Fans of the Philadelphia Flyers will be able to see members of the organization play in competitive hockey games much sooner than the start of the regular season after prospects Tyson Foerster and Elliot Desnoyers earned spots on Team Canada’s roster for the World Junior Championships (WJC). The organization also retained bruiser Zack MacEwen and got more news about prospect accolades this week.
Dispelling Konecny and Kessel Rumors
Buzz surrounding Travis Konecny has persisted throughout the past two offseasons, but there is no reason to expect the Flyers to move the 25-year-old right winger before the season begins. When Jason Myrtetus and Charlie O’Connor spoke in April about potential plans for the summer, they established that Konecny wouldn’t be moved unless it was part of a package for a first-line caliber player. The need for “top-end” talent has been discussed ad nauseam in Philadelphia, but the Flyers clearly have no intention of moving major pieces in a blockbuster trade in the immediate future. Konecny will look to fill the need for new team leaders in his seventh NHL season.
Rumors surrounding potential interest in Phil Kessel are similarly unlikely. General manager (GM) Chuck Fletcher bluntly pronounced on July 13 that the Flyers were done making moves in free agency. The declining winger will turn 35 before the regular season begins, and he is not a fit in Philadelphia at this point in his carer.
Kessel owns the longest active “iron man” streak in the NHL, and the Flyers already dealt with a bizarre conundrum in a similar situation with veteran Keith Yandle last season. Pressure from their own locker room and the threat of negative public perception prevented them through large portions of the season from scratching a player responsible for a glaring hole in their lineup. It would be unwise to ignore a previous mistake by acquiring Kessel.
World Junior Championships and Prospect Updates
Foerster and Desyoners will represent Canada at the World Junior Championships in Edmonton and Red Deer, Alberta. Covid restrictions forced a postponement of the tournament from its traditional schedule just after the Christmas holiday. Desnoyers occupied a spot on the initial roster when the tournament got its start in December, but Foerster caught a fortunate break from unfortunate circumstances because the postponement allowed him to recover from a shoulder injury in time to make the roster.
Team Canada will play its first preliminary round game on August 10. Cam York and Bobby Brink, Philadelphia’s first two selections in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, both defeated the Canadians as members of Team USA in the WJC gold medal game in January 2021. Foerster and Desnoyers, a pair of 2020 selections, will try to replicate the success that rising Philadelphia prospects have experienced.
Prospect Alex Bump also received honors as USA Today’s Hockey Player of the Year less than a month after the Flyers selected him in the fifth round of the draft. He will play at the University of Vermont in 2022-23 after a dominant effort at the high school level in Minnesota and 27 games in the United States Hockey League (USHL) last year. Bump will attempt to refine his all-around game and continue his excellent production as a goal-scorer for the Catamounts next season.
MacEwen Signs One-Year Deal
The Flyers agreed to a one-year, one-way contract with MacEwen on Tuesday. The $925,000 agreement eliminates the need for an arbitration hearing. It also creates the need for MacEwen to clear waivers to be sent to the American Hockey League (AHL), which increases his odds of earning playing time at the NHL level over a younger forward with two-way options like Hayden Hodgson, Noah Cates, or Tanner Laczynski.
MacEwen finished fourth in the NHL in fighting majors with 12 in 2021-22, and he won the Gene Hart Memorial Award for showing the most “heart” on the team. New teammate Nicolas Deslauriers was one of only three players who dropped the gloves more often than MacEwen last season, and the idea of both scrappers on the same line at points during 2022-23 might provide the slightest bit of excitement for a fan base struggling to find positivity after a disappointing offseason.
Colin Newby is a freelance journalist from Delaware County, PA covering the Philadelphia Flyers for The Hockey Writers. He is an encyclopedia of useless sports knowledge with an uncanny ability to rattle off Flyers goaltending stats from 2004 and every Stanley Cup winner during his lifetime. The depths of his knowledge stem from spending his entire life following the Flyers and the NHL, from fan favorites like the “Legion of Doom” and Claude Giroux to forgotten journeymen like Andy Delmore and Branko Radivojevič. He joined the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association (PHWA) in 2022.
Colin also covers the Philadelphia Eagles and works for 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia.