Before reading this, please make sure to take one deep breath. I am here to offer some hope.
After their final pre-season game against the New York Islanders, the Flyers announced their final roster cuts.
- Nolan Patrick and Robert Hagg have both made the team.
- With an injury to Shayne Gostisbehere in the final pre-season game, the team has yet to make a statement on Sam Morin and Travis Sanheim.
- Oskar Lindblom was assigned to Lehigh Valley.
Let’s reflect on what we know.
I considered Patrick as close to a lock as possible, even when he was drafted. Making the final roster depended mostly on his health. Patrick had a solid camp and produced during the pre-season games. Patrick has also shown great signs of chemistry with teammates already, especially with Wayne Simmonds. A true center is what the Flyers have needed, and with Patrick, they finally have that.
Robert Hagg is a workhorse. He will not light up the scoresheet or be a flashy player, but Hagg is ultimately a safe bet and is a player that will do his job game after game.
A hot-topic is Oskar Lindblom. After the game against the New York Islanders, the Flyers announced that forward Oskar Lindblom was assigned to Lehigh Valley. A first reaction was anger. After an elite year in the SHL and the hype surrounding him starting to erupt, it seems a bit disappointing he did not make the final roster.
HOWEVER. Yes Flyers fans, there is hope.
Let’s be realistic. With MacDonald and Manning making the final roster, would fans rather have had Travis Sanheim anchor Andrew MacDonald? A pairing like that would limit Sanheim’s role as an offensive defenseman. While still being able to develop, players sent down will have a great opportunity playing with other top prospects within the organization. Players like Oskar Lindblom, Phil Myers, Mark Friedman, and Mikhail Voroybev will all be maturing and developing their games.
Fans should not want rookies having to anchor mediocre defensive partners or serving as a 7th man. Wouldn’t a rookie be better suited playing with quality talent getting top minutes while maturing and developing? The simple answer is yes.
With such talents looming in the AHL, players in the NHL know that there are hungry rookies just waiting to kick their first action in the NHL. These players are one phone call away. Besides, injuries also occur. Mark Streit getting injured lead to Shayne Gostisbehere taking advantage and never looking back. Certain situations will arise and our rookies and prospects will be ready for that occasion when the time comes. Sending them down only strengthens their game.
With so many rookies being ready to make the leap, players already on the roster know that if they have a couple of bad games and a change needs to be made, a top prospect is just one phone call away from replacing them.
This team has a solid core in place, along with the scoring depth, rookie enthusiasm, and a lot more defensemen. Goaltending is still a question mark, but with all of that improvement up front, there is optimism. The Flyers have the talent to make the playoffs, but another huge question mark is their coaching. Line-up optimization was a huge issue for Dave Hakstol last season. Fourth line players and bottom-pairing defensemen were receiving too much TOI, along with being in games in critical situations.
Since Hextall has joined, the same plan has been in place. Get rid of outrageous contracts, strengthen the prospect pool, and free up cap space. Hextall has done all three of these things a lot more quickly than predicted. The process in place has taken small steps year-after-year. This year we are introduced to a couple of new rookies, and next year will be introduced to even more rookies. The floodgates are slowly opening, enjoy it.