, Travis Sanheim, Mark Friedman and Philippe Myers. Three of these guys have legitimate chances of making the Flyers opening night roster, and Friedman will be making the jump to the AHL with a lot of opportunity in front of him there. Which of these four will put on the best show and give themselves a leg up heading into the big training camp with the veterans? Something I’m looking for.

Ivan Kosorenkov. After earning a camp invite during summer development camp, the undrafted Kosorenkov has a lot to play for tonight. He could earn a contract after this rookie camp -- much like a Philippe Myers did as an undrafted player -- or he could be cut loose by the Flyers all together. Tonight’s game will certainly weigh heavily on that decision.

Tonight’s Flyers roster

Forwards

46 Mikhail Vorobyev
54 Oskar Lindblom
63 German Rubtsov
64 Nolan Patrick
68 Morgan Frost
75 Pascal Laberge
76 Isaac Ratcliffe
78 Matthew Strome
81 Carsen Twarynski
82 Connor Bunnaman
85 Anthony Salinitri
89 Ivan Kosorenkov
90 Maksim Sushko

Defense

50 Sam Morin
57 Travis Sanheim
59 Mark Friedman
61 Philippe Myers
77 Frank Hora
85 James De Haas

Goalies

49 Alex Lyon
79 Carter Hart