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Flyers open up preseason with tilt vs. Islanders

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Hockey is back folks!

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Hello friends! It’s been a long while since we’ve done one of these, but Philadelphia Flyers hockey is finally here (sort of) with tonight’s preseason tilt vs. the New York Islanders. This technically will be the second time these two teams will have played each other this preseason, with the rookie game vs. New York occurring just last week. But this, this is where the preseason officially starts and the roster battles ensue.

The Flyers have already released the roster for tonight’s matchup, which to be honest was a bit of a shock, but anyway here is your lineup for the preseason opener.

FORWARDS (12)

13 - Kevin Hayes C

23 - Oskar Lindblom RW

24 - Mikhail Vorobyev C

25 - James van Riemsdyk LW

44 - Chris Stewart RW

46 - Cal O’Reilly C

49 - Joel Farabee RW

50 - German Rubtsov C

51 - Kyle Criscuolo RW

64 - Maksim Sushko

76 - Isaac Ratcliffe LW

93 - Jakub Voracek RW

DEFENSEMEN (8)

3 - Andy Welinski

5 - Philippe Myers

20 - Chris Bigras

53 - Shayne Gostisbehere

54 - Egor Zamula

55 - Samuel Morin

61 - Justin Braun

63 - Mason Millman

GOALTENDERS (2)

32 - Felix Sandstrom 3

4 - Alex Lyon

* 37 - Brian Elliott

Players to watch for

Joel Farabee — The 2018 first round pick of the Flyers has been one of the two main rookies in contention for a roster spot this season. He and 2017 first rounder Morgan Frost have made the biggest push to start the season in Philadelphia, rather than Lehigh Valley. Farabee showed flashes of brilliance in the rookie game, and has been practicing on the top line a bit in camp. A strong preseason showing would do wonders for Farabee’s chance to make the NHL roster, and it all starts tonight.

Kevin HayesHayes makes his Flyers debut tonight after signing a seven year, $50 million contract in the offseason. The new second line center will certainly be on the radar of many tonight with his first game action as a member of the orange and black.

Felix Sandstrom — Sandstrom looked fantastic in the rookie game vs. New York, so let’s see if he can back it up with a strong showing tonight as well. The young Swedish netminder has gotten lost in the shuffle a bit with the emergence of Carter Hart, but it’s important to remember this is still a guy with a great deal of promise.

German Rubtsov — Oh you knew “The Germ” was going to be here after his strong two goal game vs. New York in the rookie game. Rubtsov was on a solid points pace last year in his first season of professional hockey, before a shoulder injury ended his season just 14 games in. The 2016 first round pick is an underdog for one of the final roster spots, but if he continues to put up performances like he did in the rookie game, he might just infect the opening day roster. Yes, I went there, come at me.

Other news & notes

  • Morgan Frost will not be playing tonight, as he is listed as day-to-day with a lower body injury
  • Kevin Hayes isn’t the only one making his Flyers debut; defenseman Justin Braun will get his first game action as well. The blueliner was acquired this offseason in exchange for a second round pick in the 2020 draft and a third round pick in the 2021 draft.
  • Joel Farabee and Morgan Frost are the two rookies absolutely everyone is fawning over, and for good reason I might add, but Isaac Ratcliffe will be an interesting player to watch tonight. The hulking 6’6” winger has a very slim chance of making the NHL roster, but it wouldn’t hurt for him to start the preseason off on the right foot, especially after a less than ideal rookie game showing.
  • Although just a preseason game, the Alain Vigneault era begins in Philadelphia. The new bench boss coaches his first game with the team tonight and it should be interesting to see if there are any clear differences in the way the team plays already.