Flyers Rookie Camp: Prospects to Watch
With a focus on the future, the Flyers open rookie camp with all eyes on prospects that could make an impact at various times in the coming years. There are new faces from the draft in June that will be looking to make an impression. There are others returning for another year with their sights set on something bigger: making the Philadelphia Flyers roster.
As the on-ice activity begins at rookie camp on Thursday, here’s a look at prospects to watch from the 25-player roster that will be participating in the camp.
As the Flyers held development camp in the summer, the team signed free-agent defenseman Marc Staal. What does a 36-year-old defenseman have to do with prospects? It’s all in the number.
On the first day of development camp, Tyson Foerster was wearing No. 18 on his uniform. The next day, following the signing of Staal – who has worn No. 18 his entire career – Foerster switched to No. 71, the number he had with the Phantoms.
While that may still be a common number to find on rookies, the initial switch to a number in the teens was telling enough. Foerster is the prospect on this rookie camp roster that will get the greatest amount of attention in main training camp. He’s far and away the favorite on the 25-player roster to make the Flyers roster out of camp.
In addition to Foerster have a successful, but small sample of the NHL last season – three goals and seven points in eight games – he is regarded as the Flyers top prospect that will be on the ice at both rookie and main camp, commonly ranking third among prospects in the Flyers system behind Matvei Michkov and Cutter Gauthier.
Desnoyers got four games of NHL experience with the Flyers last season, recording no points in the process. But in the minors, the high-motor forward had a solid rookie season with 23 goals and 44 points in 65 games.
Desnoyers got a lot of attention in the preseason last year, and is the type of player that John Tortorella loves to have on his team. While he’s not on the same level as Foerster entering camp, he does have a realistic possibility of making the team.
After joining the NHL ranks at the end of the 2021-22 season and picking up four assists in 10 games with the Flyers, injury kept Brink off the ice for half of the 2022-23 season. When he was finally able to return, he spent the remainder of the season with the Phantoms.
In 41 games, he scored 12 goals and has 28 points. The Flyers remain high on Brink’s potential and with a full offseason to prepare for training camp, he’s very much in the running for a roster spot. But after missing camp entirely last season, Brink has some groundwork to do to gain the attention of Tortorella.
The selection of Denver Barkey in the third round of the 2023 NHL Draft in June was one that drew praise. Unfortunately, when development camp rolled around, Barkey was not able to participate in on-ice drills.
He will be on the ice for rookie camp, allowing him to make his first impression on the ice.
The 2022 seventh-round pick of the Flyers signed his entry-level deal this past offseason and is coming off his final season in the QMJHL, scoring 55 goals and 81 points in 63 games between Blainville-Boisbriand and Gatineau.
Gendron will be ticketed for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms roster following camp, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see him in a significant role in the upcoming rookie games or getting a look in the preseason.
Another recently-signed prospect, Andrae is coming off a season with six goals and 26 points in 51 games in the SHL. Upon joining the Phantoms for 10 games last season, he scored two goals and six points.
The experience in the professional ranks of the SHL make him one of the more advanced prospects to enter camp, especially in rookie camp without Egor Zamula and Ronnie Attard on the roster. He’ll get top billing on the defensive group in the rookie games and has the potential to be in competition for a roster spot on the Flyers out of camp.
The other first-round pick from this year’s draft signed his entry-level deal during the offseason. While his future with the Flyers is sometime down the road and he will return to the OHL’s London Knights, this is a great opportunity for Bonk to get some playing time and make an impression.
Ginning made his NHL debut in the Flyers home finale last season. He’s obviously on the radar as a potential roster candidate, but there’s a lot of work to be done for him to stand out enough to earn a spot.
The prospect that came in return from the Los Angeles Kings in the Ivan Provorov trade, Grans could see his season go a variety of directions. He could potentially make the Flyers roster – he does have two AHL seasons with the Ontario Reign under his belt. He could also be ticketed for Lehigh Valley as more of a veteran on the blue line for an AHL roster.
The 2021 sixth-round pick has risen through the Flyers prospect rankings with the help of a point-per-game season with the WHL’s Prince George Cougars, posting 18 goals and 60 points in 60 games.
Now set to begin his professional career, Samson is likely heading for the Phantoms, but camp provides an opportunity to see just how much his skills meet the level of competition at this stage of his development.
The first of two goalie prospects selected in this year’s draft by the Flyers, Bjarnason will get a close look in rookie camp. As one of two goals on the roster for rookie camp, the rookie games will provide the opportunity for Bjarnason to get potentially a full game’s worth of ice time in competition.
He’s going to be back in the WHL with the Brandon Wheat Kings this season, but is easily the focus on this rookie camp roster between the pipes in regards to long-term future.
Kevin Durso is Flyers insider for 97.3 ESPN. Follow him on social media @Kevin_Durso.
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