Five Phantoms Join Flyers Practice For the Week
Five players from Adirondack have made the long drive from Glens Falls, NY to Voorhees, NJ to participate in practice with the Flyers heading into the start of the season on Saturday.
Brayden Schenn, Sean Couturier, Zac Rinaldo, Ty McGinn and Eric Wellwood all joined the Flyers, with at least two of them expected to stay in Philadelphia when they host the Penguins next Saturday.
"It's been a long wait, but I'm excited to be here," said Schenn, who is expected to be a top-6 forward this season. Couturier is also a lock for the roster.
The players haven't been officially recalled yet as the CBA is still not finalized. They are there on their own terms.
Scott Laughton, who the Flyers drafted with their top pick in the draft last June, is also expected to complete with Rinaldo, McGinn and Wellwood for a roster spot.
Schenn and Couturier gave Phantoms fans in upstate New York a treat for the first three months of the AHL season. Both are on two-way contracts so they were able to play with the AHL club during the lockout.
Schenn lead the Phantoms in scoring through his 33 games there. He tallied a team high 13 goals and 20 assists. Couturier was second on the team in both stats, potting 10 goals and adding 18 assists.
"I think it was real important to go down there and play in all situations - whether it's the penalty kill, the last minute of the game, power play, five on three," said Schenn. "For the guys who were down there, we're ready to have a jump-start on some of these guys who have been playing summer hockey for the past six, seven, eight months. We've been out there grinding it out; we've already played 30-some games, so maybe at training camp we'll have a head start on some guys."
Schenn and Couturier headed the Flyers prospects last season with their contributions.
Schenn, who was acquired in the Mike Richards trade, made vast improvements through the course of the season despite battling a broken foot and concussion. He finished last year with only 18 points in 54 games.
Couturier was the big surprise. After being drafted by the Flyers with the 8th pick in the draft (acquired in the Jeff Carter trade), Couturier shocked everyone in training camp and made the team.
Many expected Couturier to be sent down to Adirondack before his 15th game but the Flyers felt he was ready to play a full season. He played 77 games for the Flyers, and turned into a defensive specialist with his contributions on the penalty kill, and even famously shutting down Evgeni Malkin during the ECQF last season.
With players not in shape, and a few injuries heading into camp including Danny Briere's wrist and Andrej Meszaros' Achilles tendon, these six young players could make an early impact for the Flyers.
It's a 48-game sprint to the finish line. The Flyers could use all the help they could get.