Flyers Notes: Fletcher Addresses Roster Moves, Flyers Announce Hall of Fame Inductees
Thursday was a busy day as the Flyers got back on the ice after making roster cuts on Wednesday. The big surprise of cut day was Morgan Frost, who seemed poised to fill the void of Kevin Hayes, out for 6-to-8 weeks from Sept. 21 following abdominal surgery.
GM Chuck Fletcher spoke on Thursday morning, and the decision to move Frost to the minors for now seemed to come more from management than it did coaches.
“The coaches really like Morgan. This is probably more my decision putting him down,” Fletcher said. “I think we wanted to give Morgan every opportunity to show what he could do. We played him with good player. We played him in important situations. I think the best thing for him long term is to play and play in an environment where he can get his confidence. It's the best thing for him. It's the best thing for us. We went into it in good faith and wanted to give him that opportunity.”
In the meantime, the Flyers still have to fill the void at the center position. Scott Laughton skated on a line with James van Riemsdyk and Oskar Lindblom. The remaining centers – Sean Couturier at the top along with Derick Brassard and Nate Thompson – were the same.
Laughton’s versatility goes a long way in this spot. The Flyers had some options, but ultimately went with Laughton for that reason.
“We're very comfortable with him in the 3C role,” Fletcher said. “Really the way our lines are set up I'm not sure what the second line or what the third line is anyway. They're pretty even in terms of ice time and talent in my opinion. Scotty can play there. Kind of laugh every year since I've been here, we start him on the fourth line and we almost have internal bets just to put a timeframe on how long it will take for him to move up into the top nine every year. That’s Scotty Laughton’s life, I guess. He handles it well.
“You got to give him credit. One day he's second line left wing. Next day, he’s fourth line left wing and then he's third line center. He gives AV that flexibility where you trust him in any situation. You can move him around and it doesn't impact his play. He's never pouts and always has a smile on his face. I think he knows that eventually he'll get the minutes that he traditionally gets.”
In terms of building chemistry, it’s getting late in camp and the preseason to make a change like this and be completely prepared for the season. With that in mind, the Flyers have a couple of early-season benefits that favor them.
The NHL season technically starts on Tuesday for the league, but the Flyers season opener isn’t until Friday night. The Flyers also get to play their first four games on home ice, spaced apart with plenty of practice time in between.
“It looks like it so far, but we haven't really had any adversity on the ice. We've won some. We've lost some. Whatever in preseason. To me, it looks like it's coming together, the chemistry,” Fletcher said. “I think the next week will be critical. We have a lot of practice time. We're going to practice more by the end of October than I think we did all last year.
“Certainly, over the next few weeks, we should have plenty of opportunities to get the details right and get the chemistry up to speed. It looks like we're trending in the right direction. Reality will hit next week, and we'll start to see where we're at. I just like the attitude, the coaching staff, and the players. The communication has been great. It feels like two years ago. Guys are buying in. Everyone's communicating and on the same page so far. I think we've done what we could do to this point in time, but there's a lot of work left to go.”
Holmgren, Tocchet to be Inducted into Flyers Hall of Fame
The Flyers also used Thursday to announce the Flyers Hall of Fame inductees for this season. Two new members will join in the 2021-22 season.
Paul Holmgren and Rick Tocchet will be inducted into the Flyers Hall of Fame on Tuesday, Nov. 16, prior to the team’s game against the Calgary Flames.
Holmgren, 65, has spent over four decades as part of the Flyers organization and held basically every role that someone can have. Starting as a player, then eventually becoming an assistant coach, head coach, director of scouting, general manager, and now a senior advisor, his dedication to the organization warranted his induction.
“Right now, I really truly don’t know how to put it into words, other than to say that it’s truly an honor,” Holmgren said. “To be in a group with players of that ilk, of that mold, of that character, and of that level is truly what makes it great to me. I’m just an everyday guy is how I look at myself. To be going into the Flyers Hall of Fame with those players that are already in there, and to be going in with a player of Rick Tocchet’s caliber is the icing on the cake for me. It’s an incredible time in my life.”
Holmgren is also being inducted into the US Hockey Hall of Fame later this year.
Tocchet, 57, spent 11 seasons with the Flyers and was captain for one season. He scored 232 goals and 276 assists for 508 points in 621 games.
“I just think that the way that the Flyers, and Homer touched on this, it is a family. People throw that word around in organizations, but this is truly a family, for years. From Ed Snider, who’s probably one of the best owners I’ve ever been associated with to the ownership now where they do whatever it takes to win,” Tocchet said. “They take the excuses out of the players and what you need. I remember my dad was sick. They got him in the hospital. He was from Canada. They do things like that under the radar. It's not publicized. That’s why I’ll always have Flyer blood in me. I don’t care if you go other places, or you win cups in other places. You always know the relationships, the people I’ve met over the years being with the organization is just incredible. You’re a young man at 19, and you’re immature. The Flyers helped me become a man, which I will always be grateful for. It will be and always one of the top organizations in the NHL, and I truly mean that.”
Holmgren and Tocchet will join the 25 other members of the Flyers Hall of Fame, their induction being the first since the 2015-16 season.