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Preview: Flyers visit Rangers to start home-and-home

The roster is starting to take shape, but key battles and decisions still loom large.

NHL: Preseason-Philadelphia Flyers at Boston Bruins Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

The Flyers continue their preseason schedule with a home and home set with the Rangers starting with a visit to Madison Square Garden tonight. Puck drop is set for 7pm and the game will air on 97.5 The Fanatic and will be broadcast on MSG for the New York crowd.

With a slew of recent cuts, the Flyers’ camp roster now sits at 29 following the most recent group loaned to Lehigh Valley: defensemen Mark Alt, TJ Brennan, Will O’Neill and forwards Greg Carey, Corban Knight and Phil Varone. Goaltender Alex Lyon was also loaned to the Phantoms as well.

Thanks to the cuts the Flyers roster is starting to take shape though a couple key personnel decisions could be looming large for general manager Ron Hextall and coach Dave Hakstol.

For one, there’s the glut of forwards with Scott Laughton and Taylor Leier turning heads in camp while the presence of veterans like Dale Weise, Jori Lehtera and Matt Read complicate things somewhat.

Then there’s the one about whether or not No. 2 overall pick Nolan Patrick makes the team. Patrick setup Shayne Gostisbehere’s overtime winner in Lehigh Valley and has impressed but Hextall has hinted that he still wants to see more from the prized prospect. Still would bet Patrick makes the team, though, he’s held up down the middle defensively and the offense will come because he’s just too talented for it not to.

But perhaps more intriguing than the forward group is what will happen on defense when the Flyers make their final cuts. Youngsters Travis Sanheim, Sam Morin and Robert Hagg are still around and all making a good case as to why they should perhaps earn a spot, in their own ways. Sanheim has been really good the last two games after a shaky start, has moved the puck well and scored in Boston. Morin and Hagg have generally been rock solid and playing just as well -if not better- than some veteran defenseman also looking to be a part of the Flyers’ defense corps to start the season. If the young trio keeps it up things could get interesting for the braintrust, so keep an eye out for that in these two games with New York, especially.

In the intrigue department, expect to see Claude Giroux on the left wing of a line centered by Sean Couturier, with Jake Voracek on the right side. Giroux spent time with those two in practice and the Flyers have said that the captain could see time on the wing during the season as well depending on how the experiment goes. Both player and the staff have said it’s not anything permanent, but it’s certainly interesting for sure.

Here is tonight’s roster against the Rangers, per the Flyers’ offical site:

FORWARDS

11 Travis Konecny

12 Michael Raffl

14 Sean Couturier

15 Jori Lehtera

17 Wayne Simmonds

21 Scott Laughton

24 Matt Read

28 Claude Giroux

40 Jordan Weal

51 Valtteri Filppula

64 Nolan Patrick

93 Jakub Voracek

DEFENSEMEN

03 Radko Gudas

09 Ivan Provorov

23 Brandon Manning

48 Robert Hagg

53 Shayne Gostisbehere

57 Travis Sanheim

GOALTENDERS

30 Michal Neuvirth

37 Brian Elliott