Better With Popcorn

Flyers Caps 2011 Rookie Game

The Flyers hosted the Capitals in their annual rookie game Thursday evening at the Wells Fargo Center in front of a nicely sized crowd. The game marked the first real hockey action in Philadelphia since May. The Flyers skated to a 3-2 win. Aside from going into the game to pick up a W, the rookies for the Flyers were looking to impress and get themselves noticed.

The best way to scout players in a game like this is to go by whether or not they stood out. Not every name on the roster is going to sound familiar; if a player impresses, it’s going to be fairly obvious. And not much can be said for a player that does not stand out.

Brad Philips and Michael Houser split time between the pipes for the Flyers.  The two were rather impressive. They both made some big saves that really got the crowd cheering. Nothing negative can be said for either of the two which is excellent for goaltenders since their mistakes are always going to be visible.

Defensemen are hard to analyze in a game like this. When half of their names are unfamiliar to begin with, it takes a lot to impress. But one guy did impress and that was Blake Kessel. He was just picked up by the Flyers yesterday in a move that many fans were very “meh” about.  He finished as the first star of the game with 1 goal and 1 assist. The number 78 was visible all over the ice tonight.

Of course, forwards are so easy to pick apart and evaluate. Brayden Schenn and Sean Couturier were the top two guys on everyone’s list to see tonight. Schenn looked great. He’s working for that third line center spot with the Flyers, so it was a huge plus to see him play well tonight. Couturier, on the other hand, had his struggles. He was just not up with the pace of the game at times. His long strides are going to be an advantage eventually, but he has some work to do. Rigorous skating and strength condition will do the trick.

Some other forwards that made an impression are Harry Zolnierck, Jason Akeson, Tyler Brown, and Marcel Noebels. The names of all four should be marked down and remembered. The Flyers are starting to show signs of some depth in their system for once.

Another guy that stood out for other reasons was Derek Mathers. He’s a rough guy that plays a style Philly fans love. With a fight and some rough stuff throughout the game, fans were cheering often for Mathers. He could be a guy to look out for in the future.

All in all, it was a great night for the Flyers and their fans. Hockey season is upon us and the city could not be more excited. It was nice for many to learn some new names and faces of the future and maybe even present. And the win helped too.  

Comments

Matt Cefalu's picture

Definitely agree with a lot of your main points. Goaltending was solid all around which is very positive, especially for a team like the Flyers who don't have a lot of impressive, promising goaltending prospects at the moment.

I agree that Blake Kessel really stood out on defense and I think that's largely due to his constant pinching in from the point to continue the puck cycle along the boards. It's good to see, but it also causes my heart to skip a few beats when I see it from a defenseman too often, since we all know that can feed a breakaway here and there. But he has great offensive instincts and it's great to see that he got signed.

Forwards definitely played a strong game, with the exception of Couturier. You're right about his skating. It needs work. He also needs to put on a few more pounds of muscle and really grow into that lanky frame of his so he isn't continuously getting knocked off of the puck and pushed around in the corners. However, he definitely improved in the first preseason game.

Matt Read is NHL ready right now. Hope he makes the team.

Don't really care for Mathers too much. I'm sure he can be beneficial to a team, though I don't think Flyers should have used their 7th round pick to draft him. I just feel like if they drafted another player, Mathers goes undrafted entirely, IMO.

Great article!