At long last, we had a bit of hockey to watch this weekend! Ahead of training camp opening up this week, the Flyers had their rookie camp last week, which they closed out with a pair of scrimmages against the Rangers’ rookies. The Flyers’ prospects split that series, taking home a 6-3 win on Saturday, and then dropping Sunday’s matchup 3-2. And while that’s all good to know, we’re a little less fussed on the outcomes of the games than we are concerned, more generally, about just how the prospects looked. So, all of that said, let’s take a look at some of the standout performances, shall we?
Foerster was one of the big standouts during development camp, and he was able to keep the momentum he built up rolling right into these rookie games. His offense was somewhat predictably the real star of the show, as he picked up two goals on Saturday and an assist on Sunday. He was one of their main offensive drivers, giving the Rangers’ goalies a good bit of trouble with his shot, but we also saw him working well elsewhere in the offensive zone, cycling the puck and working to set up other more dangerous chances. He was, in short, a threat just about every time he was on the ice.
One particular positive note is that he looked really sharp on the power play, particularly on Sunday when he and Cam York were put back on the same unit. We saw them showing some pretty stellar chemistry together with the Phantoms at the end of last season, and it’s possible that we’ll see them back together again when this season starts, so this certainly gives us something to look forward to.
Frost also had himself a strong offensive showing in these two games, as he picked up a goal and two assists on Saturday, and then tacked on another assist on Sunday. We saw some excellent flashes of his playmaking ability in the game settings in development camp, and Frost brought that in droves to this weekend’s games. He was the Flyers’s most dynamic playmaker by a pretty comfortable margin, and like Foerster, was also one of their most consistent threats across the pair of games.
But it wasn’t just Frost’s offense that stood out on the weekend. A lot was asked of Frost in these games, he played a lot of minutes in all situations, and he really thrived in that role. Laperriere even made a point to get him some reps in on the penalty kill—a role he would be expected to also fill if he spends time with the Phantoms this season—and he didn’t look out place there. The strength he’s added has been a real asset, and Frost’s game just continues to look more well rounded and more mature. He’s looking his absolute best.
If there was anyone who had an active pair of games without actually breaking onto the scoresheet, it was Allison. Though he wasn’t able to cash in on any of them, he had a handful of really good chances in this pair of games, so the offense was very nearly clicking well for him. He also brought his brand of hard-nosed, energetic play in droves, as we saw him active on the forecheck, eager to deliver a big hit when needed, and even involved in a fight in response to a hit on a teammate during Saturday’s game. As one of the older players, he looked about as good as we would have expected him to, but that doesn't make all of that flash any less appreciated.
It was a tough end to the series for Allison, though, as in last night’s game, he went to make a hit along the boards and got tangled up with Braden Schneider, and ended up getting his leg jammed up under him. He went to the locker room not putting much, if any, weight on his right leg. We’re still waiting for an update on his status from the Flyers, but it’s an undeniably tough blow, and we’re all hoping that it doesn’t end up being anything too serious.
Freshly cleared for contact after off-season surgery, Laczynski was able to get in for these two games, and he already looked to be back to old form. If there were any concerns about how his skating would look after his long recovery, he quickly quieted them, as he was skating well in general, and there were many instances where he was looking like he was flat out shot out of a cannon. Laczynski didn’t bring the same level of flash as someone like Foerster or Allison, but that’s just fine, because he was still doing just about everything that we could have asked of him. He was asked to play big minutes, and he did well in that role. That speed was a real asset, he was playing physically, forechecking well, and all of this was working well together across all situations, but particularly on the penalty kill, where he looked particularly disruptive, and was able to force a couple of turnovers and start up a few shorthanded rushes. Laczynski’s game is generally a pretty quietly effective one, and that’s exactly what he brought this weekend. It was a nice bit of work, and a solid foundation for him as he heads into main camp, and should figure into the mix for one of the open center jobs with the big club.
Just as was the case in development camp, of the goaltenders in these rookie games, Ersson shined. Sunday in particular, when he was given the start, he looked really sharp. He still gave up the Flyers’ two goals, but both were on the penalty kill, and both were pucks that were tipped in, and watching those plays, there wasn’t too much more that we would have asked of him, they were really tough. Overall though, he was tracking the puck very well, showed good quickness and recoveries after his initial saves, and didn’t give the Rangers much to work with in the way of rebounds.
And, as a bit of a fun bonus, we also saw him showing a bit of meanness, as he delivered a handful of shoves and whacks to defenders getting a little too close to him in the crease.
He’s settling in well with these camps, and just looks to be picking up more momentum as the season draws nearer.