Are Flyers prospects Provorov and Konecny Ready for NHL leap?
There is little doubt that everyone will have their eyes on Flyers prospects Ivan Provorov and Travis Konecny when training camp opens in September and during this week's prospect camp.
Provorov, 19, had 21 goals and 73 points in 62 WHL games in 2015-16, but Flyers GM Ron Hextall said its up to Provorov to make the team this season.
"I'm not he one who is going to make that decision," Hextall explained. "Provorov is going to make that decision."
Meanwhile, Konecny finished with 101 points (30 goals) and could be that boost to the offense that the Flyers have been lacking.
"We wanted Travis Konecny and Ivan Provorov to spend a full season down in juniors to get better and they have," Hextall admitted.
The question on everyone’s minds: Are both ready to play in the NHL this season? There are a few factors Hextall will consider before making a decision this September.
“I think the first thing is some of these kids are young," Hextall stated.
"We are not only worried about the physical part of it, but we are also worried about the mental part. We are worried about if a young kid is ready for this level. Is he going to get hurt? Most young players typical have strength issues. There is typically a defensive issue where they have to become better defensive players."
The first question would be how to fit both. Philadelphia already has a crowded blue line with Mark Streit, Shayne Gostisbehere, Michael Del Zotto, Andrew MacDonald, Nick Schultz and Radko Gudas, under contract for next season. Plus, Brandon Manning, and Sam Morin looking for playing time - Provorov might have to really stand out.
As for Konecny, he could move to the wing but has also played center, but while Hextall described him as a 'whale of a offensive player', he still has to work on this defense to be ready for the NHL game.
"Making decisions with the puck, not turning pucks over," Hextall said as some of the things Konecny needs to work on.
Aside from experience, the Flyers staff will be weighing a handful of things when considering each player’s NHL-readiness, but this weeks prospect camp is more about learning to be a pro than making the team.
"We are trying to help our players develop into better people and become better educated," Hextall said about what they are trying to accomplish at the is weeks prospect camp.
"Becoming a pro, showing up on time, and being ready to practice when practice starts. Stretching on the ice, and being ready to go on the ice. Being here early, stretching after practice and nutrition. There is a lot of focus this year but it is mostly on education. We are really not here to evaluate players. We are here to help make them better and then hopefully in September or the September they can make the big team.”
"It is more truly about the kids finding ways to get better," Hextall continued. "We are happy if the kids walk away in a week better players and more educated players. We also want to give them things to work at for the rest of the summer because every young player has flaws. This is a time to fix those flaws rather than during the season.”