Better With Popcorn

Three Phantoms Defensemen Look Good In Rookie Camp

TCL Flyers was on the scene for Flyers developmental camp Thursday morning and afternoon at the Virtua SkateZone in Voorhees, NJ. 

Included in the roster of very young and hopeful hockey players were twelve defensemen ranging in ages from 18 up to 21 years old.

With defense being one of the toughest positions in the game to play and a position sometimes with a prolonged timeframe to develop well enough to break into the NHL, most of these players are ways away from representing the Flyers consistently in regular season play. But it is still nice to see how these young guys look in various drills. 

Standing out yesterday were 21-year-old Mark Alt, 20-year-old Shayne Gostisbehere, and 21-year-old Matt Konan. 

Alt stands out right away for his 6’3” stature. But he is more than just a big guy. 

In a drill with so many forwards and defensemen alike it was still easy to get sucked into watching Alt. He has strength, a physical presence, great skating abilities, and solid playmaking abilities. 

Alt came to the Flyers from Carolina along with goalie Brian Boucher this January and signed a three-year entry level contract in April. After six games with the Phantoms last season, look for him to be a name we will be hearing when the Phantoms are talked about this coming season. 

Gostisbehere was drafted by the Flyers in the third round of last year’s draft. He is a little guy, but he has some strong and powerful legs. 

During skating drills he was the fastest player on the ice. His size is his downfall, but like we have seen with Kimmo Timonen, if you build your leg muscles and lower body strength, you can still be a dominant presence on the blue line. 

Standing out for his hard shot and physicality was Matt Konan of the Phantoms. 

Despite being undrafted, he already dressed in two games for the Flyers at the end of last season. While a guy like first round pick Samuel Morin is a huge defenseman that is being built up as a Chris Pronger in the making, Konan is a few years older and slightly more filled out. 

Konan may not be as skilled, but he is a shut down defenseman also possessing scoring abilities that could be given a real look by the Flyers in another year after some more experience in the NHL.

While many fans like prospect camp to look at guys who were just drafted, or in some circumstances, players who will be up with the Flyers the following fall, it is nice to take a look at guys who are not entirely new at this but still have some work to do before they are NHL ready. 

When you see guys so young giving so much, it reminds of the good things in sports. And that is why prospect camp always manages to be a great experience.


Follow Alicia Sprenkle (@Activestick_44) and the site (@TCLFlyers) on Twitter.

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